“Elliott isn’t worried about Emily and Alison,” Collins tells TVLine. “[She and Elliott are] in love. They have a very deep chemistry, partially because they had to suppress their feelings for quite a bit of time — until Charlotte was dead, really — or else it would have been entirely inappropriate. I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out, to be honest. I know we get married at some point in the future, but as to whether she ends up with Emily, I don’t know.”
Following the couple’s decision to go public last week, Tuesday’s episode (Freeform, 8/7c) begins Elliott’s attempt at winning over Alison’s friends, which Collins knows is easier said than done.
“Alison’s trust and faith in him will go a long way,” Collins says of his character gaining the girls’ acceptance. “If there’s an unease in the relationship on either of their parts, her friends will definitely pick up on that. I will also say that Elliott has a certain charm about him, and we haven’t seen the full extent of how he operates in the world. So you’ll see him try to build bridges with Alison’s friends.”
Below, Collins discusses his experiences as a PLL newbie (both on set and on Twitter) and why he’s glad to be doing an American accent.
TVLINE | As we do this interview, I have to say, I completely forgot you’re not American.
I actually always wanted my first prominent role over here to be American. It’s a nice turn when you play an American and people go, ‘Oh wait, he’s British.’ It gives you a nice extra something in terms of what you’re presenting as a performer. I’m sure I’ll get to use my natural accent at some point in my career, so I feel very fortunate. Once people know you as English — or British, because I’m actually Welsh — they can never really get rid of that in their minds, so it’s better to be introduced as American.
TVLINE | Plus, the fans would end up comparing Elliott to Wren even more than they already do.
[Laughs] Yes, I think the parallels would be fairly distinct there. Like, another British doctor! What is happening in this sleepy Pennsylvania town where all these British doctors are coming over for their residency?
TVLINE | Speaking of Wren, this town has a rocky history with medical professionals. Care to defend Elliott?
It’s funny, I feel like I spend too much time on Twitter trying to defend Elliott. Some people seem to be genuinely annoyed that I’m saying he’s a good character. They tell me, “Don’t say that, because it rules him out as a suspect.” But I happen to really like this character. He’s interesting. There’s been limited exposure in terms of what you’re finding out about him, which adds to the mysterious element. … He’s a successful psychiatrist who’s done a very good job with one of his patients, but in an unfortunate turn of events, she’s been murdered.
TVLINE | Have you heard a lot from the “Emison” fans on Twitter?
Emphatically yes. The “Emison” fandom is the most vociferous of the fandoms, and there are times when it’s easier to deal with than others. I think when people can’t separate an actor from their character, that’s when it gets a little tough, like when I see people lobbying Marlene King to kill off my character because he’s getting in the way of “Emison.” I love the passion, and I think the discussions and debates are good, which is why the show is so popular. I also like that the show explores LGBT themes, which is why there’s such a strong feeling on the part of “Emison” fans.
TVLINE | Were you prepared to take some heat when you joined?
Coming into the show, I was definitely aware of the fans’ strong feelings about “Emison,” and that I was going to slap myself right in the middle of that situation. I came into it wearing a metal helmet, if you will, to be conscious and respectful of it. Coming into a show six seasons deep, you can’t just wade in there and act like you’re the bee’s knees. You have to pay your respects to what has come before.
TVLINE | It sounds like you watched some of it before you started filming.
Well, my wife is a huge fan of the show; she’s watched it since she was 22. As a result, I watched it a bit before I joined. I also knew Ian Harding. We’ve known each other socially — we play soccer and softball together. Once I was cast, I made sure I Netflix-and-chilled as much as possible with Pretty Little Liars on. It adds so much to your character when you understand the dynamics.
PLL fans, your thoughts on Elliott and Alison? Drop ’em in a comment below.