Q and A with Drew Van Acker
The Towerlight sat down with Towson alumnus Drew Van Acker, who currently plays Jason DiLaurentis on ABC Family’s hit series “Pretty Little Liars.” Van Acker talked about his acting experiences and advice for Towson students.
The Towerlight: Where are you from and what brought you to Towson?
Drew Van Acker: I’m from all over. I was born in Omaha, Neb., lived there, lived in Indianapolis and then moved to Medford, N.J., where I spent most of my childhood, and later on, Towson University. I think what mainly brought me to Towson was sports. Soccer was a big part of my decision, and playing at that program. So that was kind of the breaking point for me going to Towson over any other school.
TL: So how did you get into acting?
DVA: Acting in high school was always something that I was passionate about, you know, I’ve always liked to act since I was young. I remember in middle school always being interested in the plays and drama and things like that, and taking drama classes in high school and middle school. But I think sports kind of took precedence over all of that so it was kind of just something that sat on the back burner for a while. And when I got into where I went to Towson, you know, I kind of became more and more interested in it and ended up taking a couple theatre classes, Acting 101 and 201 at Towson and, you know, just kind of taking it to the next level.
TL: And what were your aspirations during your time at Towson?
DVA: You know, to be honest with you, I didn’t know. I knew that acting was something that I always wanted to do. I knew that it was always a passion of mine. I was very naïve, I didn’t know how to go about achieving that, or you know, how actors even became actors. I just knew it was something that I was interested in. I was studying business while I was at Towson but I was taking a bunch of acting classes and doing sports, so I was kind of just playing it by ear.
TL: Do you continue to follow any Towson sports like soccer, since you were an athlete?
DVA: I do, I do, you know. I get updates on Facebook and emails and things like that and I try to stay in touch with old teammates and things like that. And I like to follow along with how the sports programs are doing, you know—football, basketball, lacrosse, especially soccer. So yeah, I definitely keep in touch and see how they’re all doing throughout the years.
TL: How did you get involved with Pretty Little Liars?
DVA: Pretty Little Liars, actually, the producers came to me and my manager, and I guess they kind of have a mutual friend, and they kind of thought I’d be perfect for this role and they came to me and approached me about it. And I was interested right off the bat, you know, the show’s great. So we sat down and talked about it and the rest is history.
TL: So what can people expect from some upcoming Pretty Little Liars episodes?
DVA: A lot! You know, I think Jason is finally getting to the point where he’s looking for answers. And he’s tired of people beating around the bush and I think in these upcoming episodes, you finally see him gain some ground on who killed his sister and who dug up her remains and all these things. And let’s just say it’s quite an interesting couple episodes coming up.
TL: Have you ever been surprised by some of the plot twists?
DVA: You know, I’m surprised every time we go in for the table reads, honestly. I’m surprised because the writers do such a good job at throwing us off and throwing everyone off the trail. The producers will come to me and say “What do you think about this, this, and this for Jason and this, this, and that?” And I’m just completely thrown at the ideas that they have and the twists and turns they want to take. Whether good or bad, you know, it’s always a surprise to me. So yeah, almost every table read we have for each episode, I’m pretty shocked at the turn of events coming up.
TL: So do you have any advice for Towson students looking to get into the acting industry?
DVA: Just keep with it. I was somebody who had no idea how to become an actor or what you would even do. I just knew it was something I was interested in and passionate about and I loved performing. I just stayed with it, you know, and it’s one of those things where if it’s something you really want to do, you need to do it. I knew that I wasn’t going to be OK with doing something else until I knew that acting was something that wasn’t going to work or I didn’t want to do it, so I knew I had to try. And you don’t always necessarily have to be in a real big market city, you know, New York or Los Angeles. You can get involved in local theatre and drama and things like that. Obviously being in LA or New York might help, but if it’s something that you’re truly passionate about I think that all upcoming actors should just stay focused and stay with it.
TL: Can you tell us anything about who A is?
DVA: Unfortunately, I can’t tell you too much as far as who A is. I think that I might get in a little trouble. Let’s just say, going off your question before, I think within the next couple episodes, all the Pretty Little Liars fans are going to be very thrown with A. I know it’s beating around the bush a little bit, but without saying too much, I think everyone is going to be pleasantly surprised and it’ll be great.
– Compiled by Daryllee Hale