'Teen Wolf': Cast speaks candidly
'Teen Wolf' cast members Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, Tyler Hoechlin, Colton Haynes and Holland Roden speak about the new MTV series.
In MTV’s new dark thriller TEEN WOLF, a teen boy’s life is irrevocably changed after being bitten by a werewolf. While he struggles to adjust to his new physical changes, the world around him shifts as well. He discovers he is not alone and meets a mentor of sorts who helps guide him through the transformations and navigating an increasingly tricky social scene at school. Then, as if that were not enough, he finds out that he is not necessarily the predator in this story; that he may be the prey as well when it is revealed that a team of hunters have moved into town and are tightening their net.
Thus, the cursed and conflicted Scott McCall (Tyler Posey), his mysterious mentor Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin) and the new girl in town Allison Argent (Crystal Reed) are all caught up in the thorny tale of star-crossed romance amidst a modern day horror story.
Taking a few minutes to talk with the press about what makes TEEN WOLF a must-see show of this summer, Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed and Tyler Hoechlin candidly shared their insights and offered a few sneak teases.
What do you like best about your character?
Tyler P.: It’s not just one character. It’s two. I get to play this really innocent kid who’s just tired of being an outcast and wants to be popular. I also get to play an insane, psychopathic killer. So they’re completely contrasting characters and it’s just really fun bringing both of them to life and just running with it. Love it!
Crystal: Allison is really trusting, I think innately. Scott ends up betraying her and her family has been lying to her for her entire life; so she goes through a major change from beginning to end but she still maintains part of who she is. That’s one of the reasons I like her so much and something I can personally relate to as well.
Tyler H.: The thing I like about Derek — I want to make this very clear: he’s not at like Jack Sparrow at all. But he’s very much in the same way — back-and-forth in that you don’t know which side he’s on at the moment. And that’s something that’s very fun to play. And as [Tyler P.] said, it’s fun playing multiple characters and Derek has a lot of good and a lot of evil all mixed up in one, and you kind of don’t know which to root for and which to hate.
What exactly is Derek going to be teaching Scott?
Tyler H.: [Derek] is going to teach him how not to kill his family and friends. I think that’s probably the most important thing. There’s an episode where [Scott] says he has homework, and I’m like, ‘What’s more important: homework or not killing your friends?’ That might be priority number one. But Derek has his own reasons why [Scott's] got to master these new powers. Very good reasons. Very dark.
Do they delve further into Derek’s backstory this season?
Tyler H.: Yeah, as the season goes on. There’s very much a mystery. That kind of maintains throughout the first season. But you do get to know a little bit more of why he is the way he is.
Did Derek bite Scott for a specific reason?
Tyler H.: There’s a lot of twists and turns in it, so I won’t answer any of those questions directly. But there definitely is. Derek has his very own specific motives and they are made clear throughout the first season. So you will find out what they are.
Are Scott and Allison star-crossed because one is the werewolf and one is the hunter?
Crystal: Allison doesn’t know that her parents are hunters, nor that [Scott’s] a werewolf. So she just thinks that people are acting weird and people are lying to her. [Tyler] is the one that really has to internalize it all.
Tyler P.: Yeah, and it sucks ’cause relationships are based on trust and honesty and ours is neither of those. It can’t be. It’s not like I’m lying to her. I keep things from her for her own protection. But she doesn’t know that. So she thinks I’m just being weird and cheating on her. I’m not at all. I’m very loyal.
Do the hunters know who are werewolves?
Crystal: I don’t think the hunters know. They just know that there’s werewolves here. They don’t know who is a werewolf; but at some point they do.
Tyler H.: They have an idea that Derek is there. My family has a history with [Allison’s] family. So they are very much aware that I could be stirring up some trouble.
Tyler P.: Downhill, uphill. It’s a crazy roller-coaster. It’s just insane. I can’t wait to see it.
Tyler H.: Being unpredictable is one of the things we take pride in on the show — that as soon as you feel like someone’s figured it out, it takes a turn.
Did you have any challenges with the werewolf transformations?
Tyler P.: Probably just being in the makeup chair.
Tyler H: It’s kind of the easiest thing to do when you have the makeup on. That’s the worst part, the makeup process and the contacts suck. We’re supposed to have a heightened sense of sight and it actually blinds us. But other than that it’s this crazy freeing experience. You don’t look in the mirror and see yourself. There’s not that sense of judging yourself because it feels like it’s not you really doing it. It’s really freeing.
What other kind of challenges did you face working on the show?
Tyler P.: The car that we got — I think we got it for free — the battery died. They couldn’t buy a battery — I don’t know why — but every time the car stalled, it would take 30 minutes to boot it back up. So eventually they gave up and started pushing the car.
Crystal: I’m a pretty good driver in real life, but for some reason I was a pretty horrible driver on the show!
How freezing cold was it since you did a lot of filming without shirts?
Tyler H. to Tyler P: You got it the worst.
Tyler P.: The cold was so bad. The fact that they would spray me with water in every shot. I would be sprayed down and then we’d do a take and they’d spray me down again. It was really, really cold!
Tyler H.: The one thing me and Tyler wanted to do the day we wrapped was to take [Director] Russell [Mulcahy] into the woods and tie him to a tree and spray him all over, just so he knew how it felt.
What was your favorite supernatural movie as a teen?
Crystal: I like Buffy. I watched Buffy, the Vampire Slayer growing up.
Tyler P.: I really liked Queen of the Damned. I was super into that movie.
Tyler H.: Pirates of the Caribbean, the Curse of the Black Pearl. My favorite movie. Johnny Depp is my favorite actor and Jack Sparrow is my favorite character. The shape-shifting skeletons as pirates — that’s my favorite.
What does TEEN WOLF have in common with Michael J. Fox’s “Teen Wolf” film?
Tyler P.: The only thing we have in common is the name and perhaps a couple names of the characters.
Then on the opposite side of the spectrum, ensnared on the fringes of Scott’s new supernatural life, are the super-driven duo Lydia Martin (Holland Roden) and her boyfriend Jackson Whittmore (Colton Haynes). Both Holland and Colton talked about what they loved about their characters and were surprised by on the show.
What makes TEEN WOLF different than the other genre shows?
Colton: People like to say that other shows are like the “Romeo & Juliet” story. Ours is in a way, very like that. It’s not the love-triangle that a lot of the “Twilight” and things like that have. . . You’re left wondering what’s going to happen next? It’s intriguing and very sexy and edgy.
Holland: I think they play more with cinematic effects more than you usually see on TV, especially for a teen drama. We’re also solely based on werewolves.
Colton: So you’ll start to see different types, maybe possible mutations of the werewolves.
Holland: And there’s a hierarchy between werewolves that no other show has tapped on yet.
Colton: Our show is not exactly the cutesy werewolves that you’d see or that you’d want to kiss. Jeff, the writer, likes to say that our werewolves are ones that you want to lick. So vampires are on the outs. It’s all about the werewolves.
Is there some kind of mystery to Lydia, like a special ability?
Holland: I think that we’re not sure what she has, honestly. But the end of the season — my contract was for one season — you’ll see: no one is safe. [Writer] Jeff [Davis] gets a lot of Harry David baskets from myself — lots of pears and chocolates and Mouse Munch — because I would like to be around for the second season. I think all of us would and he definitely puts our characters in jeopardy several times.
Colton: You read going through the scripts thinking, ‘Is she going to die?’ And it ends up with this crazy cliffhanger.
Holland: And there are some people who do die in the first season that you would never expect. You’re like, ‘Seriously? They were such a great actor too!’ There are some people who are not coming back, but we can’t reveal that.
Colton: Also, some people start out as humans that may not have been human the whole time. Some people could be certain things. The good thing about TEEN WOLF is they really tap into the other werewolf mythology. There’s a lot of hidden meaning in the words. Like Allison Argent, means “silver” in French. There’s also so many other different hidden meanings. And nobody’s safe. You could think someone is wolf and they cannot be; and someone’s a human and they may not be. The cliffhangers on this show — you read the first scene and you’re like, ‘It’s crazy this cliffhanger, are you serious?!’
Holland: That was the most frustrating. My favorite show is LOST and, like those actors, we’d get together and discuss the relationships and how layered the plotline was, and by the last episode Crystal and I were getting together and saying, ‘So what happened on that page, does that relate to Episode 2?’ We had to go to Jeff for a lot of our questions because it started to become that –
Holland: Yep. But I’ve got to say it again — it’s good!
Colton: I think you think people are one thing and then they are something you would not even think.
Is Lydia interested in Scott?
Holland: She’s interested in whatever’s the top — the best at the moment. She definitely wants a piece of it. But it’s funny ’cause I think Jackson and Lydia have something real. They’re this Evil-Knievel duo that kind of keeps an eye out for anybody to take over. They’re the full on alien-couple.
Colton: Like doppelgangers.
Holland: It’s like old married banter between us — on and off-screen! Hopefully it comes across in a lovable, comedic way that we’re these teenagers that have the banter of a couple that has been married for 30 years.
Colton: But then you’ll start to see the emotion in our characters. We’re stereotyped. [Jackson] is the mean jock. [Lydia] is the popular girl. But I like that they’re allowing all the characters to evolve at the same time, showing more emotion. My character is someone you love to hate him. At the same time, it’s heartbreaking what he kind of goes through; also, our struggles as a couple together. I have a relationship with every other person individually. Most of it’s bad. Most of it’s mean. Some of it can bring out a lot of emotion. So it’s great to have that kind of character.
What is the most redeeming characteristics to each of your characters?
Colton: The thing I like about Jackson’s character — well, at school he’s a pretty shallow character — but you get to see a different side of him where he isn’t around people, when he is completely vulnerable and just like, ‘I can’t believe this is how my life has turned out. This is who I have to try to be. But this is not who I really am.’ And that’s how it is for all of us. You have to put up fronts to try to be people who you really aren’t. And I think that my storyline, in general, really taps into a lot of that.
Holland: I would say with Lydia, polarizing good vs. evil is not something you can do with her. She has a little bit of both. Towards the end of the season there is a particular character that she comes into contact with that has tried several times to break her down and has never been able to — and finally he is able to just talk to her on a level that no one else has — to sort of get through to her, and I think that means a lot to her that someone took the time to do that. She definitely recognizes that in people. And she loves to go at it with this sort of Jonah Goldberg/Steven Colbert banter. She likes to have it out with people and see how far they can take the joke, and I think she sorts of gets off on that. That’s definitely a huge plus if a guy is able to do that with her because she sort of writes people off as just moronic. So I think that’s fun to see her get in touch with a human emotion that she doesn’t show a lot with someone you would not expect her to hang out with.
What would you like to see your character do?
Holland: A bad-ass girl fight! . . . I don’t know if I’ll be on Allison’s side, so we’ll all just have to stay tuned for that.
Colton: I got to do a lot on the show. But it would be nice to kind of — what I wish they could have done was had a little more of Jackson confronting his parents as to why — I mean, my character is extremely rich, but I’m ignored. So, not only am I ignored by the father I didn’t have, I’m ignored by the parents who [adopted him]. It’s an interesting thing. You’d think he’d be in a more nurturing family because he’s adopted, but that’s not the case. He’s thrown Porsches and cars, but he’s left to fend for himself. Maybe that will come.
Holland: Nothing’s done by accident though. That you’re adopted. I think that’s definitely going to come back into play.
Can you talk about the scene later in the season when Jackson has to go to a doctor?
Colton: That is one of my favorite scenes. What is interesting is the doctor is played by Tyler Posey’s dad. It’s one of my favorite scenes. I have this amazing scene where something is going on with my character. He’s in kind of a hallucinogenic state and they’re kind of freaked out by him ’cause he’s walking around sweating and looking kind of white and sickly for awhile. So I have to go to the doctor and find out what’s wrong with me or find out things that maybe I might know, or find out things that could have happened to me after altercations in the past episodes.
Were you anything like your characters in high school?
Holland: Oh gosh, nothing like them!
Colton: I definitely was not Jackson. I was nominated for Prom King my senior year, though I went to four different high schools. But I think I got the pity vote ’cause I was the new kid. My sister is in the military so I got to move around a lot. But it’s awesome ’cause I got to meet so many different people and I liked being the new kid ’cause even if you weren’t cool, it kind of worked.
Holland: I went to an all-girl’s school for most of my life — and I didn’t sit in a class with boys until I was 16 years old. So I very much missed out on the whole Lydia-phase which I think was good for my self-esteem and psyche.
Are you familiar with the other genre shows?
Colton: Yeah, THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING. Actually I start working on it this week [for a guest appearance].
Are you into the sci-fi genre?
Colton: [Referring to his previous work on THE GATES] I figure I might as well stick with supernatural the rest of my life.
Holland: I loved Gattica. It was one of my favorite movies. And I loved LOST. I was a massive, massive LOST fan. I was so excited to be a part of this because obviously the supernatural genre connection, and it’s flattering to be a part of something that is so popular right now. It’s cathartic for people to come home from work or school and delve into this fantasy world. So I’m excited that we get to be a little bit of that.
Colton: It’s also that people are drawn to the supernatural characters because they see themselves in them. There are those kids around school who just want to not be outcasts — they just want to breeze through without a lot of attention. They want to go under the radar. And what happened to Scott is he got this bite and now he’s better than my character Jackson at lacrosse and now I want to dethrone him and find out what he has so I can get it as well.
Did you give Tyler and Tyler wolf-advice based on your experience on THE GATES?
Colton: They wanted nothing from me. They were kind of mad that I went and did that show. I did the pilot of this first, then I got the opportunity to do that show. Luckily this show came after that. So I got to do both. Then THE GATES got canceled, so they wanted nothing to do with me after that. Perhaps they thought, ‘If we do what Colton does, we’ll get canceled.’ I had fun on that show, but this show is nothing like THE GATES. The werewolves are nothing alike either.
Holland: What I like about the show is parents are not some sort of ghost, phantom parents, or whatever. We’re not orphans. We definitely have our parents very much in the show. Unbelievably talented recurring actors that come on. So that’s a fun aspect of the show that not a lot of other supernatural shows that are geared towards kids have.
Colton: Also, my character is adopted. So he starts to realize that he is trying to impress the dad he never had. So it becomes more of a really emotional journey for him as well. But also, I have a rivalry with — actually, we [indicating he and Holland] have rivalries!
Holland: It’s hilarious.
Colton: It’s unbelievable. [Jeff Davis] created Criminal Minds, yet he writes towards us and who we are in real life. So we’ll read something and we’ll say, ‘You’re talking about me, right?’ He’ll throw a little line in there, so it’s fun.
Tiffany Vogt blogs at The TV Addict.
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