Interviewing the Teen Wolf cast


With Teen Wolf’s third series staring over in the US, I managed to meet up with cast members Tyler Hoechlin, Holland Roden, Crystal Reed, Daniel Sharman and executive producer Christian Taylor, for a quick chat about all things Teen Wolf.

Q: For people who have not seen the show in the UK, how would you sum it up, how would you describe the vibe and the flavour of it?

CHRISTIAN: Well Jeff Davis always talks about how his inspiration is The Lost Boys, as its one of his favourite movies. It’s an investigation in to what it is to be young and to experience all those dynamics of growing, but then the show is quite sophisticated, in the framework of what we do in terms of comedy and the performances. It’s adventure, it’s fun, it’s serious and it’s horror. This season (series 3) in particular we are doing a lot of horror. I hope that makes sense (laughs). I’m sorry, I’m just waking up.

TYLER: For me it’s been fun to watch the show evolve. When it first started it was very much like The Lost Boys with that romantic story at the core of it, with a lot of action and elements of humour mixed in. This season, season three, there is a lot of action, which is a fun new thing to play with, there are more wolves this year and a lot of new characters, which is exciting. Yeah, it’s been really fun to watch it grow, to see it evolve and to introduce new elements to show as we continue. 

Q: You have had a lot of people leaving between season two and three, and there will be a lot of new characters introduced. How does it feel to have new people joining the cast?

CRYSTAL: I think we are lucky in that we have really talented actors in our show. Not only are they talented, but they are really great people. It makes a bit of a difference when you’re comfortable and you like the people you work with. I think it’s a natural progression of things for people to come and go. It’s interesting because we have a core of people; (points to Daniel) he’s not one of them (laughs). No, no, you can tell, we all just mesh, and everybody gets along. 

HOLLAND: It feels like Daniel’s always been there. 

CRYSTAL: I know, right

CHRISTIAN: Maybe he’ll be in the title sequence soon (everyone laughs). The thing that’s great this season, it’s no secret, but we have the Alpha Pack coming, which is a whole group of people. We ended up getting some really fantastic actors, these twin young men who are really great personalities on set, they’ve been a lot of fun, and then we have our lead bad guy who’s amazing. So, it’s been really fun. That will then switch out for the next part, because we are doing two parts to this season, we’re doing twelve episodes and then another twelve episodes. Jeff likes to structure things as a mini movie, so there is a three act structure within the twelve, and we are doing a whole new storyline, which we are shooting in July.

HOLLAND: What I love about it is that we have had this kind of graduation progress from that romantic, John Hughes sort of personality in vein, where it was much more innocent than anything else on TV. The love stories were so rich in romance almost in that vein, and then I like how it’s this graduation progress where most of the characters on the show are now adults and so it’s really taken a much darker turn this season. It’s almost more in the True Blood vein, we are getting a lot more gritty and a lot more violent, and most of the new characters, if not all, are adults, thus removing away from the high school pack of it. 

DANIEL: I think the filming has also reflected that, certainly from the first twelve we first saw. There is certainly a degree of it maturing, there are some really beautiful shots this season. It’s weird because there are so many new characters this season, and I don’t know how they do it, but they are the most lovely people, and they all just seemed to fit in, that must be so rare. The twins are just fantastic, just the greatest people to be around, and Gideon (Emery) and all the other new people are just great, and they just fit in with the maturing of the show. It’s just been a lot of fun to shoot.

TYLER: Like Daniel with the cinematic thing, I think that is something we have always pointed out from the beginning, in that this show feels cinematic. I think seasons one and two kind of had their moments where it really felt that way, whereas this season the whole thing just feels as if you’re watching a feature film.

CHRISTIAN: Something happened this season where we were very lucky. We were shooting in Atlanta which was a great experience, but we ended up winning this thing that is called The Tax Lottery and we moved everything to Los Angeles. It’s such a different experience shooting in LA, it’s an industry town built over a hundred years, and so if you need a fire hydrant, you can just get one in two minutes, whereas in Atlanta it would take a good while.

TYLER: (laughing) Remember that; there is a very important ‘fire hydrant’ moment. I think he might get fired for a spoiler on that one.

Q: Do you think that now that you are coming onto season three, that people are forgetting about the film, because it’s a very different thing?

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, definitely. I think we lived under the shadow of the name Teen Wolf. The film was exactly what it was and should have been, and Jeff has created a show that is…  I don’t want to say more sophisticated, but I suppose it is. It’s a different animal.

DANIEL: I don’t see it at all in the same way; I didn’t from the start when I came on in the second season. It doesn’t remind me of it at all.

CRYSTAL: Much like Buffy The Vampire Slayer went out on its own.

Q: What was the decision to reboot Teen Wolf? Did you just get sick of vampires?

CHRISTIAN: They said to Jeff, “We want to develop this property” and he said, “Well, I will only do it, if I can do it like this…” and it was under that shadow and these guys on season one really lived under the shadow of Twilight. This show is very irreverent, there is no sparkling. Jeff always talks about it being a Spider-Man story, and he is really involved in superheroes, he loves all that stuff, we all do, but when he talks about it as a Spider-Man story, it just makes sense. 

Q: You say that there is a lot more action in the upcoming season. Do you all embrace that? How do you find all those sequences? 

HOLLAND: I got to meet the stunt co-ordinator, that was exciting.

CHRISTIAN: (looks to Holland) You did a stunt?

HOLLAND: Yeah, I did a couple. It was very exciting.

CHRISTIAN: This cast is amazing. Hoechlin will just get in there and be like (mimics Tyler Hoechlin) “I’m doing my own stunts.” Crystal and Holland had to do this thing in an episode that I directed where there’s this giant explosion, and Holland had to push Dylan (O’Brien) and Tyler (Posey) over. They didn’t have a stuntman for Crystal, sorry stuntwoman… well, sometimes it’s a stuntman. So Crystal says, “I’ll do it” and she starts throwing herself on the tarmac, some 30 odd times. They are just great. We ask so much of them, because there are time commitments and so it’s much better if Hoechlin does his own stunts, because it looks way better on film.

TYLER: I think a lot of us enjoy it…

DANIEL: Not so much the water stuff. It’s alright for them, they get all the flash bang stuff, and I’m not sure if it’s some kind of initiation, but I feel like my character goes through the most horrific filming experiences, and they are all coming in and saying “Oh, I threw myself on the ground…”

HOLLAND: Please. A shower in Atlanta, in thirteen degrees, uh-uh… I will fight you.

DANIEL: Oh yeah, in that tub for 19 hours going underwater, getting silicone up my f**king a**e.

TYLER: If you haven’t guessed this has been a massive debate on set already.

HOLLAND: All over who has the worse water scenes.

CHRISTIAN: We had a lot of water scenes this season and Daniel had to be drowned.

CRYSTAL: We work a lot of nights, so having physical things to do at 4am when you’re freezing gets your mind off the fact that you’re freezing and wet in the woods.

HOLLAND: Yeah. But it’s all in good fun, because we love to do half the things that we are doing.

DANIEL: It is a great learning experience. When else are you gonna learn how to do that?

HOLLAND: When you’re not on the sound stage for 12 hours a day from Monday through Friday, it feels like we’ve been filming a movie for three years.

DANIEL: It really does feel like that.

Q: You spoke about the season becoming darker in season three, and with the clip that we were shown during the panel, it seems that you have gone for a really horror, Hitchcockian kind of feel. Was this a conscious choice?

CHRISTIAN: It was a conscious choice, because the show is maturing and me, Jeff and the other writers didn’t really deliver on what we wanted to do. We thought that we were going to do a lot of horror suspense stuff, and not so much action, and we ended up doing horror suspense stuff… and more action. Yes there is definitely a tonal shift and I think it gives the actors a lot more interesting stuff to do. As the characters are maturing, I think that there is an essence of; as we mature in life there are darker issues to deal with. I think each season of the show has been a really good build.

Q: You mentioned the twins before; can you tell us how the arrival of the new Alpha Pack affects your characters?

TYLER: Not well, we get into a lot of fights…

CHRISTIAN: Erm, we can’t say too much.

CRYSTAL: I don’t want to give anything away.

TYLER: I can just say that, we don’t get along. For Derek it’s trouble, and once he knows there’s an Alpha Pack, it just spells bad times for him. More beatings.

HOLLAND: There are a lot of mixed reviews too, you go back and forth playing the anti-hero, hero game all throughout the season, and we do it with a lot of different characters, and I think that’s fun for an audience to watch in a show. I know that I love that when I watch my favourite shows. “I like you, but I know I’m not supposed to like you,” and, “I don’t like you and I should like you.” I really like the back and forth, and I would say that the twins have a lot of that with Lydia. 

CHRISTIAN: The Alpha Pack are not all bad all of the time, let’s just say that.

Q: After the success of seasons one and two, we are going to get a longer season three. How did you approach that?

CHRISTIAN: Jeff was very clever in this idea of twelve and twelve, because to do a block of twenty four is a very hard thing. It’s interesting, because what’s just been announced for network television in America is that a lot of shows, like Grey’s Anatomy, will now be doing twelve episode stories followed by another twelve episode story. It’s unruly because what happens is, ‘the rule of seven’: There are seven great episodes, seven mediocre episodes, and seven bad episodes. That’s what happens, because you just can’t sustain it. We are taking a break to do more writing so we just approach it in the sense of: This is the movie, this is our bad guy, this is the three act structure, and it builds in that way.

Q: Has the bigger budget enabled you to be more audacious?

CHRISTIAN: Bigger budget?

ENTIRE CAST: Bigger budget?

CHRISTIAN: We didn’t get a bigger budget.

DANIEL: I don’t know how you have made it look so good.

CRYSTAL: Not that our crew in Atlanta were not wonderful, because they were, but our crew in LA are incredible, and I think that helps a lot. You get more done, you get more takes and things just move faster. 

DANIEL: Having a stage too, just means that the shots we can get are so good. I just saw Russell Mulcahy’s last episode and it’s just very Kubrick in its expanse.

Q: Daniel, does it feel different working on a show in America?

DANIEL: A little bit, yeah. Working in LA is a wonderful experience. It does feel like a proper outfit now. Before it was charming in its way, but this season it’s really stepped up.

CHRISTIAN: We had this old factory which was doing speakers and electronics. We now have this warehouse, because it’s much easier, we are trying to become more of a ‘set’ show and we are talking about building a forest this season, so we don’t have to go out. I don’t think people realise that structurally you start shooting at 7am on Monday and you shoot till 8pm on Monday and then you go in to split nights because you have to do night staff, so Wednesday we’re on half day-half night, by the time you get to Friday, you’re shooting till six in the morning on Saturday, which we call ‘Fraterday’s’, and it’s really hard on everybody.

CRYSTAL: Also because we have such a supportive crew, we often have multiple units going, which can be crazy for actors because we are going from one thing to another, but I think that helps the show run more efficiently, because we can get so much more done. 

HOLLAND: It feels like a city this year.

DANIEL: On that I would just like to say thank you so much to the crew, because they work so hard, we work hard, but they’re there everyday, and they work nights and splits, they have to be there an hour before and stay till an hour after. I don’t know how they have a life. We just swan in, sit in some water for a bit and complain about it, whereas they are there all day. They do a fantastic job and they are the reason that it looks so great this season. 

Q: Christian, can I ask you, in terms of genre and fantasy genre, where you think we are up to in terms of the appetite for it? Do you think we are at the beginning, or somewhere in the middle?

CHRISTIAN: That’s interesting, because this show is quite clever. It’s sort of a little bit postmodern, in the sense that it is very funny, doesn’t take itself too seriously, but then allows in the sense of the show to be quite emotional, as well as scary and action packed. I think for young people this type of stuff is very good to access, to talk about important subjects without actually talking about them. I’m talking about the inner frame work, so I don’t think it will ever go away. I think the Twilight stuff, not to rag on one of the most successful things in the world, but you’re just going to have to do it differently, there will never be another. We have seen that when other things try to mimic it, that they can’t really do that, but this show is succeeding, because it’s like the little engine that could. We’ve been on four major top ten lists of the show that’s kind of the guilty pleasure sort of thing. I believe that’s because people come to see it and realise that it’s a lot more sophisticated than they thought it was going to be, and I think that is what’s going to happen with all of this genre stuff. There will always be genre, because genre is really fun and it’s a great place to talk about archetypes. 

DANIEL: I think that’s really interesting because I do think it stretches certain boundaries of what is a genre show, which is what makes it what it is. If you look at it as a genre show and you watch it then suddenly you think, “Oh, this doesn’t quite fit into any of that,” and that gives it slightly more legs and then eats out of that genre thing, and what it has done quite successfully is stretch out those boundaries.

HOLLAND: It humanises the supernatural, in a sense.

CRYSTAL: I think this is more sustainable because it’s grounded and has real life relationships and is dealing with the problems such as sexuality, parenting problems, relationships, friends, depression and all of these things that teenagers and young adults just don’t have a place to talk about, and so when they see it on TV it helps, and I think that’s why it’s so successful and will be able to continue, because its real. I love that Jeff keeps that in place.

CHRISTIAN: I’m also astounded at the fans, at just how amazingly dedicated they are to the show. It’s just so inspiring on so many levels. They have their own dialogue about stuff and they’re creating their own storylines, which doesn’t relate to the show, but it gives them a creative output, which is great too.

Teen Wolf: The Complete Second Series is due to be released on DVD on June 10th.

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