NYCC 2013: Teen Wolf

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I am sixteen years outside the highest target demographic for this show. That is to say, I am a whole 16 year-old girl outside the demographic. I am THREE 16 year-old girls and a toddler, in fact. But good story-telling with compelling characters, terrific direction and just plain cool genre placement is for everyone. As long as you can still see and hear the TV, Teen Wolf can transport you to a fiction as old as human cave paintings. Good versus evil never loses its punch. Good from evil never loses its spice. Teen Wolf is a show much deeper than its title may convey.  Like the song says, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Wrapped in the trappings of youth culture with beautiful young high school students Teen Wolf soars to dramatic heights of friendship and conflict that the overly-long-running and vapid Smallville could only ever dream of reaching.

It was with these truths in mind that a group of journalists, and yes it is here that I have to drop the quotations around that word, gathered in an interview room at New York Comic Con to meet and chat with Dylan O’Brien, who plays the show’s lead Tyler Posie’s best friend and Teen Wolf’s Xander Harris archetype Stiles, Linden Ashby who plays the fictional town Beacon Hill’s Sheriff and Stiles’ recently unbefuddled  father Stilinski and the show’s creator Jeff Davis.

The room was set-up into three stations. Two round tables of writers and one long alley of video and photo media journalists. The three artists in question were shuttled from place to place in the room where they answered myriad questions about the show and about themselves. What follows is taken from my audio recording of the table at which I sat on behalf of PSNation.com.

First at our table was Linden Ashby.

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PS Nation: Hello, Linden Ashby!

Ashby: Hello! I just went to another room and sat in on their press conference because they sent me to the wrong place and so I’m like there going ” I’ll answer anything, go ahead ask me I don’t even know what the hell show this is” but… (and now to us here in the correct room)  Go ahead shoot from the hip, I will!

PS Nation: What do you think about the progress of your character’s alcoholism it seemed like he started out sort of in a gray alcoholic area and now that part of the story doesn’t seem to be as…

Ashby:…well it is there, I don’t think that Stilinski ever had a real problem. I think that he drank when his wife died. I think that he kind of fell into the bottle and he climbed out of the bottle pretty quickly. He knew that he had responsibilities to raise his child and so it was never a real problem. And I think that it’s been alluded to.

Journalist: Are you happy with the way your character has developed over the seasons?

Ashby: I am. I’m ecstatic. And I think that all comes down to Jeff and what he writes and gives us and creates for us. And I think he really watches and sees what works and sort of, we go down a path that maybe he didn’t know we were gonna go down and I think that now that I know about what’s going on in Beacon Hills, the supernatural element, it opens up a whole other chapter in Stilinski’s evolution.

Journalist: How do you think your character’s going to handle knowing everything that’s actually going on in town?

Ashby: Well I’ve been a father for a long time so I tell my kids I know everything anyways but I think it’s tough! As a police officer you go back and you have to really rethink cases you haven’t solved before and you go back and look at things with new information. And it’s an issue of “If I had known before what I know now could I have saved some one? Could I have done things differently?” So it’s a double-edged sword. One of the things I love about this show is that people can make mistakes and learn from them and then we move forward with the new information and muddle through the best that we can.

Journalist: Are you looking forward to maybe the sheriff getting some action? Melissa McCall maybe? I’m just saying I think it SHOULD head that way…

Ashby: There is a lovely chemistry there. I dunno. We’ll see.

Journalist: Are we going to learn more this season about the relationship between your character and your wife and how Stiles’s mom you know…

Ashby: Died? Yeah. We are. We will learn how she died, what happened and it’s a pretty key story element.

Journalist: I’m curious if you could share a behind the scenes moment with the cast?

Ashby: With these guys?! Dylan and Tyler and… Oh my God. It’s like a barrel of monkeys every day! Did you guys know they lived together the first two years in Atlanta? First year it was Posey, Dylan and Hoechlin. All living together.

PS Nation: Oh my God!

Journalist: And they all survived?! (General laughter.)

Ashby: Tyler Hoechlin was like the den mother. Next year he was like, “I’m movin’ out.” And they, O’Brien and Posey, stayed together. And they get together and just laugh and they go off on these tangents that only they sort of know right where they’re going… there’s no shortage of it. A lot of laughing. A lot of inappropriate crap. A lot of farts!

Journalist: What’s been your favorite scene to shoot?

Ashby: It was the end of season two with Dylan. When he had done great on the lacrosse team. I love that scene when I told him he was a hero.

Ashby is replaced at our table with Teen Wolf creator Jeff Davis.

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Journalist: What are you most excited about for the upcoming second half of Season Three?

Davis: I’m really excited for new characters. I’m so excited about Arden Cho who is amazing. It’s nice to be able to add a new female character to the mix. We’re a very male-heavy show so we knew we needed another girl. She’s a really fun person. She brings a great energy to the show.
I’m excited for the new creatures, the new mythology. It’s really cool, the kitsune myth and what we’re doing with it. We’re staying really close to the fables and stories. Imagine the coyote-myth of the Native Americans transplanted to Japan. They’re very similar.

Journalist: What inspired you to use the kitsune myth?  (The kitsune myth will be part of the focus going into Season 3B.)

Davis: From my childhood…when I was a kid on the weekends on channel five they had Kung Fu Theatre. I watched all those movies and I just loved them. It’s an excuse to get all that in!

PS Nation: There have been other shows, and it seems like sci-fi/fantasy shows on TV do this better for some reason than almost any other genre, to have gay characters on the show who behave just like regular people and the scripts don’t editorialize on their sexual orientation. Teen Wolf has the two gay teen boy characters, which is different from Buffy’s lesbian characters because apparently two girls kissing is less offensive than two boys kissing… So I was wondering what led you to take the show in that direction and to have those characters included.

Davis: As a gay man myself, I wanted to see it on TV in a way where is wasn’t dealt with as some sort of after-school special. I just wanted it to be part of the world that wasn’t stereotypical. I wanted him to be a jock who was best friends with the captain of the team if not captain of the team himself. Totally confident. And I wanted a gay werewolf too. So we have Charlie, one of the Carver twins playing that. It’s a different perspective, just part of the world and not something that has to have a spotlight shown on it. I’m very grateful that the network is so supportive of it.

Last year at Comic Con in New York someone asked, “Why don’t you have more bisexuals on the show?” I listened and we’re bringing a character back who is bisexual. I want to see real-world representations on TV. And we get to do it on a genre show.

Journalist: Speaking of, will we get to see more of Danny in the season to come?

Davis: You will! Especially in episode 316. You’ll get to see more of the Carver twins as well. But we are losing the two of them to an HBO show unfortunately. We may leave the door open for them to come back. If we don’t kill them. (General laughter.) It’s funny because I always threaten them on-set. “Don’t worry. I’ll kill you later.” But they are the greatest guys and we may still be able to shoot with them while they are doing their show.

PS Nation: I like them! I like the fact that one is gay and one is straight. I like that a lot.

Davis: That’s me and my twin.

PS Nation: Really?!

Davis: Yeah. I have an identical twin. He has two kids. And I have a very nice house. (General laughter.) No toys all over the place!

Journalist: What is the time-line between Season 3A and 3B?

Davis: Immediate. We wanted to have a Halloween episode. 316 is the Halloween episode which revolves around a black-light party and new creatures, monsters, bad guys.

And lastly Jeff Davis is replaced at our table with actor Dylan O’Brien who plays Stiles.

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PS Nation: This is really early in your career, yeah? Like basically the first thing.

O’Brien: Yeah.

PS Nation: Think back to the day before you auditioned for the show. What does that kid think about what’s happened?

O’Brien: Um…

PS Nation: But you don’t have to cry. (General laughter.)

O’Brien: No it’s just a trip of a question, man. It all happened really fast but also really slow, like slow enough for me to not even realize it. My life’s really different, I’m really different. I would’ve never believed it if you said the part I got in this little pilot that I was gonna shoot in a week and a half and may or may not get picked-up by MTV and people were already bashing it….if you told me it would still be going three years later and be successful and that I would actually be in it still…I would never have believed you ever! I never for a second thought that I would have success as an actor! (O’Brien laughs.) I gotta be honest! I’m so grateful.

PS Nation: Well, I’m glad you went to that audition!

O’Brien: Thank you very much man.

At this point the handler came and took Dylan O’Brien away and thanked everyone but we were out of time.

Season 3B with 12 new episodes begins airing on MTV, January 2014.

 

Written by Keith Dunn-Fernández

Keith Dunn-Fernández

An actor/director and more lucratively an Administrative Assistant at a small paper company in NYC, Keith loves his games. And he loves to write. And he is a bit of a sarcasmo.

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