Teen Wolf's Dylan O'Brien "In real life, I'm the werewolf."
On “Teen Wolf”, Cute Dylan O’Brien, yet another star who got his start on YouTube, plays Stiles, the smart buddy who tries to keep werewolf Scott (Tyler Posey) from chewing up his friends and enemies. When we were in L.A. dishing with the rest of the cast, Dylan was off shooting his first film, a funny teen romance called (for now) The First Time.
Dylan defends the comedy/drama mix in the show that some fans are loving and others, not so much.
TeenTelevision: What is your comeback to the fan critics who are saying they don’t know what the show is yet. Is it funny or scary? I say, why can’t it be both?
Dylan: Yeah. We get criticized for being too “Twilight-looking” when we’re advertising the show then the show is on and now they are criticizing our comedic element. We put a little bit in the show for everybody. We have that forbidden love and that “Twilight-esque” romance. We’ve got that dark factor; that action-packed thrill and we also pay homage to the original movie by adding that comedic factor, that fun, quirky element.
It’s cool to add that to this supernatural genre that’s been a craze over the last five to ten years. A lot of it has been done without that comedy element; like “Vampire Diaries”, Twilight and “True Blood”. Those are very drama-oriented shows. It’s cool to implement that comedic factor. It gives the show a sense of humor about itself and makes it more relatable and more real. A character like Stiles grounds the show, I think.
TeenTelevision: What is your favorite werewolf film or just general horror film?
Dylan: American Werewolf in London. It was funny and scary and you were totally relating to these guys every second of the way.
TeenTelevision: I love that movie! Ever snuck into a buddy’s room at night only to be caught by their parents (like in episode 3)?
Dylan: (laughs) No, never.
TeenTelevision: Sneaking into a girlfriend’s room?
Dylan: Uh (pause)…no comment.
TeenTelevision: Uh huh. ‘Nuf said. How did you get into show biz and how did you get the part as Stiles?
Dylan: My dad’s a camera operator in the industry and my mom was an actress when she was young and she had an acting school when I was a little kid so I’ve always been around the industry. My parents let me watch all the movies so I’m a movie geek. At ten or eleven, I started toying around with a camera and making my own videos and, at 14, I started putting them on YouTube. I had a little following there and I had no intentions of acting. I wanted to go to film school at Syracuse University.
I liked the idea of random people seeing my videos but, eventually my whole town did. This woman came up to me and told me she’d seen my videos and was doing a web series and would love if I was part of it. That was my first real acting experience. Then, I met an actor on that web show who didn’t get why I wasn’t represented and he sent my videos to his friend at a management company. I came in and she started sending me on auditions. I was seventeen. I made a decision to stay in Santa Monica and take classes and audition and I booked “Teen Wolf.”
TeenTelevision: So YouTube launches yet another star! What bands or music artists are you into right now?
Dylan: I’m obsessed with Incubus. They are awesome. I found an Hawaiian Reggae band called The Green. Some really good stuff.
TeenTelevision: Dating question. What must a girl never do on a date with you or she won’t get a second date?
Dylan: I don’t know… like kick an animal! It would be so over. Go home right now (he laughs)! But, if I’m in a movie and the girl is pulling out her phone too much or talking too much, that would definitely get on my nerves. I’m such a movie guy, I’m into all the movie etiquette. I don’t walk out on movies no matter how bad it is and I definitely don’t pull out my phone. That gets under my skin. I don’t think I would end a date because of that or take it too seriously where I’d be like “I’m done! This is done” but it bothers me.
TeenTelevision: Tyler Posey says you guys met at the audition for the show and have been good buds ever since. Is your dynamic as friends anything like Stiles and Scott’s or very different?
Dylan: The dynamic is completely opposite because, in real life, I’m the werewolf, just trying to cope.
TeenTelevision: Are your show runners open to your suggestions about your character and have you suggested anything that made it into an episode?
Dylan: Yeah. Me and (the show’s creator and exec producer) Jeff Davis talk a lot. He lets us have a lot of insight into our characters and have a lot of ideas. We always talk about the ways we can play with the Stiles dynamic. It’s so funny. We’ll talk about what Stiles can and can’t have.
He can’t have a girl we’ve decided because it’s too funny that he doesn’t, he can’t ever step foot on the Lacrosse field because it’s too funny that he’s on the bench. He can’t ever be a wolf because it’s too funny that he’s not.
TeenTelevision: But Stiles was trying to ask Lydia out. Is he going to keep pursuing her?
Dylan: Yeah. That’s something that is a perfect example. We’ve talked about how else we can play with the Lydia thing. If anybody wants to see me actually get a date, go see The First Time, that romantic comedy I did.
TeenTelevision: We now know that there is another Alpha werewolf. Will Stiles really get into investigating who in town it is?
Dylan: Oh, he’s definitely going to have an in-person encounter with that person and that’s interesting.
TeenTelevision: Cool. Overall, Stiles always means well but often says just the wrong thing to Scott and makes things worse. Are you at all like that at times? Or were you when you were growing up?
Dylan: I guess I’ve always been accommodating to my friends in that way. I always would try to make them feel better. I always would be supportive. If something was wrong I’d try to say, “Don’t worry. It’s okay. It’s fine”. Sometimes, that wouldn’t be what’s called for I guess.
TeenTelevision: So is Stiles on Adderall and has attention deficit disorder or was he joking?
Dylan: Everyone asks me that. It was a joke. I actually think he probably does take some Adderall.. No, it’s supposed to be a funny thing.
TeenTelevision: What do you really hope the showrunners will let Stiles do if the show goes on for more episodes?
Dylan: More action sequences! I can do a lot of that stuff so that would be cool. I do a lot of running on the show but it’s always spastic running or running away.
TeenTelevision: What, overall is Stiles’ goal as far as Scott is concerned?
Dylan: He just wants him to be okay. These kids care so much about each other. You could see that right from the get-go. It’s that friendship and loyalty. These are two guys who are almost brothers. They each have only one parent and they become that much more important to each other. Stiles just wants Scott to be okay and I think that’s the driving force. He’s trying to help him through this.
TeenTelevision: Did you do anything to research your character before the show started; learning what a guy like Stiles is like?
Dylan: Not really. My character isn’t original. He’s based off of Stiles in the original movie so, when I first read this pilot “Teen Wolf” script, I didn’t know about the movie and I fell in love with the Stiles character which is testament to Jeff Davis’s writing because that’s what the audience is supposed to do. I wanted to go in and audition for Stiles. I did and eventually ended up getting the part. It was a crazy process. When I actually had the part, I had ideas for what I wanted to do with it, I was almost afraid to see the original Teen Wolf movie because I’d see that character and find out I’m completely wrong.
TeenTelevision: Do you play an instrument or sing?
Dylan: Music is a huge part of my life. I grew up playing piano and I play guitar but drums is my main thing.
TeenTelevision: What did you and Tyler and the rest of the cast do in Atlanta when off set? Dinner or gaming or…run into people on “The Vampire Diaries”?
Dylan: Yeah, we did. We hung out with “Vampire Diaries” cast a few times on random occasions. Colton (Jackson) on our show knows a couple of them. Me and Tyler (Posey) are both musicians so we jam all the time. In Atlanta we had a set up with an electric drum kit and guitars and we’d play music a lot and the cast likes to go bowling a lot. We’re all big bowlers.
TeenTelevision: Does Stiles have any dark secrets we don’t know about or is he the only cast member who really doesn’t?
Dylan: Interesting. Uh, maybe. I can’t say.