With only two episodes left in the stellar second season of MTV’s Teen Wolf, we thought it was time to check in with out series creator Jeff Davis to chat about the show, its stars, and where the various storyline threads are heading. Bet you didn’t realize the painstaking efforts Davis and his crew go through to make sure all those fabulous body shots of the male cast members don’t come off as merely gratuitous. (Not that we would complain!)
We also have an exclusive clip of Monday’s episode, entitled “Battlefield,’ courtesy of the fine folks at MTV.
AfterElton: Before we dive into the next episode, I must ask about ‘The Fury’ episode, which has that Abercrombie and Finch moment for Tyler Hoechlin. When you have something like that which still fits into the story and fits into what Derek is going through, where does that moment actually come from? Is it, ‘Hey, let’s just give him a moment to really look at how hard he’s been working on his body.’?
Jeff Davis: Well, it is funny because this season we weren’t specifically going for shirtless shots, but in the back of your mind you want to service the fans and I think Mr. Hoechlin has worked quite hard. The idea actually came from my consulting producer, Christian Taylor, because he was talking to Hoechlin, and Hoechlin was surprised he hadn’t done any shirtless scenes in this season. Christian said, ‘Hey, I’ve got an idea. When we bring him back from consciousness, he’s naked.’ I said, ‘We can’t do naked, but we can certainly do waist up.’ It was funny because the director decided to do it two ways. The first way was out of focus, and it eventually comes into focus as the camera comes to his face. We looked at him, and we were like, ‘Are you crazy? Look at him. He’s the perfect specimen.’
AE: Talk to me about the eroticism of the show, because we have seen a lot of Colton [Haynes] this season, from head to toe pretty much. You guys always do it…I’m not sure tasteful is the right word, but you guys do make sure it is not just simply gratuitous. Even the moment when Colton is in the shower with Allison. That still is a scary scene because he really comes at her and you kind of forget he is naked, which is hard to do when it’s Colton Haynes. What is the rule for you guys if that eroticism is going to be part of a scene?
JD: The rule is that it first serves the story. I think in the first season we’re willing to do anything we can to get publicity and make ratings because you want your show to survive. I wanted people to have jobs to come back to when they left. In the second season we were conscious of at least trying to be part of the world of the show. I think America has a lot more hesitancy at showing the human body more than many other countries do, and I don’t really see why. They are beautiful actors, why not show them off? I’ll say it is in the name of art.
AE: In this last episode, Scott’s mother finally finds out that Scott is a werewolf. Why was right now the time for her to finally know what her son is going through?
JD: Much of it has to do with Melissa Ponzio being a fantastic actor, and when you have a very capable actress who is both funny and a very good dramatic actress you want to use her more. In a drama show like this in order to use the characters more I feel like they have to be clued in onto the truth of the show. It is part of my way of being able to use her more, and have her as a more active character in season three.
We see something similar in season one with Allison (Crystal Reed) where it is hard to make her character very active in the first half of the series, because she wasn’t really a part of the supernatural world. Now she has become very dark in season two where the conflict is much clearer now. We want to keep the secret from certain characters to maintain the tension and conflict of Scott having to keep a secret like the super hero’s secret identity. At a certain point it gets to be where you want to use that character more and things become a part of the supernatural side of the story, and Melissa is phenomenal.
AE: Speaking of Allison, I love where you guys are taking her because I feel like even though revenge has pushed her to the point where she does want to take action I’m also wondering, is she going to fall in love with some of this power that comes along with that and just what she sees she’s capable of.
JD: Power is corrupting, and I told Crystal that we were definitely going to take her character darker this season. Crystal said to me, ‘I would love to go insane.’ I said, ‘I don’t know if we can quite do that, but we’re definitely going to take the character to a point where many of the fans may not like her and may not agree with her decisions.’ I think you can understand her. Her mother had to commit suicide for her family. She is under the slave of a very powerful figure in the family, her grandfather, who is very practically and capably manipulating her. He is pulling the wool over her eyes.
Crytal Reed as Allison Argent and Michael Hogan as Grandfather Gerard
JD: One of the tensions of the show I think is having the audience members worry about whether she is going to succumb to it and whether she is actually going to do something terrible. Hopefully it is a light kind of tension where we don’t entirely take her by what she does. We always want to make our characters seem believable and understandable, but we can worry for her. That is what we’re trying to do with Allison. I think Crystal as an actor is more than capable of handling it. I actually really enjoyed her performance in episode eleven when she gets very badass.
AE: In this next episode, will we get a better clue as to what Gerard’s (Michael Hogan) plan is? I feel like maybe it is a lot bigger than just taking down Derek and his pack. Is that right?
JD: Yeah, Gerard has big plans. You are going to have to wait until the finale, which is called ‘Master Plan’ to really understand what his master plan is. That is as much as I can give you.
Dylan O’Brien ignites the crowd at Comic-Con
Photo credit: Alexandra Wyman/Getty
AE: Stiles had a great time in this next episode. I’m curious, did you foresee that Stiles would become so popular as well as Dylan [O’Brien]? Even at Comic-Con, I think he got the biggest cheers out of everybody.
JD: To be honest, when we saw Dylan in the pilot, I really felt like we had a star in the making. He was just so perfect for the role. I think that he has a natural talent. He has a certain charm and that charisma that is very rare in an actor. I see a lot of young actors in this business and I have a lot of friends. I try to give my friends chances on the show like one-liners or bringing them in for auditions. Some of them are good and some of them are typical actors, but when you find someone like Dylan O’Brien, who has this charisma, it is just unquantifiable that now you’ve got a star. It doesn’t surprise me. I think he’s got a huge career ahead of him. I think he will be like winning Oscars. It would not surprise me. Look at Leonardo DiCaprio who started in a TV show when he was a teenager, Growing Pains. He had that same charisma.
Colton Haynes as Jackson
AE: Shifting to Jackson, is he conscious of what he’s doing at this point? He seems to come in and out of it, but I’m just curious if he’s aware?
JD: Only at certain moments like Peter says to Derek that Jackson’s humanity is slowly disappearing underneath the reptilian skin. It is almost like there is a struggle going on inside for his humanity. It is something that comes out of comic book mythology as well, like Bruce Banner constantly trying to retain his intellect and his humanity against becoming the Hulk. It is those kinds of character paragons that I enjoy. I think it is him fighting the monster inside. He is aware sometimes but there is a point [in episode 11] where he tells Danny (Keahu Kahuanui), ‘If you see me on the field, stay away.’ He does know.
AE: Lydia (Holland Roden) was not in the ‘Fury’ episode. What can we expect from her story? It seems like maybe that has cooled off a little bit but what can you tell me about Lydia?
JD: Lydia is crucial to the finale. We’ve been building this story all along and you will see how. She is there briefly in episode eleven. We’re learning a lot about Lydia this season and how crucial she is to the finale and Jackson’s story. It is a really big plot point. It was something that was kind of funny because the actors don’t know very much about the story until they get the script. They know almost as much as the fans do so they experience the story the same way pretty much. Holland came up to me and was like, ‘Why am I not in episode ten?’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, you are very important in the plot, so be patient.’ Holland had the same questions.
Lydia (Holland Roden) is terrorized by Alpha Werewolf Peter Hale (Ian Bohen)
AE: As we race to the season finale, I can’t help as a viewer that I don’t want the season to end because it has been so awesome. For you, as the writer and creator and for your writing staff, has it been enough for you guys, or do you kind of wish there was more to the season?
JD: I think for this story, I feel like it has been just enough. There are episodes where we have to cut it down to 41 minutes and I far prefer it to be 50 minutes. I’m sitting in the editing room cutting some of my favorite lines. That is sometimes a challenge. We build these stories in three acts. The twelve-episode structure, I think, works really well for them, which is why I’m going to keep that structure for season three and split it into two twelve-episode story arcs. There are a lot of hints in this season to season three, actually. Certain things like why Jackson came out of the water in the first episode [of season two] will be answered in three. It is nice to be able to plan those things and to pay them off hopefully so you can pick. We certainly have plenty of time next season with 24 episodes.
AE: How much is your head in season three as you wrap up season two? I’m guessing quite a bit.
JD: Yeah. We have the major plot for season three already plotted out. We’re diving into work really fast, especially since production is going to be coming up sooner than later. We’re rolling full speed ahead in season three.
AE: Are we going to see any more casualties this season? We’ve already had quite a few recently in the last couple of episodes.
JD: You know I tease these sometimes, but I don’t want to say about episode twelve. There are a few really good surprises in episode twelve. I will just say that episode twelve is certainly quite bloody. As a tease, there is a big moment in episode ten where we see that Scott has been meeting with Gerard all along. There is the idea of whether he has betrayed Derek for this time. I will tease don’t count Scott’s good intentions out just yet. Which is very important for Derek, too, because in the next episode he faces off with Peter, and because of this mistrust and his own failure with his past and because of his own failure with Scott, he starts to listen to Peter. All these moments are planned in his character arc. We’re telling something of a downfall story for Derek. We’ll see if he can redeem himself by the end of the season.
Teen Wolf airs Mondays at 10pm on MTV.
Check out this exclusive clip from next Monday’s penultimate episode…