Although named for the 1985 film starring Michael J. Fox, the MTV series TEEN WOLF, now in its third season, bears little resemblance beyond its title. Developed for television by executive producer Jeff Davis, TEEN WOLF chronicles the perilous adventures of high school student and new werewolf Scott McCall (Tyler Posey), his girlfriend Alison Argent (Crystal Reed) who comes from a long line of werewolf hunters, Scott’s best friend (and sheriff’s son) Stiles (Dylan O’Brien), alpha werewolf Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin) and their allies and enemies.
TEEN WOLF’s directing executive producer Russell Mulcahy (also known for the first HIGHLANDER film, among many other credits) and Tim Andrew, who has directed almost as many TEEN WOLF episodes as Mulcahy at this point, are both in attendance at a party thrown by the Directors Guild of America for the Television Critics Association press tour. Both men are out on the eighth-floor patio of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, happy to talk about their experiences depicting adolescent lycanthropy.
ASSIGNMENT X: Did you expect TEEN WOLF to be as successful as it’s become?
RUSSELL MULCAHY: We had a great pilot, we had a great script. Jeff Davis is magical in creating worlds. He and I, we did this pilot, we knew we had some magic on our hands and MTV obviously knew that too when they saw it. So we jumped into Season 1, which led to a Season 2, and I think what we all love about TEEN WOLF is that it’s a universe that can grow. And in Season 3 and more in [the second half of Season 3], it expands its roots, it expands its branches, it expands its surprises and dramas and its universe, basically. And we’re definitely going in a darker direction.
AX: Without giving away plot points, can you explain what you mean by “darker”? You mean like TRUE BLOOD darker or BREAKING BAD darker?
MULCAHY: [laughs] It’s not BREAKING BAD dark. I don’t think anything could be darker than BREAKING BAD – we love that show. There are some creepy, creepy scenes.
TIM ANDREW: I don’t know if it’s “darker,” but it’s very Shakespearean and epic. I thought Season 2 was very epic in scale. The stakes are always very high – life and death, love and loss.
AX: In this season, Season 3, who came up with the way the two-in-one twin Alpha werewolves operate?
MULCAHY: Jeff Davis came up with the concept and then we sat down with John Gross of Eden Effects, who do our CG work, and also Rob [Hall] from Almost Human, who do the prosthetics. We all just had a huge think thank about how are they [the twins] going to join, how quick it’s going to be and what the whole process is going to be, because in these shows, there are no rules. Some people say, “Would someone be doing that?” and we say, “Hang on, we’re doing a show about werewolves running around the forest.” So basically in our world, we can bend our universe a little bit.
AX: Are we going to be seeing any creatures other than werewolves coming up?
MULCAHY: I can’t really be specific. All I can say is, you’re in for a hell of a ride, for big surprises.
AX: TEEN WOLF has shifted its base of production operations …
MULCAHY: We used to shoot TEEN WOLF in Atlanta; we’re shooting this season in California. It’s nice to go home at night.
AX: Why did you move from Georgia to Los Angeles?
MULCAHY: Many reasons. Atlanta was a wonderful, extraordinary place to shoot and I would shoot in Atlanta any time, because the crews are fantastic people and the landscape served us so well. But I think doing twelve one-hour shows, you’re away from home for six months and it takes its toll after awhile, so people [wanted to see] their families. And the crews here [in Los Angeles] are extraordinary as well.
AX: The directing producer sets the directorial tone for a series. How does one impart directorial style to another director? Can you both talk about that from the giving and receiving sides?
ANDREW: Russell, start [laughs].
MULCAHY: [laughs] I think we both have our different styles and I think that’s what gives the show its freshness, and I think it also keeps both of us on our toes in a way.
ANDREW: I often steal shots from you. I watch your episodes and say, “That’s cool, I’m going to do that now.”
MULCAHY: [laughs] And vice-versa. But listen, we’ve been doing this for three seasons now. And in any one show, because we only have seven-and-a-half days to shoot a one-hour episode, we will actually take some scenes from other episodes, each other’s episodes, and hope we didn’t screw the other guy up too much [laughs].
ANDREW: We help each other out.
MULCAHY: Yeah. It really is – Tim and I and everyone involved in the show, it’s basically “Team Wolf.”
ANDREW: That’s good, yes.
MULCAHY: Because it’s a collaborative effort. Everyone’s in the pool, and everyone’s helping everyone stay afloat.
AX: And how are you enjoying the Comic-Con reaction? Are you rock stars now?
MULCAHY: Well, we were actually shooting when Comic-Con was happening.
ANDREW: That’s a big inconvenience, when you lose the actors.
MULCAHY: So we were shooting other scenes while the [lead] actors were getting their clothes ripped off at Comic-Con [laughs]. But I hear it went very well.
ANDREW: Yes, it’s fantastic. We can judge their success by the fact they had a much bigger room this year than last year.
MULCAHY: Yeah. I think this year was the first time they were in [Hall H] and it was packed. So it shows the fan base of TEEN WOLF is really growing. It’s funny, when we watch the shows, we usually get together on Monday nights. Now we usually get together on Sunday nights to watch the show [on DVD rather than telecast] with the cast and the crew. It’s amazing watching the Tweets come through as the show is live and on air. Well, actually [the Tweets from] New York City are a little bit beforehand and watching the Tweets come through – the social networking on the show is quite extraordinary. We used to watch it on the Monday nights, but now we’re shooting, so we can’t watch it on the Monday night, because we get up at 4 AM in the morning. But normally, we would watch it on the Monday night and we’d get the Tweets from New York and across the country.
AX: Now, do you guys direct at all to address some of the Internet memes for the show? For example, on the Internet, there are a lot of people who like to see, say, Derek and Stiles hugging. Do you guys have them hug more now?
MULCAHY: I don’t. I personally don’t read much of that.
ANDREW: Jeff’s aware of that stuff and in terms of that, he would write, when he would read things like that, so then I got a scene one time where Stiles is paralyzed and then Derek is paralyzed, too, and he falls on Derek and he’ll write moments like that just to tease.
AX: So there’s an awareness of what some of the Internet fans are talking about and an occasional sort of, “Okay, here you go”?
MULCAHY: Yes. But I think the general rule and feeling that Jeff really wants to put across is that TEEN WOLF – the world of TEEN WOLF, it’s a world of equality and openness and acceptance – and lots of scary things [laughs].
AX: Now, are any of the actors feeling more strongly about the characters and coming to you and saying, “I think he’d really do it that way …”?
ANDREW: You know, they do feel possessive about their characters, as they should, but nobody knows them better than Jeff, and if there’s ever a debate, Jeff is always …
MULCAHY: Yeah, whenever we’re in doubt, we just call Jeff [laughs].
ANDREW: Also, we don’t know what’s coming, so there’s like, “Jeff, I know this line is important, but what does this set up in the future?” And he just spoon-feeds you just enough information – it’s on a need-to-know basis.
MULCAHY: Yes. He keeps us on tenterhooks – we just know a little bit more than the audience [laughs].
AX: In the first three seasons, in what we’ve seen so far, do you have favorite episodes, favorite scenes, favorite story arcs?
ANDREW: I like all the nightmare sequences. I always find those fun – all the hallucinations. I did an episode with Lydia’s birthday party. I enjoyed that. All that stuff is fun, because it’s crazy, unusual stuff you wouldn’t normally get to do, nightmares.
MULCAHY: Yes. There’s one coming up I think that’s one of my favorite scenes. But I actually liked the one where Stiles was putting ash around the rave club and he had that notion of saying to himself, “Just believe.” He had a little pile of ash left and he still had about a hundred feet to go to put a circle of ash around the rave party to keep the creature inside, and he just used his willpower to close the gap, and I find those semi-spiritual moments positive – not that I’m a spiritual person.
AX: Are either of you involved in other projects? Mr. Mulcahy, you wrote and produced BAIT, an Australian film that was released here last year, about Great White sharks in a flooded supermarket.
MULCAHY: Right. I wrote that and I was going to direct it, but I ended up just writing and producing because TEEN WOLF got picked up. I was down there in Australia and building the tiger shark and then I came and we started TEEN WOLF, it got picked up and we started Season 1 and Kimble Randall directed the movie and did a great job. I was a little surprised when I watched the movie and saw the film and they said, “Oh, my God, this is a Great White shark in the water.” I went, “What? They repainted it? Oh, my God.” [to Andrew] You also do episodes of SUPERNATURAL.
AX: How is that going?
ANDREW: Very well, thank you. They’re going for Season 9 and that’s phenomenal. I saw the first episode on TV and I said, “That’s a fantastic new show.” When the mother of the two main characters was sucked up onto the ceiling and she was consumed by flames –
MULCAHY: That’s always good.
ANDREW: I said, “Wow, I want to do that show!” And then eight seasons later, I managed to get on the show.
AX: Can you talk about the tonal differences between SUPERNATURAL and TEEN WOLF?
ANDREW: On TEEN WOLF, the corpses are prettier.
MULCAHY: Yeah. [laughs] Each show has its own look. HANNIBAL – again, great, grew show – has its own look. TEEN WOLF has its own look. SUPERNATURAL. So I think we have our palette. When we do sets, we say, “Our sets are in a certain palette.” And we try to stick with that.
AX: Do you have any other projects?
MULCAHY: I’m working on a horror thriller, writing it, and I hope that I can squeeze that in between this season and the next season [of TEEN WOLF].
AX: So you’re confident there will be a next season?
MULCAHY: Yeah, fingers crossed. I think the show delivers and this season, there are going to be a lot of surprises that keep the audience on chewing their fingernails and on their toes.
ANDREW: On TEEN WOLF, there should be another season, because I think Jeff is probably the best writer out there, don’t you think?
MULCAHY: Yeah. Jeff is TEEN WOLF. The magic that comes out of that guy’s brain just floors me sometimes and he’s got so many great ideas and notions that can expand into the next season, it deserves to go another season.
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Article Source:Assignment X
Article: Exclusive interview with TEEN WOLF directors Russell Mulcahy and Tim Andrew