NYCC ’12: Jeff Davis and Tyler Posey Talk TEEN WOLF Season 3 and Social Responsibility
Teen Wolf without a doubt has become a true sensation for both MTV and cult television. Despite having its origins rooted in an only now liked Michael J. Fox horror/comedy, the show has grown into its own. In no small way thanks to its creator/show runner Jeff Davis and star Tyler Posey.
One of the show’s greatest benefits is how hands on Jeff Davis is as a show runner, sometimes going so far as to direct reshoots or inserting his own body into an insert shot because an actor won’t or can’t. So it would lead one to logically believe the next step in that process is directing a full episode of the series. Davis stated “it all depends on the writing. If it’s done and I’m not struggling to finish I may direct an episode.”
When asked about the writing of the series and how he feels about taking control of his own character in season three, series star Tyler Posey said that he prefers to “leave Jeff to it.” Stating that Davis is one of the smartest people he knows and loves the twists and turns he creates for Scott throughout the series. Posey also made it clear that part of that fact also has to do with his wanting to take Scott in the same direction as Davis.
Posey did state however that on set there’ll be times multiple takes of a scene will be done: one of Davis’ vision for Scott’s portrayal, one of Posey’s, and often episodes will include both sides. “Mostly I have a say but I let Jeff handle it” stated Posey.
Davis took a moment during the interview to reflect on how his experience working in basic cable has differed over the last three years compared to his time with CBS on his former show, Criminal Minds. “It’s hard to say if I’ll ever go back to broadcast network TV” said Davis, “the freedom in cable is huge.” In speaking of his relationship with MTV “they really have turned into partners on the show. It’s hard to do that in network TV where you feel like they just go for a hard line drive down the middle.”
Being in its third season, the characters and actors themselves have begun to mature in different ways on screen. Said Posey, “I look back at the pilot – which wasn’t too long ago and I remember thinking “dude I was such a little kid,” it’s insane how much I’ve grown in the last two years.”
During the interview Davis addressed the fact that many of his show running brethren have began a trend of taking on more than one show at a time. “Teen Wolf is very much my world for now. Especially since I do so much of the writing” said Davis. Because of his writing process, doing so many drafts and having his voice in the show that it makes it hard for him to step away for another project. “If it were a procedural maybe I’d be more inclined to develop another show… Right now I’m just focused on making sure Teen Wolf is still A+ entertainment to its viewers.”
Often times on cable, shows will run up against a set budget. Davis, wanting to avoid this made it clear that he does the best he can to write within budget. But thanks to an attempt to expand the show in different ways, the production is going to begin utilizing green screen technology and virtual sets in the process of filming episodes “it may actually get bigger on its own, we’ll see.”
During the panel held earlier in the day, the topic of bi-sexual and gay relationships being featured on the show was discussed but taken in a more joking light by the audience and panelists. When asked seriously if Davis felt a certain sense of responsibility to create relationships like that in the show he stated “I always feel my first responsibility is to tell a great story. If we can remain socially conscience, that’s great too. It’s a balancing act because you don’t want to get into a situation where you’re suddenly preaching, and I don’t want Teen Wolf to become a show that’s constantly hammering the audience over the head with its message.”
Often times in television it’s hard for actors to go out and audition for other roles because of time and scheduling constraints. But Posey stated that at the moment he isn’t aggressively pursuing other work because he is on Teen Wolf. “If something I really, really like comes my way I’ll try really hard for it. Otherwise, eh.”
Teen Wolf has truly become a wonder for MTV. What was clear by the end of the interview with Posey and Davis is that they love their jobs but more importantly, love their audience. They get true joy out of going to work every day and proving they have what it takes to bring a high level of quality to the table.
Merrill Barr is a frequent analyzer and reviewer of television for both blogs and podcasts. A former contributor to FilmSchoolRejects.com, he currently runs the podcasts OSNAP, Operation: Nikita and Celluloid Spotlight for FatGuysAtTheMovies.com. He can be found on twitter (@sonic43), Facebook (facebook.com/merrilljbarr) and Tumblr (TheIdiotsBox.com).