In four seasons, Teen Wolf has morphed from a guilty pleasure into a bloody thrill ride, making teen-scene royalty out of leads Tyler Posey (as titular teen wolf Scott McCall) and Dylan O’Brien (as his trusted friend Stiles). Offscreen, the 22-year-old actors are real-life pals who display an easy rapport despite some philosophical differences on things like sports and tattoos.
EW visited the show’s Los Angeles set recently for scoop on the sexiest, scariest, most bonkers show on MTV. Check out the extended interview below:
EW: This year, you premiered the season while still working on it. Did that throw you off to watch the premiere then come to work?
TYLER POSEY: It caught me completely off guard. We never really had a season start filming as we’re shooting it. It’s hard to be focused on both, but it’s exciting. The next day, I’ll always wake up to a text from Dylan like, ‘The episode was great, you kicked ass.'”
DYLAN O’BRIEN: I watched it at like 3:30 in the morning.
Is that your preferred viewing experience?
O’BRIEN: Sometimes that’s how it has to be. We used to do viewing parties all the time. This is something we’re not used to, how the show just comes out while we’re working. But I was stoked to go home and watch the episode. I had adrenaline.
As you near the end of season four, do you ever think back to how much Teen Wolf has changed since that first year?
POSEY: All the time. So much of this show is Dylan and me and our relationship, and the thing that blows my mind is how young I felt when we first started hanging out.
O’BRIEN: And at such a transitional point in our lives, too. We were 18, and it’s only been four years, but I feel like for us that’s a lot longer of a four years than for anyone else.
POSEY: We’ve gone through some really cool stuff with each other.
Do you remember the screen test?
POSEY: That’s where we first really hit it off.
O’BRIEN: I’ll never forget that.
What was your first impression of each other?
POSEY: You go first.
O’BRIEN: Well, the first thing I remember about Tyler… He walked in and asked immediately where the bathroom was. And I remember just thinking, “Wow, he’s really comfortable. That’s so badass.” And then we started talking immediately, because the test was a disaster. It took seven and a half hours.
POSEY: It took a long time.
O’BRIEN: And at one point, they let us go across the street to have lunch because they were still working things out.
Was it just the two of you all seven hours?
POSEY: We never actually auditioned with each other.
O’BRIEN: We never even went in the room together. I didn’t go in the room with anyone.
POSEY: That’s because they knew. They knew, this guy, right here.
Tyler, what was your first impression of Dylan?
POSEY: At this point, I [had been] acting for, like, 12 years, and I never really liked going to auditions because the kids were lame. When I saw Dylan, he had on a DVS shirt, which is a skateboard company, and I grew up skateboarding. I immediately thought, “Okay, this dude seems cool.” And then, I don’t remember how we started talking…
O’BRIEN: We talked about our bands.
POSEY: Oh, right! We were both in bands.
What were your bands named?
POSEY: Lost in Kostco. And our bands are so similar.
O’BRIEN: Mine was Slow Kids at Play, and we had, like, pop-punk elements but more of the beachy, reggae vibe.
POSEY: And you had some badass hardcore breakdowns. I was just listening to some Slow Kids the other day.
Do you wish you were still doing music?
O’BRIEN: Of course. It was one of the most depressing days when I wasn’t in the band anymore. Because I just literally don’t have time.
POSEY: But I think we’re both so musically inclined that it’s going to be in our lives one way or another. We should do something.
O’BRIEN: I miss playing shows. Anonymously playing shows, too.
POSEY: I think we should play a show. It’d be fun.
You both did Funny or Die videos, and I feel like there’s untapped duo power with you. Have you considered producing your own stuff after Teen Wolf?
POSEY: We talk about this all the time.
O’BRIEN: With the show being on air, though, we would always have to be careful with the content we put out, in a way.
POSEY: We just need to start filming ourselves on set. That would be gold. I think we’re funny. I enjoy us.
Okay, so back to Teen Wolf. What should people know about Teen Wolf that they don’t? It’s been called the new Buffy.
POSEY: That’s a really good comparison in the tone and the look, but it’s also got a lot more heart. We’re given some crazy scenarios but we do our best to make them real. I think a lot of people can relate to the show. It really does deal with relatable things. Your boyfriend turns into a werewolf…how many times has that happened to me?
O’BRIEN: So many. You always get stuck with that.
O’BRIEN: The show is not what people would expect at all. There has to be such a stigma when you hear the name and what it is and the network it’s on. People don’t immediately give it a chance. They hear Teen Wolf, and it’s like, “Oh, that movie from the ’80s!”
Which is crazy, since the show has basically nothing to do with the movie at this point.
O’BRIEN: We’ve always known there’s something really special about it. It deals with relevant things but also fantastical adventures, and it can be really dark and really funny, but it’s always got heart. I just think that no one would expect any of that just by hearing it.
POSEY: I think people are afraid to like it. If they actually check it out, it’s really entertaining.
O’BRIEN: I sometimes wonder what I would think of it, if I would give it the chance. I get it. And it’s really aware of itself, too. It’s important to have a sense of humor that makes it easier to believe in the world you’re watching. We’re very aware of the fact that we are a teen werewolf show.
Dylan, are you happy that you don’t play a werewolf?
O’BRIEN: Always. I love the character that I play, and I understand my role and I love it, and there are also times where, yeah, I’d love to be a werewolf, but sometimes it’s way more awesome when I see these guys having to put on makeup for an hour and a half.
[At this point, O’Brien accidentally lets slip a spoiler.]
POSEY: Oh my God. I can’t believe you just said that!
O’BRIEN: Dude, we’re not allowed to say anything!
POSEY: I sometimes just literally don’t even say anything.
Who is more likely to crack under pressure and spill a secret?
O’BRIEN: Well, clearly…
NEXT: “I was like, that’s not Dylan! He wouldn’t shave that!”
Who is more likely to forget the name of a demon?
O’BRIEN: I can never remember the names of things.
POSEY: We’ve spent a lot of time defeating those demons, I think we know them in the back of our heads.
Between the two of you, who has had the weirder fan interaction?
POSEY: I’m sure you do.
O’BRIEN: I don’t know if I can say this. It’s inappropriate. But it’s pretty funny. I just got it at an autograph signing. They hand you notes and letters and portraits, photo books, little bracelets—all kinds of amazing stuff. But I got an envelope, and the first things that dropped out were two condoms that said something… graphic on them.
POSEY: We also get a lot of dolls.
O’BRIEN: Okay, that’s the direction we’re going in!? That’s not weird interaction!
Is there anything you would want to take when the show ends?
POSEY: I want to take Scott’s motorcycle.
O’BRIEN: The Jeep.
I don’t think you can just take those, guys.
POSEY: They’re just going to disappear one day.
O’BRIEN: The Jeep would be a lot to take care of. The car needs to be rebuilt from scratch.
POSEY: I’ll help you. We’ll get bloody and dirty!
Has there been any trivia about you online that you’d like to clear up?
O’BRIEN: There are a bunch of pictures that I always see that are just completely Photoshopped. They’ve been around for years. Just me on different people’s more ripped bodies.
POSEY: I think I saw one the other day. Where you’re like this? [Posey leans one arm back, all sexy-like.]
POSEY: I saw it! And I was like, that’s not Dylan! He wouldn’t shave that!
O’BRIEN: That’s so not me! And sometimes random rumors start and you don’t even know how. Like a couple weeks ago fans thought I buzzed my hair, just because a picture from four years ago surfaced. And there was a celebration. A hashtag was going around.
POSEY: I started the rumor.
O’BRIEN: That’d be so funny if you were behind all this.
POSEY: Every single thing.
Dylan, you’re about to headline The Maze Runner. Are you nervous about what’s to come?
O’BRIEN: If you want to get down to it, this would turn into a therapy session. But I’m really proud of it, and I poured my life into it, and hopefully I’m going to do it for another few years. I’m really excited for people to see it.
The two of you are so recognizable now—do you think you could crash a screening?
POSEY: Oh dude, disguises do not work anymore.
O’BRIEN: Unless you have a mask.
POSEY: I’ve grown a beard and that doesn’t work. I’ve worn hats, and that doesn’t work.
O’BRIEN: Shailene Woodley wore a hat to The Fault in Our Stars, right?
POSEY: I feel like she’s so recognizable. I mean, should we crash a screening?
O’BRIEN: We would literally be the two dudes in trenchcoats and hats and sunglasses.
What is one interest the other has that you just don’t understand?
POSEY: I mean, he’s really into sports. I want to understand them—I want to be into sports.
O’BRIEN: I actually genuinely don’t understand how tattoos work. He always tries to explain them to me, and I keep confirming with him and he’ll be like, ‘No, no,’ and he’ll start over again. Like, do they sew it in?
Would you get a Teen Wolf tattoo, Tyler?
POSEY: I love Teen Wolf. It’s done monstrous things for me and my career and my life. I’ve thought about it, but I don’t think I’d ever get a Teen Wolf tattoo, and I don’t know why.
O’BRIEN: You could draw the most microscopic S.
POSEY: S + S equals heart. Stiles + Scott.
O’BRIEN: And they would… iron it in?
POSEY: Yeah, you got an iron?
O’BRIEN: Really?! Oh. I thought you were confirming that burning it in is how it works.
So I’m here on set. What are the rules of the Teen Wolf set I need to know?
O’BRIEN: Be quiet.
POSEY: Definitely true. When they say action, don’t do shit. And then when they say cut, make all the noise you want. But also have fun. Touch things!
What is your mother’s favorite thing about the other person?
O’BRIEN: My mom’s always had the exact same opinion I’ve had about Tyler. She’s always just like, “Tyler’s so sweet! He’s so funny.”
POSEY: It’s the same thing with my mom. She loves Dylan because she knows how much I love him.
O’BRIEN: We should start spending time with each other’s moms.
POSEY: When I was younger, I would hang out with my friends’ parents all the time.
O’BRIEN: You know your friends’ parents when you’re kids, but not anymore.
POSEY: We got a lot of years to work on that, buddy. This ain’t over yet!
A version of this article appeared in the Aug. 22/29 issue of Entertainment Weekly.