Wednesday star Hunter Doohan talks Tyler's 'dark secret'
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Warning: This post contains spoilers from season 1 of Wednesday.
Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) learned the hard way that you can't trust men. After searching high and low for Nevermore's monster during Wednesday's first season, the teen sleuth discovered that it was the young man she'd just recently kissed: Tyler (Hunter Doohan).
In the end, Tyler was the Hyde, but he wasn't the only big bad. Turned out, Thornhill (Christina Ricci) had been controlling him, and together, they'd been on a killing spree.
EW spoke with the monster himself, the (not-at-all-monstrous) Hunter Doohan, about his journey on the Netflix series.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you know going into this show that you'd be the monster? How'd you find out?
HUNTER DOOHAN: I found out toward the end of the audition process, right before my final chemistry read and network test with Tim [Burton] and everyone. They told me Tyler had a dark secret, and I asked them if it was THE secret. They wouldn't reveal that but I had enough of a clue to at least try to show some colors of that in the final audition. And then after I was cast, [creators] Al [Gough] and Miles [Millar] had like an hour and a half phone call with me where they ran through everything and told me the whole story.
So how was he described initially for the audition?
There was his relationship with his father and how that was bad and also how he was kind of a reformed bully because he has this past with Xavier [Percy Hynes White] but now he's in therapy, working on that. We talked about how he becomes an unlikely ally for Wednesday. Tyler was fun to play because I feel like, even without the monster, there's a lot of conflicting sides to him.
I assume you had a chemistry read with Jenna?
Yeah, so my final chemistry read, I read with Jenna and with Percy. We never ended up shooting those scenes though, because I think, on the page even, they made Tyler look a little too suspicious.
Well I imagine that's one of the difficult things about knowing the truth. Were you overanalyzing things all season trying to make sure you didn't tip viewers off?
Yeah, I remember it's such a cool moment but I remember asking them to even take out the bathtub scene because I thought that was too suspicious. [Laughs] I was like, "I don't want anyone to know!" Because I personally hate spoilers, but it's fun to talk about it now. I've done so many interviews where I just lied my ass off and all I could say was, "I'm a barista." [Laughs]
I'm curious for your perspective on Tyler's feelings: Does he genuinely like Wednesday or was he always playing her?
I think always playing her. Maybe there's an attraction there and, he probably wouldn't admit it, but a respect for her, but he's filled with so much anger and hatred toward her and her family and all of Nevermore because of what happened to his mom. She was a Hyde and she died because Nevermore doesn't accept them and won't teach them how to control their powers, so I think Tyler's filled with a lot of rage and that's how he justifies his murdering spree.
But also, we played around with, like, the first time there's a flashback to the transformation, I think Tyler's terrified. But I read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde preparing for this and it talks about how every time he transitions, it takes over a little bit more and it happens more often and the lines between the two get blurred, so I think that's also happening. We've also never seen Tyler, now that Thornhill is dead, he doesn't have a master anymore.
Right, you could also be the big bad of a second season!
[Laughs] Yeah, the secret's out. But maybe Tyler goes to Nevermore and tries to say, "I didn't mean it." [Laughs]
Speaking of Nevermore, were you jealous of your castmates every time they got to shoot at the school?
I was so jealous. I was in like the normal town and everybody else, especially like the first month we got there, they were all going to rowing practice and archery and painting and cello and fencing and singing. I was like, "Okay, have fun guys, I'll be here."
I was a little bummed there wasn't more with you and Christina Ricci.
Yeah, there's not a lot between them. There's the scene where Gwendoline Christie is pretending to be me, which, I've only seen the first two episodes, and I'm so excited to see the transition from Tyler into the monster and to see me turn into Gwendoline Christie. [Laughs]
Were you having to check yourself in that scene? Technically, you're playing Principal Weems playing Tyler.
Yeah, because I was trying to approach it as, "What is Principal Weems' idea of how Tyler would react in this scene?" And we wanted to have a little bit of giveaway when I say "plenty" which is obviously not a response Tyler would ever give.
Were you a fan of the Addams Family before this show?
I was a fan of the '90s movies, yeah.
Addams Family Values is incredible!
Christina Ricci, Anjelica Huston, and Joan Cusack in that movie are so good! Obviously, I will never compare myself to [Joan Cusack], but to be the villain in an Addams Family project brings me a lot of joy. "Don't I deserve love ... and jewelry?!" [Laughs]
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Wednesday is available on Netflix now.
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