Teen Wolf Star: MTV Series Is 'Much Darker' Than the Michael J. Fox Movie

This Sunday marks the premiere of MTV’s buzzy reboot of the 1985 Michael J. Fox starrer about a puberty-riddled werewolf trying to make it in the cutthroat world of high school. But be forewarned: This is not your parents’ (or older cousins’) Teen Wolf.

“We’re nothing like the film,” Tyler Hoechlin (who plays Derek, the series’ big, baddish you-know-what) tells TVLine.

“The movie was this great campy comedy and a cult classic, but our show is much darker,” he continues.

Here’s what else Hoechlin (Road to Perdition, 7th Heaven) has to say about MTV’s fun new summer fare, plus check out the first eight minutes of the Teen Wolf premiere:

TVLINE | For fans with no prior knowledge of the Teen Wolf movie, or those who just aren’t familiar with the new series, how would you describe it?
It’s a gritty, horror genre series with a little “Romeo and Juliet” action thrown in. We still have a comedy element, but it certainly doesn’t make up the whole show. There’s a little bit of everything, and that’s what makes the show so great. It’s also not pinpointed to one demographic age-wise, so there’s something for everyone.

TVLINE | Would you say that, similarly to other supernatural series on today, the werewolves are technically “good guys” or someone fans can cheer on?
I don’t know if you can compare these werewolves to “good guys,” but there’s nothing really malicious about them. However, there is a level control that they have to learn. Scott (the main character, played by Tyler Posey) is learning how to control the impulse to kill people because he’s a newly bitten werewolf, so he can be very violent. Derek is teaching him how to use the wolf for all of its benefits and to not allow it to become a detriment to him.

TVLINE | Talk a little more about your character, Derek. When we first meet him, he’s so stoic and seems like he might be evil, but ultimately he comes around.
I like to compare him to Morpheus from The Matrix. He and Scott have that master/apprentice relationship, so I see him staying stoic in that sense. But not too much is as it seems with Derek. There’s a lot of mystery to him, particularly when it comes to what he’s been through and what he’s working towards at this point. It’s very much a back-and-forth as to which side he’s on throughout the first season. At the moment, he’s definitely using everyone and everything to his advantage, which it’s necessary.

TVLINE | Teen Wolf is pretty action-heavy, especially when it comes to Scott and Derek’s scenes. Being an athlete yourself, how did you approach all of those stunts?
Anytime I get a chance to do a stunt, I’m excited! I am a former athlete, and still do consider myself one, so I love anything physical. I actually begged and pleaded with the crew to let me do as much as they could allow me to, so they’d let me try something small and once that was OK I’d do something a little bit bigger. By the end, I was able to try everything at least once, and then we would have the stunt team come in and make it look a little bit better. [Laughs]

TVLINE | So, while there are some special effects to note, it’s mainly you guys out there throwing yourselves around?
Surprisingly, there aren’t too many special effects on the series. There are a few things here or there, but pretty much everything you see is happening on set. Our stunt team was amazing, and about 99.9 percent of what you see is real.

TVLINE | Would you say there is one overlying arc that carries through the first season?
There are so many arcs. We’re really giving each character its own storyline, which is interesting for the audience because you’re not just getting locked in to one arc. In fact, Scott really has conflict and plot going on with every person he interacts with, so it’s interesting to watch.

Now take a peek at the first eight minutes of Teen Wolf’s two-part premiere, which airs this Sunday at 11/10c, immediately after the MTV Movie Awards, before the series settles into its regular Mondays-at-10 slot.