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“Teen Wolf” Actor Tyler Hoechlin is a Werewolf You Can “Pet and Touch”

Getting his big break at the age of 14 in director Sam Mendes‘ Road to Perdition opposite Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin is now all grown up and regularly appearing shirtless as brooding werewolf Derek Hale on the hit MTV series Teen Wolf, which thanks to stellar ratings has just been renewed for a second season.

I recently chatted up the howl-worthy hunk to discuss the pros and cons of being a lycanthrope, how Derek is like Morpheus from The Matrix, thoughts on his inevitable gay following, and what we can expect for his character going into the final stretch of season one.

AfterElton.com: Jackson in the show is desperate to become a werewolf. Since you’ve played a werewolf for awhile now, what would you say are the pros and cons of being one?

Tyler Hoechlin: Well, if I was answering for Derek, there are no cons. I think Derek loves everything about being a werewolf. … He knows how to use the powers, he knows how to control them. I think I as a person would look at it and say it would be a little troublesome, you know, when you get excited and you turn into a werewolf all the time. That would be annoying I think at a certain point. Not knowing really how to control it that well, or wanting to kill your friends – never a good thing either.

AE: And just the hair aspect can’t be fun. Being that hairy.

TH: I mean, I figure I already spend enough time shaving my face all the time. I got a good little five o’ clock shadow going. I already spend enough time trimming that. I can’t imagine the added massive sideburns, and whatever else we get that we don’t see.

AE: What is it like being in that makeup chair? How long does it take to get your werewolf makeup on?

TH: The original process … the first time or two that we did it when we were testing it and stuff … it took about five hours…[but] by the end it was about a two, two-and-a-half hour process each time we put on the full werewolf [makeup].

AE: You’ve got to have a lot of patience for that I’d imagine.

TH: Yeah, you know, you kinda come in and just eat breakfast in the chair, take a little nap, listen to some music. Anytime that we did it where Tyler Posey was also a werewolf, he made it a lot easier, because he’s very entertaining and so when he was in the chair next to me time seemed to go by faster.

AE: What’s the best part of playing Derek Hale?

TH: I love playing the dark guy. I like playing the bad guy a little bit. Derek’s not necessarily a full bad guy, but it’s fun to play the guy that’s a little bit of a mystery, that has more than one side to him. It’s definitely fun to keep people guessing. So I think especially in the next few episodes, we’ll be seeing a lot of that.

I think that’s the most fun thing for me, is it’s a character that I haven’t played before, it’s very, very far removed from who I am, which is always fun to play a character that’s not yourself. So there are a lot of things I really enjoy about playing Derek.

AE: Yeah, he’s got a bit of the “anti-hero” about him. Sort of a James Dean, brooding kind of quality, which I like.

TH: Yeah, yeah. I’m definitely a big James Dean fan, so that’s cool to hear that. But yeah, I always like to compare him to … Morpheus to Neo in Matrix, or Obi Wan to Luke in Star Wars. You know, [as far as] the relationship he has with Scott [Tyler Posey’s character], that’s how I really see him. The only thing is, with Morpheus you never had that question of like ‘well, is he gonna screw Neo over at some point?’

You knew he was kind of there to really help him. With Derek, it’s kind of a little bit of a mystery if he has some motives that maybe don’t necessarily concern Scott’s best well-being at all times.

AE: How familiar are you with the other werewolves that are currently on TV and in movies right now, and what makes Derek different from those other werewolves?

TH: You know, I think [series creator] Jeff Davis actually said it really well: in Twilight you kind of have the werewolves that you can see, but in our show you kind of have werewolves that you can actually pet and touch. So there’s a little less CGI between us and the Twilight guys. We wanted to give ours a little bit more of a humanistic feel. And I think that’s kind of really what separates us the most.

AE: What can we expect from Derek in upcoming episodes? Are there any hints that you can give us?

TH: A lot of not knowing what to expect. If anyone’s kind of felt that Derek was somewhat mysterious or not exactly sure about who he is and what his deal is, they’ll probably be more confused than ever in the next couple of episodes up until the finale. So it’s definitely going to take a turn.

AE: Are we likely to see a love interest for Derek one of these days?

TH: You know, I don’t know. I could say something right now but I could also get in trouble for it, so I don’t know if I will. I don’t know anything yet. I would hope that at some point we could add that in there. It’s always a fun element to play, but I think for right now Derek has other things that he’s more concerned with than that.

AE: For awhile there it looked like Derek was dead, so you must have been relieved to get the script where it turned out you’d survived, right?

TH: Yeah… working on the show you have the contract so you kind of know what you’re supposed to be doing for the full season. So I was not expecting that to happen in that episode, per se… I was like ‘well, alright, I guess that’s a couple extra days off.’ But yeah, it was definitely weird getting that script and not seeing the Derek name in there. But it was not so much a surprise to be back. I was excited to be back though, for sure.

AE: I have to admit that I was very skeptical going into the pilot episode, because I thought “ok, here’s a show that’s based on a cheesy ’80s movie, and it’s pitched at a younger audience…” It just didn’t seem like my thing. And then I watched it, and I was actually really pleasantly surprised at how cinematic it is. The production values are really stellar for television.

TH: It is, it’s really great. We have a lot of cinematic people working on the show as far as our cinematographer, our directors … a lot of them come from film and stuff like that. So it definitely has a really great feel, like you said, cinematically, when you see the show. We did know that the … expectations were low [and the] skepticism was high for the show. And so I think that was kind of my whole thing from the beginning, was that I had a strong feeling people would be pleasantly surprised.

AE: Your character and Tyler Posey’s character are both shirtless quite a bit in the show, so it makes it inevitable that you’ll acquire something of a gay following. Is that something you kind of expected going into it?

TH: I don’t know if it was expected or unexpected. I think really my main concern was doing a show, really just go in and find a character and give that character life and allow people to believe in it. You know, whoever follows the show, that’s awesome. I love anybody that follows the show, and to have people following like that… I guess it was something that never really kind of crossed my mind. I think Jeff may have brought it up to Dylan a couple times, I’m not sure why. [laughs]

AE: It would just seem weird to me to be on a show to sort of think about, “Oh, I’m pinned up on somebody’s wall right now with my naked torso showing.”

TH: It’s something that I think is kind of like an afterthought. … I think it’d be different if you were to do like a Twilight sequel … and already kind of have seen what the first one has done and what it’s kind of become. But with the first season of a show, you’re kind of going in … there’s no way of knowing what it’s gonna be. The focus then really is just so much on ‘what can we do to make this the best show that we can?’ All that stuff is kind of the afterthought. Everything’s kind of hitting us now that the show’s kind of become what it is.

AE: Have you been accosted on the street by any fans of the show yet?

TH: Nothing too crazy yet. I’m gonna assume that Tyler Posey’s getting the brunt of that.

AE: Well, I think you should prepare yourself.

TH: [laughs]

AE: Speaking on your film projects, you did a David Decoteau movie, and I hear you got killed by a bear in that film.

TH: Oh my gosh, yeah. Yeah, that one!

AE: You just can’t seem to avoid dangerous animals, can you?

TH: I guess not.

AE: I didn’t realize that you were the kid in Road to Perdition.

TH: Ten years ago now.

AE: It’s such a great film. Are you hoping to do films while the show is on hiatus, and have you found that the show’s been kind of opening up opportunities for you to do more films?

TH: Yeah, I definitely think it’s always nice to have a following and have people that know who you are already, and would like to come see you in something else. So right now we’re looking for the right project. I’ve been crazy busy promoting the show. I just got back from Comic-Con.

AE: And how was your experience at Comic-Con? Was that fun for you, was it stressful?

TH: It was a blast. It was a lot of fun. This is our second year. Last year we did it and no one really knew who we were, and we were kind of begging people to come to our panel, and this year we actually had to turn away as many people as we let in. So we’ve been told that we’ll have a bigger room next year as long as we’re back. So yeah, anybody that was at Comic-Con that wants to see us again and maybe missed us, just make sure that we have a season three and we will be there.

Source: The Backlot

Who is Tyler Hoechlin?
Tyler Lee Hoechlin, born September 11, 1987 is an American actor who got his big break starring as Tom Hanks' son in the film Road to Perdition (2002). For television he is known for playing the role of Martin Brewer on 7th Heaven and the role of Derek Hale on the MTV series Teen Wolf.
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