If you know nothing about Teen Wolf, here's the simple logline: Starring Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, Holland Roden, Arden Cho, and Tyler Hoechlin, the series follows the hell that breaks loose following the rise of supernatural beings in the small town of Beacon Hills. No, it's not a campy TV adaptation of the 1985 Michael J. Fox movie of the same name, nor is it just a gratuitous parade of shirtless, ripped men. Spoiler alert: it's a deeply mature and evocative MTV series that can break your heart and readjust your moral compass.
For proof of that, look no further than the storyline of Chris Argent. Played by JR Bourne, the werewolf hunter who started off as the man fans love to hate has become the show's most compassionate figure. Infamous for living by a code of protecting those who cannot protect themselves, Argent has experienced more loss than any character in the series. Not only has his fidelity to his generations-old code been tested, but he's been challenged with accepting the supernatural beings he was born to hate, even teaming alongside them for the greater good. And now, with a promisingly vicious and super-charged season four premiering tonight at 10 p.m., it's more important than ever to let down his guard.
In the midst of a whirlwind press tour to promote the hit drama, Bourne spoke to us about Argent's changes, what to expect in the upcoming episodes, and whether or not he'd like to see Chris develop his own superpowers.
How do you find people generally react to your character? Chris Argent started off as a villain, but now he’s basically the only one left in his family and it’s hard not to feel for him.
The first season, they hated me. They were not fans of Argent and what his plan was. But this is his job, this is what he does, and this is what his world is about. He's been balancing that with the love of his daughter and his family. To have him turn into this man who accepts that times have changed and he's got a daughter who's fallen in love with a werewolf, that's been an amazing journey for him. He's the only family member who stayed true to the code and at the same time he's adapting to life changes, which is what we do in real life.
Fans have embraced that switch. There's been an unbelievable out-pour of support and compassion for him. With the loss of his sister, then his wife, then his daughter, they felt the sorrow that Argent must be going through.
How is Kate coming back this season going to throw a wrench into Chris Argent’s life?
Wow. Well, he already is feeling so much anger, frustration, and vengeance, and what does he do with it? He questions whether or not to return to Beacon Hills, but when it becomes quite clear that she’s back to cause trouble, he finally returns in order to protect those that can’t protect themselves. He still supports the code. He's back to support the people that were there for his daughter and for him.
Whether he comes back with this idea that he’s going to get rid of her once and for all—that’s the initial driving force for him. It's somewhere for him to direct that anger and that hurt he has. But yeah, there's some great stuff that goes one between them.
Generally speaking, when people first heard about Teen Wolf, they thought it'd be a campy mess. But what you get is totally unexpected. It's an impressive show that deals with mature issues and teen angst in a very relatable way. What were your expectations?
I wasn’t expecting such a—in the guise of all these supernatural beings, the show deals with issues that are grounded in something truthful and authentic. I think we keep building support from our audiences because it’s going way beyond the younger demographic. I mean, we still have them and they’re wonderful, but the older demographic is starting to realize the stuff that they can relate to—what Stilinski’s going through, what Argent’s going through, what Melissa’s going through. It’s pretty amazing what our showrunner Jeff Davis does and how he makes it so that we can find comparisons in our own lives.
In the guise of all these supernatural beings, [Teen Wolf] deals with issues that are grounded in something truthful and authentic.
Would you like Chris to stay human or would you like to see him become a supernatural being?
I've thought about this. There's a part of me that knows it would be fun doing it. And if he was bit, I don’t know that Argent would follow the code and kill himself like he did with his wife. There's a stronger connection with him now and these other beings, especially with Scott, Derek, and even Lydia. And so, being turned, would he feel like he can do more fighting alongside them? There’s always gonna be these other beings, these other creatures, and even hunters that don’t follow the code and are evil, and he is just about doing what’s right, however possible. Would you like to see him turned?
I don’t know actually. Everybody’s turning.
I know, right? There’s something keeping him human as well. I like characters that have a struggle. I like characters that really have to fight against something. It isn’t simply this; it's not black and white. So I do like the idea of him also remaining human and having to navigate all of the stress and the concerns of having no supernatural powers—except being one hell of a good fighter.
What’s it like behind the scenes with the cast?
We’re all pretty dang close. We really are. We enjoy coming to work every day, we enjoy seeing one another, we all hang out outside of work as well. There are definitely days that are stressful, but that’s all part of it. There are times when you don't see a script until the day of, but I function really well in that high stakes environment.
Is there a lot of stunt training that goes into it too?
Yes. I tend to spend more time with the gun wranglers. Occasionally I get some more fun stuff to do, like that fight scene with Derek last season I love it. They definitely give a lot more to the kids, which my body is more grateful for, but I love doing it.
Do you feel like any pressure to like keep up with the other guys?
I do go to the gym five days a week. [Laughs.] There’s a little bit of “I’m not gonna get left behind here.” But I also know I’m almost twice their age, so I give myself a little bit of freedom. I don’t try to kill myself.
So, what can we expect from season four?
We’ve got this benefactor and we’ve got a Dead Pool list so it’s a little less of—we don’t have a kanima we don’t have a nogitsune, but we’ve got something a little more grounded in reality. We’ve got financial constraints, we’ve got issues that the families are all dealing with, and we’ve got this person who created a list and plans to rid Beacon Hills of all the supernatural. It’s a very stressful season, but there’s a lot of that exciting stuff happening.
Do you have any projects outside of Teen Wolf that you’re excited about?
I have a film that I’m in the works of developing right now. I’ve got a writer that’s writing a story of mine that I’ve had for quite a while and a really amazing director attached to direct it, Elgin James, who I did a movie with called Little Birds. I don’t know if we’ll have time to shoot it this year, maybe next year. But that’s something I’m very very excited about. It’s going to be a real psychological thriller. It’s close to my heart and based on real events for me.
I also have some charity work that I’m doing. My niece was born with cystic fibrosis 15 years ago, and she’s incredibly healthy and an incredible competitive dancer, so I’m going to do some events for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Stay tuned, the fans will be invited to all that stuff.
Interview by Tara Aquino (@t_akino)