All the Secrets Behind the Cult Classic, Teen Wolf

Nothing says nostalgia like Michael J. Fox’s hairiest movie, Teen Wolf. The plot follows your ordinary high school kid who finds out he is a werewolf. What’s not to love? When the film was released on August 23, 1995, it was a surprise success grossing $33 million worldwide (which is a lot when adjusted for inflation). However, that was pocket change compared to Back to the Future, also starring Fox, which came out a month before and brought in $381 million internationally.

Michael J. Fox as a wolf / Mark Arnold / Cast members / Michael J. Fox staring in the mirror.
Source: Moviestillsdb/Copyright: Atlantic Entertainment Group

Needless to say, the coming-of-age drama has become a cult classic, and teen fantasies are still popular among young adults. Teen Wolf paved the way for werewolf shows, vampire movies, and other on-screen projects that create a fictional world combined with real life. Here are some behind-the-scenes secrets about Teen Wolf. Plus, we added a few facts about the 2011’s reboot series!

Teen Wolf Happened Because of Valley Girl

Atlantic Entertainment Group was in search of their own high school movie after noticing that Valley Girl was an inexpensively produced movie that made a huge profit. Recent graduates of Columbia film school, Jeph Loeb and Matthew Weisman needed just 10 to 15 minutes to successfully pitch Teen Wolf.

Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman in Valley Girl.
Source: Moviestillsdb/Copyright: Atlantic Entertainment Group

They had just three weeks to write the script in order for Michael J. Fox to approve it. At the time, Fox was busy working on Family Ties and Back to the Future, which had just premiered about six months before.

Michael J. Fox Became Famous During the Film’s Production

Contrary to popular belief, Teen Wolf wasn’t the first high school teenage werewolf movie. I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), and Full Moon High (1981) beat Teen Wolf to the punch. But Teen Wolf was definitely the most successful.

Michael J. Fox looking at himself in the mirror in Teen Wolf.
Source: Moviestillsdb/Copyright: Atlantic Entertainment Group

Throughout the filming of the movie, NBC moved Family Ties to a Thursday night-time slot, boosting it from the 17th most-watched series in the country to number 2! After that, Fox became a superstar and household name. At that point, it was harder to shoot scenes because female extras screamed and swooned every time the actor walked out the door.

There Is a Deeper Meaning

Rod Daniel was chosen to direct Teen Wolf because he understood that the movie was about more than just your average teenage werewolf. While several directorial candidates told Fox the movie was about a werewolf, Rod Daniel saw past the trivial plot and grasped the essence of the story.

Michael J. Fox and his onscreen dad, James Hampton, talking in the kitchen.
Source: MGM

He told Fox that he thought the movie was actually about a father and a son relationship. As a matter of fact, Rod’s son Lucas later expressed how he had a wonderful childhood because his dad worked out his own daddy issues by directing Teen Wolf.

James Hampton’s Audition and Why You Recognize Rhonda

Originally, James Hampton auditioned to play Coach Finstock in the teen series. After reading for the role of the coach, Fox asked Hampton to also read for the part of the father. The actor may have regretted that decision since the werewolf makeup took four hours to apply and made him feel claustrophobic.

James Hampton in Teen Wolf.
Source: YouTube 

Some viewers were a bit too familiar with the actress who portrayed Rhonda. In July 1982, Lynda Wiesmeier was Playboy’s “Playmate of the Month.” She also had a role in Real Genius, which came out just weeks before Teen Wolf.

An NFL Player Changed His Name in Honor of the Movie

You know what they say, that art imitates life… or is it that life imitates art? Either way, the famous van surfing scene in Teen Wolf was based on something one of the writers used to do in college: “urban surfing.” Jerry Levine, who played Stiles, was literally on top of the van, secured with just a wire.

Jerry Levine wearing his iconic black T-shirt.
Source: Twitter

After Teen Wolf was released, an NFL player decided to legally change his name to Stylez. Tampa Bay defensive end Greg White legally changed his name to Stylez White because he was so obsessed with the Teen Wolf character.

Mark Arnold Was Killed Off His Show, and Fox Wouldn’t Change His Outfit

In order to promote Teen Wolf, Mark Arnold had to be killed off his soap opera. The actor is known for playing Joe Perkins in Santa Barbara after filming Teen Wolf. Since his contract on the show was expiring anyway, he wanted to make himself available to promote the movie when it came out. The producers chose to have his character get shot and fall out of a window.

Mark Arnold wearing a suit in the film’s dance scene.
Source: Pinterest

Originally, the studio pictured Michael J. Fox’s character with the same fashion taste as Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Fox was perfectly satisfied with the clothes Scott Howard was working with and wouldn’t even discuss changing his outfits.

Sports Are Not Fox’s Forte

It turns out that Michael J. Fox was pretty bad at basketball. Even after weeks of practicing basketball and getting coached, Fox wasn’t exactly a gifted athlete. He clearly has other remarkable talents, but sports don’t seem to be one of them.

Michael J. Fox’s character playing basketball.
Source: Twitter

However, Jeff Glosser, Loyola Marymount’s sophomore basketball player, was a naturally skilled player. Since he made it look so easy, the athlete was hired as Fox’s hoop double. Initially, they misspelled his name in the credits, but Fox went ahead and made sure that careless error was corrected.

Where Was Teen Wolf Filmed?

It took years for someone to point out the naughty extra who would expose himself on camera. I don’t know how it got past editing and how no one involved with production noticed the dirty man at the game who briefly whipped it out until decades later when it was mentioned on VH1.

Tony’s Liquor Store.
Source: MGM 

Scott Howard was meant to appear on The Tonight Show. That’s right, the only scene in the movie that was never filmed was one in which the teen wolf would go have an interview with Johnny Carson. Daniel ultimately decided to keep the movie exclusively set in Nebraska (although the whole thing was filmed in California).

Capitalizing on the Success of Fox’s Back to the Future

Italy and Brazil shamelessly used Michael J. Fox’s Back to the Future fame in order to promote Teen Wolf. In Italy, Scott’s name was changed to Marty. You know, the Back to the Future character Marty McFly. Brazil, on the other, hand decided to retitle the movie O Garoto do Futuro, which literally translates to The Boy of the Future.

Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future.
Source: Moviestillsdb/Copyright: Universal Studios

As you probably know, there is absolutely no time travel in Teen Wolf! This sounds like the original click bait. During its opening weekend in the United States, Teen Wolf came in second. Back to the Future was the only movie that made more money (although Back to the Future was out for eight weeks by then).

Even the Filmmakers Expected Teen Wolf to Flop

The writers and director of Teen Wolf didn’t have much faith in the movie. They assumed that it would fail at the box office. They ended up bringing in an astonishing $33 million (in 1985 money). But during the afternoon screening on opening day, Loeb, Weisman, and Daniel went, and only four other people showed up.

Michael J. Fox looking as a wolf looking at the camera with solemn eyes.
Source: Moviestillsdb/Copyright: Atlantic Entertainment Group

After a depressing dinner, the trio headed to Westwood, a “college town,” for the 7:30 showing of Teen Wolf only to find out it was sold out. Most people would be disappointed if there were no tickets for a movie they want to see. But of course, the filmmakers were thrilled.

Both of Fox’s 1985 Hits Were Filmed on the Same Street

Here is another association between Teen Wolf and Back to the Future. Both of these Michael J. Fox movies were filmed on the same street. Yep, high school student turned werewolf Scott Howard (Fox) was shot on the same street at Marty McFly’s house in Back to the Future, as shown in the flashback scenes.

The Howards’ house in Teen Wolf.
Source: Twitter

That street was certainly a good luck charm for Fox’s acting career. It looks like Fox’s breakout movie roles took place in the same universe! I guess anything is possible when you combine werewolves and time travel.

They Weren’t Really Teenagers: Shocking

None of the main characters in the movie were actually teenagers, but is that really surprising? Because of child labor laws and the desire to create adultlike content, it’s not uncommon for adults to portray teenagers on television. It seems that adults play high schoolers more than actual teenagers do.

Teen Wolf’s cast members standing beside each other.
Source: Moviestillsdb/Copyright: Atlantic Entertainment Group

During filming, Michael J. Fox was 23, Jerry Levine (Stiles) was 27, Mark Holton (Chubby) was 26, and the movie’s villain, Mick, was portrayed by 27-year-old Mark Arnold. If you’re a teenage actor who expects to play one on television, your best bet is The Disney Channel, where child characters tend to be played by child stars.

A Hectic Filming Schedule

Teen Wolf was pretty much an afterthought for Michael J. Fox and its distributor, Atlantic Releasing Corporatio©n. The frighteningly hilarious teen comedy began shooting in 1984, during a break from Fox’s silver screen hit, Family Ties. To make things more hectic, Teen Wolf was shot in just three weeks.

Michael J. Fox at an All-Star Party for 1985’s Summer TCA Press Tour.
Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

During Fox’s break from Family Ties, the network gave the series a better time slot, and Fox suddenly became a household name. Before that, the actor was no A-lister. This basically means that Fox was relatively unknown when he started filming Teen Wolf and was a huge star when he finished. Then he rose to even higher thanks to Back to the Future.

Teen Wolf, the Series

Teen Wolf is definitely one of those classic films which have become a guilty pleasure for those of a certain age. It’s one of those movies you put on when you are having a bad day or just want to escape reality for a little bit.

The cast of the 2011 version of Teen Wolf.
Source: Moviestillsdb/Copyrightp: MTV Production Development

In 2011, a whole new generation got to enjoy the fantasy of a teenage werewolf when the Teen Wolf series came out. But fans were surprised at how different it was from the beloved ‘80s film of the same name.

Vampires and Werewolves

Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the show used the premise of the movie that inspired it but created brand new storylines. The Teen Wolf series actually has a lot in common with Buffy the Vampire Slayer: both used literal demon metaphors for symbolic ones. Both also had ever-expanding mythologies, and the shows had much darker themes than the movies that preceded them.

Tyler Posey showing his fangs in 2011’s Teen Wolf.
Source: MovieStillsdb/ Copyright: MTV Production Development

Some people believe that vampires and werewolves are part of the same mythical universe, so it makes sense that people draw comparisons between these two fictional shows, both of which are insanely popular among teens.

How Many Seasons of Teen Wolf?

The Teen Wolf series lasted an impressive six seasons and has become MTV’s first-ever bonafide hit when it comes to scripted television shows. Although at times it’s overlooked and underrated, Teen Wolf paved a unique path for itself.

Tyler Posey, Holland Roden and Crystal Reed sitting in a classroom.
Source: MovieStillsdb/ Copyright: MTV Production Development

The story begins with two dorky but lovable teenage friends who, on top of all that high school stuff, have to deal with supernatural threats. But with time, those kids become an ensemble piece, and the problems this “pack” had to face rose to epic proportions. It literally has everything you need for a successful show.

What You Don’t Know

With drama, action, fantasy, and a good-looking cast, it’s not much of a shock that the rebooted Teen Wolf show became a massive hit. Starring Dylan O’Brien, Tyler Posey, and Tyler Hoechlin, the casting directors certainly did a wonderful job of attracting a whole new generation to this genre.

Shelley Henning, Holland Roden, Dylan O’Brien and Tyler Posey sitting on a bench.
Source: MovieStillsdb/Copyright: MTV Production Development

But some of these kids don’t even know that that their favorite teenage werewolf drama is based on an incredibly beloved movie. From the auditions to actors getting killed off the show, here are some things you probably don’t know about Teen Wolf, the series.

Rebooting a Reboot

We all know that it doesn’t have to take long to reboot a franchise, especially nowadays. But when it came to Teen Wolf, a reboot was discussed before the last season even premiered. In fact, the series finale ended with a time jump. The flash-forward revealed a rather dark future in which Monroe was leading an army of thousands.

Jeff Davis speaks onstage at the
Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Creator Jeff Davis has played around with the idea of continuing the show in the form of a podcast. If the show returns to television, it would probably be an anthology series with a totally new cast and a new setting. Given the cliffhanger Teen World left us with, a continuation in some form makes sense.

Dylan O’Brien Wasn’t Ready for His Audition

Teen Wolf helped launch several of its young actors to stars, but none shone as brightly as Dylan O’Brien. Scott’s best friend, Stiles was an immediate favorite among fans, thanks to his kind heart and sense of humor. O’Brien went on to star in various movies, most memorably headlining the Maze Runner trilogy. He has had a lot of success, but his career began with an audition he wasn’t ready for.

Dylan O'Brien at the 'Teen Wolf' panel.
Photo by Chelsea Lauren/WireImage/Getty Images 

When the young actor showed up to audition, he brought his resume along. However, there was nothing on it. His lack of experience made no difference because he managed to impress Jeff Davis enough to land the role and begin filling up that resume.

Werewolf Makeup Takes Forever

There is a huge possibility that Tyler Posey spent more time in the makeup chair than he did in front of the cameras. It took about four and a half hours to get the actor in werewolf makeup every single time. Posey literally had an entire team responsible for his transformation and a lot of fascinating details into making him look the part.

Tyler Posey as a werewolf lurking behind a wall.
Source: Moviestillsdb/Copyright: MTV Production Development

First off, Posey needed to have his real eyebrows glued onto his face so that the prosthetic ones he has to wear don’t pull them off. He also required something called a bandit mask, which is created to replicate the density of actual human skin. The transformation also includes airbrushing and custom ears.

Scott’s Infamous Tattoo

Although Scott’s double band tattoo becomes the symbol of the McCall Pack, the real reason behind it had nothing to do with the plotline of the series. As it turns out, the actor is just a tattoo enthusiast. He apparently spent years keeping ink off his arm so that it didn’t affect his acting career. Nonetheless, the notorious tattoo had to be written into the show after the actor got it without permission from the studio.

Tyler Posey showing off his two stripe tattoo.
Source: Pinterest

With all the time spent on the actor’s werewolf appearance, there simply wasn’t enough time to his cover his tattoos. Either his character could never take his shirt off, or he had to get a tattoo, and the first choice was never really an option.

The Wolf Sounds Come From Gorillas!

Considering the show’s namesake, you might assume that the chilling sounds of our beloved monsters actually come from wolves. However, that wasn’t the case. The noises you hear don’t even come from the wolf family, but rather from a creature that you would never think of when you hear the word “werewolf.”

Tyler Posey roaring in Teen Wolf / Gorilla roaring
Source: YouTube

Believe it or not, those terrifying “wolf” sounds come from gorillas. Now that you know, you could probably picture it. But why gorillas? Apparently, it’s because the animal is considered frightening. Plus (we’re not sure if this is intentional), it might be a tribute to the original movie where the werewolf looks suspiciously apelike.

Not as Well-Rehearsed as You Think

Filming fight scenes isn’t always easy, considering how many things can go wrong. With that in mind, viewers might assume that with the hectic shooting schedule of a television series, the scenes are well-rehearsed. Yeah, that wasn’t the case. In fact, they practiced those fights for a dangerously small amount of time before filming.

A fight scene in an abandoned shopping mall.
Source: YouTube

Max Caver, who played Aiden, revealed that the cast only had about a half-hour to rehearse the scenes ahead of time. Often times they were giving a mere ten minutes to learn the choreography. Well, we are pleased to say that our favorite heroes made it through the show alive!

Colton Haynes’s Mental Health

Colton Haynes is well-known for playing Jackson on Teen Wolf and Roy Harper on Arrow, but his post-fame journey wasn’t an easy one. Due to his struggles with anxiety and depression, Haynes took an acting hiatus. He is open about his mental health and admitted that it has been a constant battle since he was in fifth grade.

Teen Wolf’s Colton Haynes looking distraught.
Source: Pinterest

The actor reached his low point in 2014, spending most of his time alone trapped in a dangerous cycle of substance abuse. But in 2016, Haynes had a dramatic shift in perspective, partly because of his choice to come out publicly. He stayed in the closet for years, thanks to those who wanted to protect his Hollywood career. Now he is happily married and has moved on to a new chapter of his life.

Ian Bohan vs Arden Cho

After the devastating 2015 terrorist attack that took hundreds of lives in Paris, Arden Cho was a huge Twitter supporter. The following day, she took to Instagram, where she posted a picture of herself back in the day, on the set of Teen Wolf. She was then shaded by her costar, Ian Bohen, who played Peter Hale.

Arden Cho holding a sword.
Source: Twitter

The actor didn’t have the kindest things to say. To sum it up, he pretty much said it wasn’t the time for smiling selfies. Cho took the high road and told Bohen to look at her earlier Tweets. Her fans immediately came to her defense and fired back at the actor for attacking her like that. Bohen later deleted the comment, asking that everyone “please stop hating on each other.”

Bohen’s Other Offensive Tweets

At times, it may be easier to admire your favorite stars if they didn’t have social media accounts. After reading about an attack, Bohen felt compelled to tweet this out: “Hey parents. Teach your boys how to treat women properly and your girls how to be ladies. The s*** I’m reading in the news makes me sick.” Understandably, it led to a string of angry comments.

Ian Bohen holding up his peace fingers at the MotoGp race in France.
Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

He wrote an extensive post on Tumbler defending what he meant. It didn’t really help his case, though, since he didn’t realize what it implied before posting it. He didn’t apologize, which showed that he didn’t understand the problem.

The Truth Behind Allison’s Fate

Teen Wolf has claimed many victims, but most of them didn’t choose to leave the series. Fans were crushed when Allison Argent died on the show, but surprisingly, the actress was the one who wanted to leave. There was no bad blood between Crystal Reed and the showrunners; she simply thought it was time to move on.

Allison Argent holding a bow and arrow.
Source: YouTube

First of all, the age difference between her and her character started to weigh on her; she was twenty-nine playing a seventeen-year-old. She wanted to explore other opportunities in movies and television. When she told Jeff Davis her concerns, he understood and wrote her an unforgettable exit.

Charlie Carver’s MeToo Experience in Hollywood

In the wake of the MeToo movement, an extraordinary number of stars came forward with their sexual harassment stories. Charlie Carver, who played Ethan, opened up about his hopes to “open up a discussion about men and power dynamics.” The actor admitted that he was no stranger to sexual harassment and that he can understand and empathize with other victims.

Charlie Cavers and Colton Haynes looking into each other’s eyes.
Source: Tumblr

Carver explained that he was only able to process his emotions after talking to others who had gone through a similar situation. Shedding light on these disturbing events is the only way to fight them. As the MeToo movement continues to grow, more victims realize it wasn’t their fault and speak out.

Colton Hayne’s Offensive Halloween Costumes

Many people get “canceled” for being ignorant, although their intentions were never to hurt anyone. Colton Haynes fans may have brushed over the actor’s first inappropriate Halloween costume believing that it was just a misunderstanding. But his next costume didn’t really make him look any more innocent.

Colton Hayne in his Ursula costume.
Source: Tumblr

Despite the creative actor’s incredible costumes, most notably Ursula from The Little Mermaid, he has also made some rather offensive choices. The first was back in 2011 when Haynes thought it would be a fun idea to dress like Kanye West.

Not a Good Look

The Kanye costume might not have been such a big deal if blackface wasn’t part of Haynes’s outfit. The very next year, the actor rocked a Gandhi costume that involved painting his face brown. These choices angered fans years later, and Haynes apologized for his past actions, but he did seem surprised at how upset people were.

Colton Haynes dressed as Ghandi.
Source: Twitter

As we know, the internet is an intolerant place. Fans couldn’t forgive the actor for something he did ten years ago, way before racism was in the forefront, and people made sure to educate themselves on Black history. Chances are he didn’t know how offensive these costumes were at the time. He isn’t the only celebrity to get backlash for something he did or said a decade ago.

Dylan O’Brien Nearly Quit Acting After an Accident

Starring in The Maze Runner trilogy was a dream come true, but it wasn’t all fun and games for Dylan O’Brien. While filming Death Cure, the last installment of the franchise, the actor was involved in an extremely serious accident on set. He sustained a head injury during a stunt, and it was so bad that production stopped for months, waiting for him to recover.

Dylan O’Brien on the set of Teen Wolf.
Source: Moviestillsdb/Copyright: MTV Production Development

After this incident, O’Brien had serious doubts about continuing his acting career. Luckily, he got through this painful experience, and surviving it made him even stronger. Not only did he decide to continue doing what he loves, but he insisted that the director use the take that he got injured during.

Tyler Posey Auditioned for Jacob Black

There are a bunch of actors who almost snagged roles on the Twilight franchise, but not many of them can say they lost out on one werewolf role only to portray another. That was the case for the character of Scoff McCall. Taylor Lautner beat out Tyler Posey for the part of Jacob Black.

Taylor Posey with a torn shirt staring at the camera / Taylor Lautner posing in a black shirt.
Source: Moviestillsdb/Copyright: MTV Production Development / Pinterest

Randomly, both actors grew up in the same town, so they would often run into each other at auditions. They became quick friends. A few months later, Posey ran into Lautner and found out he didn’t get the role in Twilight. Still, Posey doesn’t feel any sort of resentment or jealousy. According to him, actors have to learn to be okay with rejection if they want to make it in such a cut-throat industry.

Cast Members Were Hacked

It’s not rare for hackers to target celebrities. Plenty of stars have found themselves affected by the increasing number of hacks, from Krysten Ritter to Jennifer Lawrence. Well, the Teen Wolf cast was hit pretty hard. It was like the internet monsters were after them.

Cody Christian speaks onstage at MTV's
Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Cody Christian, who portrays Theo Raeken, was the first one from the show to experience this hideous invasion of privacy. Not long after, photos of Tyler Posey surfaced, and so did compromising pictures of the actor Ryan Kelly, who played Jordan Parrish on the teen series.

Leaked Photos

But hacking is kind of a new age thing. Living in a digital world makes it easier for hackers, and with the technology advancing at the rate it is now, there is no telling what hackers are capable of. Evidently, Tyler Hoechlin was actually the first Teen Wolf star to fall victim years earlier.

Tyler Hoechlin at the Young Hollywood Studio.
Source: Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage/Getty Images

Hoechlin’s personal life became much less private when his photos were leaked. However, the star was wearing clothes, something his three costars can’t say. Obviously, it becomes way more humiliating when the leaked photos are revealing, but either way, it’s a massive invasion of privacy.

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