Talk Nerdy With us had the pleasure of speaking with Cody Christian. Cody play’s the new bad boy in town, Theo Raeken on MTV’s Teen Wolf. Cody also reprises the role of Mike Montgomery, Aria’s brother on ABC’s Pretty Little Liars. Keep reading to see what Cody had to say about portraying Theo, the Teen Wolf cast and what he’s nerdy about!
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On a show like Teen Wolf, we’re pretty much used to being wary of anyone new in Beacon Hills, but we think Theo’s quick reveal in Episode 2 (of Season 5A) with the hammer took us all by surprise. When you auditioned for the role, did you know anything about Theo’s character arc?
I did to an extent. Funny enough, the scene with the hammer was actually one of the audition scenes that I brought in for the character. My audition scenes were that and also the scene, I believe it’s in the same episode, where I’m in the locker room telling my side of the story to Stiles and Scott. Obviously, we know now that was a blatant lie, but those are the two scenes they had me bring in.
I knew that Theo wasn’t going to be a good guy [laughs], however, I think myself and the writer’s didn’t really understand the extent of the story arc we could give Theo. So no, not right off the bat, but I did know that Theo wasn’t going to be a good character. When I first got the audition, Jeff said to me, and this stuck with me, that his goal was to bring on a character that people would love to hate. I knew just stepping into it, I was going to be portraying a character that was not going to be a fan favorite. [Laughs].
What’s your favorite part about being on the Teen Wolf set?
It kills me to say this! I feel like everyone has a cop-out answer to this question. Most of the time, all their answers are bullshit and they never mean what they say. [Laughs]. But, from the bottom of my heart, I really, truly, mean this, being on the Teen Wolf set, my favorite part about it is the people. Everyone from the crew, down to the cast is just a tight unit. There’s just a different energy on the Teen Wolf set that I’ve never experienced on any other production.
Every one’s a family, you know. Every one invests 100% of themselves. From the camera operators, to the actors, to the people rigging and setting up the lighting, every one is just so invested in this show. Every one wants to make it the best that it can be. That kind of positive energy is very contagious. It’s really hard to not be enjoying yourself and loving the atmosphere while you’re on the Teen Wolf set.
That’s one of the reasons why everyone loves the show. Everyone is so dedicated.
Yes! That also carry’s on. At the end of the day, it’s your final cut; the production cut that’s airing on television. That type of quality, like the way that everything seems to be working together, I think it all starts from the core and it spreads out from there. So I think, you know, the whole production, I’ve only been on it for a season and a half now, but I’m just very grateful to be apart of something that works so efficiently.
Playing Theo is a very different role we’re used to seeing you in. Can you tell us what you think is the biggest difficulty you face in playing a character like Theo as opposed to one like Mike (on Pretty Little Liars). Do you go into each shoot in a different mindset?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean you have to. They are two completely different characters, with two different back stories. Me as an actor, I try to separate myself from my work as much as possible. I do not put Cody Christian into Theo Raeken. I think there’s some mannerism that I’d adopt for the character because that’s what I know and what I’m accustomed to. But as far as personality goes, in the way each character thinks, and perceives what’s in front of him and his mindset per se, it’s always different. It’s different from character to character and it’s most definitely different from myself.
There’s nothing too difficult I’d say about prepping for a character like Theo. However, there is a lot more prep work for this one, than Mike per se. Mike was a very easy character to step into. The parameters of which, he lived in this town in Rosewood. I mean, he’s very down to earth; it’s very relatable so I don’t have to go too far.
But with someone like Theo on Teen Wolf, which we’re talking about Chimeras, and the supernatural, and dread doctors and you know, a whole past you get to discover. It’s more emotional day training to be involved in a character like that.
It’s not difficult really, there’s just a lot more work in my opinion. That’s the fun part though, that’s really what I love. I mean every time I approach a character I get to create this person. I make this person come alive and I get to give this person a life, which was just a word or a character name on text/paper. I get to bring them to life and give them substance.
So I look at that as a way to you know, be imaginative and creative. I look at each character and it’s almost like a blank page canvas. I get to paint this character and bring it to life on-screen for people to love, hate, relate to, and that for me, is just the biggest joy.
So how does having such a good relationship with Tyler Posey help or hinder you when you’re acting as Theo?
I think it does neither actually. Tyler Posey is such a professional on set and I have nothing but good words to say about that individual. I love the man to death. So when the camera’s are rolling it’s no longer Tyler and Cody it’s Scott and Theo. When the camera’s cut, it goes immediately back to Tyler and Cody. I almost got confused there [laughs]. But yeah, you know, it’s great it doesn’t affect our performances per se. I haven’t seen our relationship leak into a scene, you know I’m Theo and he’s Scott and we do what we have to do.
The best part about that is the second we say cut, maybe even a few seconds beforehand, we’ll burst into laughter or you know, we’ll go and hang out and do something on set. It’s amazing to step out of that scene and feel like you’re hanging out with your best friend. That is worth so much in this industry. I can’t even tell you how happy that makes me.
How was your first year at San Diego Comic Con this past summer? Did you enjoy it?
I did! It was such a crazy, wild experience. I’ll never forget it. I remember just being so nervous and coming out for the panel in San Diego. I mean, SO nervous! I couldn’t talk, my hands were clamming up, I was just you know, it was crazy! It was a wild experience. When you step out there and you hear this electrifying roar almost, of these people, and all these fans that have come to support what you’re doing. There are applauds and there are screams and you walk out and you hear that and you feel every one’s screaming through the floor of stage and the vibration. And you have the light shinning down on you, and you’re blinded and you can’t really see the amount of people until you sit down. It’s quite mesmerizing actually! I remember my heart was beating a thousand miles an hour. It was great. I loved it. The whole experience was amazing, I just did New York [Comic Con], and I had an amazing time there.
That was a little different though, right?
Yeah, it was much different! It was very laid back compared to San Diego. Hopefully come next year this time, I’ll still be apart of this show, and I can attend again as a guest.
If you could have more scenes with another cast member on Teen Wolf, who would it be?
This season (5B), Theo isn’t involved in Scott’s pack because the cat’s out the bag and he’s the bad guy. [Laughs] So there’s not that buddy-buddy interacting anymore with Scott McCall or Stiles.
I love working with Dylan O’Brien. He is such a professional, such a stand up guy and I feel like every time we’re in a scene together, we really bring out the best in each other and make the scene the best that it can be. So, anytime I get to work with that man, I absolutely love it. Also, I love working with Shelley. Playing with her character, Malia, I feel like there is always such an interesting dynamic between her and I on-screen.
I know you’re kind of big on working out, and we can imagine you have a pretty strict diet to abide to. If you could eat one thing, for the rest of your life, without any dietary restrictions or anything, what would you eat?
Chipotle. Yeah, you see how there was no hesitation in that answer? I love Chipotle. Shout out to Chipotle, they’re my homies, I love them. You could put that in the article! [Laugh] Love it!
Do you think playing a duplicitous character like Theo has helped you develop as an actor and possibly explore a different side of yourself, maybe?
Absolutely. I mean, it’s just, I think every actor always says this, “their dream role is a role that makes him or her feel challenged or they feel scared of” and it’s such a cliché answer. But it is the truth I mean, you don’t want to do something you feel comfortable doing. There were so many times in Season 5A where I was like “Oh, fuck, I don’t know if I could do this or not.” But, I ended up pulling it off and in my opinion I thought it looked great. I put 100% of myself into it. It made this kick ass character that people cannot stand, and it’s something for me to be proud of. It’s helped me grow and it also helped me realize my potential to be able to carry a character like that.
I went from being on a show where I wasn’t working as much as I would’ve liked to Teen Wolf where I was working every single day into the weekend, doing crazy hours, handling material that was sophisticated. I get pages on the day saying “here’s your new scene, we just re-wrote it. We’re filming in a couple of hours.” Just overcoming all of that, has given me such a confidence boost knowing that, going forward in my career I can handle whatever is thrown at me. I can take the lead of a studio film and know the type of pressure that’s going to happen and know most importantly that I can handle it and I can deal with it. So many benefits have come from being on Teen Wolf and it’s just been amazing. It really has.
Both Pretty Little Liars and Teen Wolf have a pretty huge and dedicated fan base. Do you enjoy being able to stay connected with them on social media sites like Twitter or your new Facebook page?
Yeah, absolutely! You know what, I’m torn a little bit over here. It’s such an amazing opportunity to connect with the people who support you and that in itself is worth everything in my opinion. Just knowing that a body of work or performance or anything, has any type of impact on somebody. I mean, that’s what ultimately inspires me, knowing that I can touch the heart of an individual anywhere in the world and have an effect on them, whether it be negative or positive. Just being able to impact their life, inspires me day-to-day.
At the same time, as great as it is to connect, it is a little difficult. I feel like people forget the fact that I’m an actual human being, a person behind a twitter handle or a Facebook page or any of that stuff. I feel like, the aspect of humanity gets blown a little bit, and you kind of just become this thing online and people forget that.
As much as I love playing the bad guy during the day, there were a couple of times where I had to close my social media outlets because it was just a little out of hand. Some of the things people say is just too much for me. I can understand where they’re coming from, and there has to be that separation where it doesn’t affect you personally. But most of the time, I’m good at doing that, I’m good at kind of pushing it away like “Oh, I understand, as a fan of the show, I wish it would be the same way” you know, Theo’s the douche bag, I get it.
Sometimes, it just gets a little overwhelming. At the end of the day, I understand, a lot of their reactions are justified, but sometimes it’s just a little too passionate for me and I have to shut it away so they don’t take it too personally.
Since we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us, do you have anything you’re currently nerding out about?
Let me talk about my little nerdy self. Some people may know this about me, some people may not. I’m a huge video game advocate. I love playing video games! I grew up playing Halo, that’s my favorite game/ I played it competitively. Waiting for Halo 5 to come out, I still don’t have an X-Box one; I need to get one of those so I can get the game. I’m a HUGE geek about video games. I love watching them, I love playing them, and I love the competitive aspect of video games. So that’s one side of me that people may not know. Huge fan.
And the show that I’m watching right now, I’m really late on this but I’m watching Dexter. I‘m on Season 4 right now, so I’m half way through it. I’m hooked; I think the writing is fantastic! I love Michael C. Hall. I love it! It’s such a good show and I’m spending way too much time watching it, I need to do more important pressing things, but instead I’m binge watching Dexter.
I love Michael C. Hall. I love it, it’s such a good show and I’m spending way too much time watching it, I need to do more important pressing things, but instead I’m binge watching Dexter.