Exclusive Interview with Teen Wolf’s Michael Johnston

Photo Credit: Jeff Lorch
Photo Credit: Jeff Lorch

As one of the freshest faces on TV, and a new edition to the ever-growing Teen Wolf family, Michael Johnston is a name you’ll be hearing often. He portrays Corey on Teen Wolf and is staring in a new movie titled Slash. I got the chance to chat with Michael about the second half of Teen Wolf Season 5, music, and even fan fiction! Here’s what he had to say.

I know you guys just recently started filming again how is that going so far?
It’s great! I’m actually going in tomorrow. I did a film in Austin for six weeks so I’m really excited to come back into it. Jeff [Davis] sends us the scripts really last-minute so I’m still not really sure what’s going on with the story, but it’s really cool.
The sort of twist at the end of the finale was a surprise to me and a lot of other viewers. When you originally auditioned for the role did you know where the writers were taking your role?
Oh man, I had no idea actually. All I knew when I auditioned was that my character was going to be introduced with a really strange injury, and that Mason was going to be my love interest. Finding out about the finale was all really last-minute, it seems like everything is when it comes to Teen Wolf. Everyone’s kind of like “Oh my gosh what’s happening! Ah! That just happened! Ah! Now that’s happening” [laughs]. It keeps us (as actors) on our feet.
In 5B is Corey’s alliance with Theo since he’s the one who resurrected him? What changes have you had to make in playing him?
He’s not thrilled to be in Theo’s pack. Corey isn’t the type to go around and fight. He doesn’t seem sure about his powers either. The only thing we’ve really seen him do is blend with the wall. I wonder if he will discover new powers. If Theo decides to order him around it’ll be interesting to see what will happen. Corey has no idea what’s gong on. It’s really funny because when I came on the show personally I kind of felt like that [laughs]. No, but really, I don’t think we’ve filmed enough for me to really go in-depth.
Well I really like Corey’s character so far; I can’t wait to see more!
I think Jeff really pays attention to what we the actors bring to the characters. He watches and writes everything so quickly. It’s not all just about what he had in mind for the characters originally. He really pictures me in the role. I love working with him.
On Twitter and Instagram you guys have made sort of a rag-tag like zombie gang. What’s it been like working with Henry, Victoria and Kelsey?
They’re so awesome! I’m good friends with them. I didn’t know any of them before I started, but we all get along really well on set. Most of the time when I’m filming, it’s Corey and The Pack or obviously Corey and Mason. I don’t see the other actors quite as much, but it’s always a blast.
What was it like joining the Teen Wolf cast?
They were so welcoming. I was nervous but Tyler (Posey) showed me around and made me feel at home. Teen Wolf, as of right now is my biggest role. Before Teen Wolf I had only ever had one part in a show. I literally had one line. That’s actually how I got on Teen Wolf. My other part was on Awkward, the MTV show.
My first scene on the show was with the leads. I remember this particular thing happening. Melissa (Ponzio) who plays Scott’s mom was supposed to be hovering over me as I was screaming. I was trying to get advice from her for a later scene. I said “Hey can I read my lines to you? Can you tell me how this sounds? Is this ok?” She thought I was so funny. She was like “I’m sure you’re fine, you got here through your audition! You’ll be okay.” Thankfully, everything worked out! After I did my film in Austin I came back with a lot more experience so I’m really excited to dig in again.
Music seems to be a pretty big part on your life. I’ve seen your videos on Instagram and they’re really good!
[laughs] Well lately it seems like I’ve been listening to more music. I wasn’t really into music and singing until this year. I started playing piano. My dad’s gonna teach me some guitar soon too. It’s a lot of fun.
So it’s a new thing for you?
It’s really new for me. When I was road-tripping with my dad a year ago we were listening to music and he said “You never sing!” So I sang for him for the first time in the car. He told me I should start singing and now I do it all the time. I learn a new song almost every weekend. I don’t really know where I want to go with it, but for now I’ll keep making my little videos and see what happens.
You mentioned you were filming out in Austin was it the movie Slash?
Yeah. I’m playing this awkward kid, Neil. He loves to write erotic fan fiction, but his family and friends discover it and they end up sort of making fun of him. But then he meets this girl who also writes and they form a really interesting bond. She convinces him to publish his writing online and they get invited to a convention. 
It’s a crazy, hilarious adventure. I actually auditioned before Teen Wolf, and then I found out I got it after we shot the first half of season 5. It was quite a change of pace and a completely different type of project.
Perfect segue for this question. I know fan fiction is very big in the Teen Wolf fandom.
I’ve noticed! For Slash they’re doing a Kickstarter campaign to fund part of the movie. One of the rewards for people who donate is they can write their own slash fan fiction stories and I’ll read them on camera. There’s a lot of it coming in that’s Teen Wolf [laughs]. It’s overwhelming!
Have you ever written or read fan fiction?
I had never read any before Slash. I had heard of it but never really looked into it. In our down time on Slash, we read some. At first I thought “Ok, this is a little strange,” but the whole point of the movie is that all of these quirky people who feel like they’re outcasts can just come together and be who they are. So I can understand some fan fiction, but there’s some that just goes completely over my head.
I think Fan Fiction is a super vital part of many fandoms, which is why I think tackling something like this is pretty bold. Were you ever afraid of coming out as sort of mocking fan fiction writers or is it not that kind of movie?
That’s such an interesting question. It is something that has come up. A lot of people saw the video that we had up for Slash and said, “We don’t want to support this movie because it looks like it’s mocking us.” Honestly, It isn’t. There are some really funny moments in the film, but as an actor I treated the character with utmost humanity. I mean, my character really respects fan fiction. I wouldn’t be a part of a film that attacks any community.
That’s good to hear! Now going back to Teen Wolf, one of my favorite things to watch is bloopers and I remember the ones they showed on Wolf Watch. Can you remember any other funny stories that the camera may have not caught?
The one about poop was so funny [laughs]. I forgot about it until they showed it again. I think it was from 5×08. Honestly, those little moments seem to happen all the time, so it’s hard to remember. We joke around and then as soon as the cameras roll it’s boom back to business.
This isn’t really a blooper, just a funny story. There was an incident with a carrot. Dylan (O’brien) was throwing carrots at Kara, one of the crew, from far away. He was just throwing all these carrots and I wanted to play too! So I said “Hey throw me a carrot!” He threw it from really far away and it hit me directly in the face. It was hilarious. It was also more painful than you’d think!
Can you hint towards things that fans can expect for this half of the season?
There’s not much I can say, because there’s not much that I know! Theo’s pack is definitely the most reluctant group. They really didn’t have a choice, and I wonder which ones are going to cooperate with Theo and which ones aren’t. I’m also excited to see the relationships like Corey and Mason’s or Liam and Hayden’s. I wonder if they can date Chimeras and still live semi normal lives. I look forward to finding out!
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