Interview with Linden Ashby of MTV’s Teen Wolf

Emily Dunbar ’17 / Emertainment Monthly

Linden Ashby of Teen Wolf

I sat in the hotel restaurant, my shiny, homemade magnifying glass strategically hidden under my backpack, my hands folded to cease the shaking. He came down the stairs and looked around a few times, and I jumped up to wave him over. In seconds, Linden Ashby was standing in front me, shaking my hand, and gesturing for us both to sit down.

It was October 13th, 2013, the final day of New York Comic Con 2013, and Linden’s final day in New York before he had to head back to LA. He so kindly agreed to do an interview with Emertainment Monthly on Saturday, but because of crazy Teen Wolf crowds and security, the timing got all messed up. Being that much more kind, he suggested we have a chat over breakfast the next morning.

So, as we joked about how happy we were that we weren’t going to die, since the waiter had brought us water, we began to talk about Teen Wolf.

“I’m in the know, now. I’ve been let in on the secret,” he began, in reference to a possible change in Stiles’ and Sheriff Stilinski’s relationship in the B-portion of season three. “But that, in itself, comes with its own set of baggage because I’ve said that I think this is a season of consequence. That every action has a reaction, has a consequence. And it’s not always what you think it’s gonna be.”

He went on, “I think the ripples from what they did last year have spread pretty far with really unintended consequences… The fallout is gonna be with us all, all season, I think. And for me, it’s also being the Sheriff of this county. And now I know what I know. It’s going back through old cases, it’s sifting through, and it’s looking at old, unsolved crimes from a new point view, with a new set of eyes.”

The A-portion of season three (spoiler alert!) ended with Scott, Stiles, and Allison “sacrificing” themselves for their parents. Dr. Deaton warned them that their lives are going to change, that there’s going to be a darkness around their hearts. However, there was already a darkness surrounding Stiles’ and Sheriff Stilinski’s hearts, due to the tragic off-screen death of Claudia Stilinski, Stiles’s mother.

“I do know what killed Claudia. I knew that she had died. I knew she had died of not supernatural causes. ‘Cause I was like, ‘Whoa. Did she get killed by a wolf?’ and Jeff [Davis] was like, ‘No. It was a sickness.’ And now I know what the sickness was and that in and of itself presents some problems.”

Stiles (Dylan O'Brien) left, and Sheriff Stilinski (Linden Ashby) right.
Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) left, and Sheriff Stilinski (Linden Ashby) right.

Claudia’s death really brought Sheriff Stilinski and Stiles a lot closer, and they have one of the most loving family relationships on the show.  A lot of that, however, also comes from the cast’s really close bond.

“I’ve been on a lot of sets in my life. It’s a family. I suppose a lot of sets become like that, after a period of time. It’s so much fun, the Teen Wolf set. And I think that starts with Dylan and Tyler… When they first came on we said, ‘You guys are the hosts of the party. When you’re the lead of a show, you set the tone.’ And they set a great tone.”

He laughed and continued, “Those two guys are frickin’ hilarious! I mean, you have no idea. I don’t think the public has any idea how much fun Posey and Dylan have… They are best friends and they crack each other up all day long.”

Linden also feels incredibly close to his character, Sheriff Stilinski.

“He’s a part of me, I’m a part of him. I love how thoughtful and logical [he is.] Oh, he doesn’t overreact. And I love that. I could be a little more volatile than Stilinski, unfortunately. I relate to most of what he does. I think that his ethical point of view, the way he lives his life, is pretty good.”

Related: NYCC 2013 Teen Wolf Panel

One thing people may not know about Linden is that he has two daughters not too much older than the Teen Wolf cast. In reference to their opinion on their father’s role in the show, he said, “I’m sure they’re happy that it’s not a terrible show… they’re happy that I’m happy.”

Being the children of a huge star within the teen community, Grace (22) and Savannah (21) sometimes have to deal with crazy Teen Wolf fans, as well.

“I think it becomes weird, too, because they do run into people who fan out. They’re like, ‘Okay, I’m me. That’s my dad.’ I think they keep the two pretty separate. They don’t really talk about it with people, probably, a ton. There’s nothing worse than somebody wanting to be your friend because of a parent.”

Luckily, it isn’t hard to keep conversations geared toward the show, since Teen Wolf always keeps the twists and turns coming.

“Jeff always surprises me with [the mythology] he brings, and it’s never what I’m expecting him to bring. This season, as he said [in the panel], he’s dealing with Japanese mythology. That’s connected to California history, strangely enough! He keeps it interesting. And also, the psychological thriller aspect this year – it’s scary.”

After catching himself almost giving away a spoiler (I know, I know!) he settled on saying, “Suffice to say: it’s scary. Bad things are happening in Beacon Hills… again… As usual.”

Related: SDCC 2013 Teen Wolf Panel

Linden talked a lot about his relationship with show creator and head writer, Jeff Davis.

“It’s great because I can call Jeff and talk to him about [script changes]. And if there’s a specific reason that this is, in fact, happening, he’ll tell me why it has to be this way. And if not, he’s really open to change… We talked about one of the first scenes in the first episode of the next block. And it was really about going back through cases, and it was kinda collaborative… I’m so lucky! He’s a really good friend, a really good boss. And those two don’t usually go hand in hand; it’s a weird thing. But we’ve somehow figured that out. I count him as a very important part of my life.”

Also important in Linden’s life is surfing and riding motorcycles. Those are two of his favorite hobbies, and he grabs the chance to do either one whenever he can, whether that is on set or at home.

“[Surfing is] the greatest thing you can do for your head… Anything where you’re in the moment. I mean, completely in the [moment] – you’re not thinking about anything else. It’s such an endorphin release in your head, for your entire body. And that’s what’s great about it – when I catch a wave, I’m not thinking about anything else.”

In addition to sports, Linden also loves Bruce Springsteen (who was and is a big surfer, for those of you who didn’t know!), Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, and House of Cards. He loves music, especially alternative and punk, and he’d like to try his hand at directing, at some point.

We joked about that new Sandra Bullock movie, Gravity, and talked about the college life. Linden left me, and any other writers out there, with some fantastic advice: “It’s like a muscle. You need to exercise it. Or else you’ll atrophy, and you’ll fall off. So keep writing. Keep writing.”

It was such a pleasure and an honor to speak with Linden about his career and his life. Make sure to tune in January 6th to catch the B portion of Teen Wolf season three!

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