In the remaining episodes of Season 3 of the MTV drama series Teen Wolf, Scott (Tyler Posey) is struggling to find his place as an Alpha, while he, Allison (Crystal Reed) and his best friend Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) are experiencing strange side effects after reigniting the power within Beacon Hills. And in the heightened world these teenagers live in, all of their lives are in danger and everything has extreme consequences.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Arden Cho (who plays Beacon Hills newcomer and newly discovered Kistune, Kira) talked about her audition process for the show, binge-watching the entire series in two weeks, how nervous she was about being the new girl on set, what it was like to shoot her first scene, how excited she is to play such a quirky character, how happy she is about the overwhelmingly positive fan response, that she learns things about her character at the very last minute, how much she enjoys shooting the scenes between Kira and her parents, how much her athletic background works to her advantage on such a physical show, her favorite scene and episode this season, and whether she’d love to be a part of a possible female-centric Kitsune spin-off series. Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
ARDEN CHO: I did the very traditional audition process. I auditioned, and then luckily I got called back. Eventually, I got called back for a producer’s session, and that led to a chemistry read with Tyler Posey. It helped me so much that he was so nice and very easy to converse with. But, the initial audition process was very traditional. Auditions can be so scary, so it’s nice when you feel like everyone is rooting for you. With this audition, it felt like everybody was rooting for me, and it felt like they were helping to make my audition better. That was really nice.
Had you been a fan of the show, or did you have to do some catching up, once you were cast?
CHO: Initially, when I’d heard of Teen Wolf, I had never actually sat down to watch the series. But during my audition process, before I had a clue that I would even be considered, I started watching the show to get a feel for it and to see what type of show it was. So, I started watching a bit of Season 1, and instead of prepping for my audition, I found myself watching the episodes because they were so good. It pulls you in because it’s so much fun. I did a crash course and ended up watching all three seasons in the span of two weeks. It was insane! It was pretty crazy. That’s a lot of TV for a couple of weeks.
This is not only a show that’s been on for awhile and has become a well-oiled machine, but this cast is also very close. Were you nervous about being the new girl on set?
CHO: Oh, I was extremely nervous! I was not only nervous, but I was also very intimidated. And in a very weird way, I felt like I already knew everybody because I had been watching the show so intensely for two weeks. So, even though I was new, all of the stories and events were still fresh in my mind because I’d seen it so recently. It was so weird to be on set because it was exactly how I expected it to be, but it was also different because now I was supposed to be a part of it. So initially, I was intimidated and it was nerve-wracking, but everybody is so nice. We literally have the best cast and crew. Everybody is amazing to work with. They’re so talented. It was an easy transition. And it worked because my character, Kira, is the new girl and she does go through some awkward experiences. A lot of that played into the reality of the situation that I was new and all of those feelings were fresh.
What was your first day on set like? Do you remember what the first scene was that you shot?
CHO: Yeah, actually, the very first scene that I shot was in the third episode, when I’m in the library listening to music and Coach comes in and yells at me to get out of the library because the school is being shut down since Barrow is on the run. We bounce all around. That was the first day, and it was a really easy first day for me. I had fittings, and then I shot a quick scene. There were no lines or anything, so I didn’t have to worry about that. And then, we went back to the first episode and shot that opening sequence where I’m in the classroom and I get embarrassed. And then, we did a sequence with the whole gang talking. It’s funny that it feels like it was a long time ago, but it really wasn’t.
CHO: Oh, yeah, definitely! I don’t think I could write a character that I would want to play more than Kira. Kira is so fun. She’s brave and she’s courageous. She’s exciting, but then she’s also quirky and a little awkward. She almost doesn’t really look it, but she is. And she’s got a fun sense of style. I feel they’ve made her really colorful, and it’s so much fun to play that. On top of that, because she’s a growing character, she’s still learning to fit in and she’s still learning to fight. She doesn’t really know what to do. Kira is really just taking baby steps and growing into who she’s going to become, and it’s so fun to play that.
Is it nice to know that the fans are not only responding positively to Kira as a character, but also to her budding romance with Scott?
CHO: Oh, yeah, definitely! I won’t lie, I was nervous about that. I was definitely anxious to hear what the fan response would be. Teen Wolf has such a die-hard fan base, which we’re all so grateful for. It’s amazing to have that kind of support because, without the fans, we would have this show. But at the same time, I was really scared about their feelings toward Scott and Kira. It’s definitely encouraging to see and hear that they love it. It’s still taking its time. I think Scott and Kira are really a lot more similar and they have more in common than they think, and I think the fans can relate to that. It’s a very innocent relationship, and I think that’s nice. Every morning when I check my Twitter, I get so happy. I smile from cheek to cheek when I read people saying, “Kira is so cool! Kira is bad-ass!” I never thought that was going to be the response. When we’re shooting, you just keep shooting for months. You don’t see any of the episodes, so you don’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what it was going to look like, or how anything was going to turn out, but the production on Teen Wolf is so amazing. The way that they shoot it, edit it and put it out there, it’s really so exciting. I trust the team so much. They do such a good job.
Were you relieved to find out that Kira and Allison wouldn’t be adversaries, and that you wouldn’t have to be clawing each other’s eyes out over a guy?
CHO: Oh, definitely! The last thing I want is a cat fight. I was so happy to find that out. I really like Crystal, and I love Allison, as a character. Kira and Allison are very similar, in the sense that they’re fighters and they’re strong. They want to stand up for the people that they love, and I think that brings them together, as friends.
CHO: Yeah. I think the whole supernatural part of it is what really takes the excitement to another level. What’s so much fun about acting is that you get to be something so different from yourself. With this whole supernatural world, I sometimes feel like it’s all real. It feels so real because we’re living in it, day in and day out, and it’s so much fun. Now, I’m jokingly like, “I wish that I could absorb electricity and do these things, in real life.” It just makes it so much fun.
At what point, along the way, did you learn what Kira would turn out to be?
CHO: Jeff Davis is brilliant, and he’s very, very secretive. A lot of what goes on, on this show, we rarely know much about. Signing on, I had no idea that Kira was going to be what she is today, and I have no complaints about that. I’m really happy with the direction that it’s going in, but I didn’t really know much. Even as we were shooting, I would be confused because I wasn’t sure what the scene was or what was happening, and he’d be like, “Oh, you’ll find out.” What I love about my character is that, even though she is supernatural, she’s also very much just a normal high school girl who is going through the whole experience, for the first time, and learning as she goes.
How would you describe what she is and what that means for her, especially as her power continues to grow?
CHO: At this point, she knows that she has these skills, like running fast, having super hearing and absorbing electricity. Now she knows she’s a Kitsune, but at the same time, it’s still all very new for Kira. She doesn’t know what that actually means.
CHO: I love it! Tamlyn Tomita, who plays my mother, is such a beauty and so talented. She’s someone who’s work I’ve seen for years, and it’s so great to get a chance to work with her. She’s amazing! And then, there’s Tom Choi, who plays my dad, and I love the dynamic between them. It’s so different. Tom is hilarious. He’s such a funny guy, on and off set. It’s so funny to see him and Dylan [O’Brien] and Tyler Posey cracking jokes, all the time. He’s so perfect as Mr. Yukimura. He’s just so goofy. I love the comedy they’ve thrown in there. He’s the only dad in the world who is trying to get his daughter hooked up. I don’t see a lot of dads, particularly Asian dads, trying so hard to get their daughter to just have something going for her. I love it! I think it’s hilarious. It’s just so fun!
Because this is such a physical show, do you feel like it works to your advantage that you have an athletic background?
CHO: Yes, definitely. A thousand times, yes! I’m so thankful that I have that background, but it’s still not enough. I wish I was an expert, but at least it’s a good foundation to build on. It’s enough that I’m able to learn the choreography and do as much as I can with the stunt coordinators and stunt performers. It helps a lot when you do have some sort of familiarity with it. It is so hard because we have to memorize our scenes and our lines for the acting, and then we have these action scenes. A lot of times, because our schedule is packed with other scenes, we don’t get as much time to shoot the stunts or learn the sequences. Sometimes we’re literally learning it on the spot, in five or 10 minutes. It’s just so crazy and overwhelming sometimes, but amazingly, they make it work, every time. They pull it together and it’s magic.
CHO: One of the scenes I was most miserable shooting, I love how it turned out. I can speak for all of us in saying that we were miserable and freezing cold, shooting the rain fight. But it turned out to be one of the coolest fights, so I absolutely love it. One of my favorite episodes coming up is Episode 321. I’m really excited about that. There have been so many great moments and so many fun scenes, but I’m excited for 321 because I got to do something so different. I hope that the Teen Wolf fans will enjoy it, but it’s definitely something very different than they’re used to.
Is there anyone you wish you had more scenes with, that Kira hasn’t gotten to cross paths with too often?
CHO: Definitely Crystal [Reed]. We don’t interact as much, until the latter part of the season. I wish there had been more, in the beginning, because I think it would have been fun to have a girl tag-team. I love some of the scenes I had with [Tyler] Hoechlin. They were so short, but it was really fun. And it was so funny to read people’s comments about it. I worked mostly with [Tyler] Posey, Dylan [O’Brien] and the twins (Max and Charlie Carver). I really like everyone. Honestly, it’s such a good mix that I really wish we could work with everyone, all the time. It’s just too hard to get everybody into one scene. But, everyone is really good to work with and everyone brings something different to the plate.
Jeff Davis has said that he’s considering a possible female-centric Kitsune spin-off show. Has anyone talked to you about that? Is that something that could actually happen?
CHO: I haven’t heard too much about it. I know he spoke about it to some press. He’s even brought it up to me that he thinks it would be really cool. Of course, I think it’s amazing! That would probably be the happiest day of my life, if that actually happened. But for now, I love being on Teen Wolf and I love seeing where that’s going. If the fans love Kira, and it continues to grow and move in the right direction, it’s very possible that something like that could be considered. It would be amazing, and a lot of fun. I grew up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and used to dream that I would grow up to be just like her. In a way, Teen Wolf has a lot of those kinds of characters. We’re just kids, by day, and yet we’re trying to fight demons and werewolves and bad people, and save people that we love. I would love it, if a show like that happened.
Teen Wolf airs on Monday nights on MTV.