Dylan O’Brien Takes Us From YouTube and ‘Teen Wolf’ to Headlining ‘Love and Monsters’

     October 14, 2020

Dylan O’Brien is a star. His talent was already undeniable courtesy of Teen Wolf, but after seeing him in that first Maze Runner movie back in 2014, it became an absolute certainty that he was going to continue to do big things, like headline the new post-apocalyptic survival movie, Love and Monsters.

O’Brien stars as Joel, a guy living in an underground colony after the world is overrun by monsters. The thing is though, Joel’s high school sweetheart (Jessica Henwick) hunkered down in a different colony 85 many miles away. After seven years of being separated, Joel’s had enough. He opts to take the risk and venture out to find her. Love and Monsters is a movie that embraces many of the traditional pillars of the post-apocalyptic genre but while offering up a hefty dose of creativity, color and charm, and O’Brien excels at it al. Whether it’s an action sequence, a deep one-on-one conversation with a dog, nailing one-liners, selling Joel’s growth throughout the movie, you name it, O’Brien can do it all.


Image via Paramount Pictures

How’d O’Brien’s journey to commanding the screen begin? It actually all started with a little nudge – from himself. While on Collider Connected, O’Brien looked back on the doubt he was experiencing after high school:

“I’d never acted before and I’d just graduated high school, but I was definitely interested in movies and wanted to go to film school. My dad was a camera operator growing up so I grew up with a woven in love for movies. It was just, I was a really shy kid and I just think that I hadn’t realized that acting in a way was always something that I wanted to try. But I kind of love and respected it so much that I think I just thought of it like, ‘Well, I could never do that!’”

As we all well know now, O’Brien could do it, and could it exceptionally well. But back then, he needed a little reinforcement and it came in the form of a letter that he wrote to himself when he was just eight-years-old.

“In this weird swirl of a time the summer I graduated, because of the videos that I made, [I] was lucky enough to be randomly trying out going on auditions and stuff, and I made a decision to stay home and go to community college so I could try this too and my parents supported that too, thankfully. So there was a lot of things that I was also doubting because I was like, ‘I’ve never done this before. Am I being stupid? Or lazy?’ So as I’m having all of these doubts, I get this letter from myself in the mail on my 18th birthday, because that was an assignment that my third grade teacher Mr. Campbell did in New Jersey and he sent it to me. It ends with, ‘I love Jim Carrey. I want to be an actor.’ And I was like, ‘Whoa, this has been in me since I was a little kid and I almost didn’t even remember or realize.’”

If you’d like to hear more about O’Brien’s early days auditioning and making YouTube videos, the importance of his relationship with his manager, what it was like booking Teen Wolf, working with Wes Ball on Maze Runner, making Love and Monsters and so much more, give O’Brien’s full Collider Connected interview a watch at the top of this article!

Love and Monsters arrives on Premium Video-On-Demand on October 16th!

Dylan O’Brien:

  • 01:10 – The letter O’Brien wrote to himself when he was just eight-years-old that ultimately encouraged him to become an actor.
  • 03:15 – What inspired O’Brien to start making YouTube videos?


    Image via Paramount Pictures

  • 05:26 – Does O’Brien have any interest getting behind the lens again?
  • 06:41 – What inspired O’Brien to make another YouTube video after nine years of not adding to his channel?
  • 08:12 – O’Brien has had the same manager since day one.
  • 11:01 – Looking back on Teen Wolf; talking about stardom with Kate Hudson.
  • 13:15 – O’Brien on his experience pursuing other projects during his Teen Wolf run.
  • 15:21 – On exploring a new chapter of his career right now.
  • 17:38 – Why O’Brien’s first conversation with Wes Ball gave him loads of confidence in the first-time featured director.
  • 20:15 – The importance of taking risks on projects.
  • 21:27 – What made Love and Monsters stand out for O’Brien?
  • 24:19 – On working with his incredible canine co-star.
  • 25:42 – What it’s like filming a one-on-one conversation with a dog.
  • 27:58 – O’Brien talks about working with Maika Monroe on The Education of Fredrick Fitzell.