The pandemic thriller Alone follows Aidan (Tyler Posey), who awakens one morning to learn that most of humanity has turned into bloodthirsty zombies and barricades himself inside his apartment as the world falls into chaos around him. Completely alone and fighting for his life, just as he’s ready to give up hope, he sees a woman (Summer Spiro) in the apartment building across the courtyard from his and the two begin to plot a way to survive together.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Tyler Posey talked about being interested in this different take on zombies, how the pandemic we’re currently experiencing has given him a different perspective on the project, the biggest challenges in making this film, getting to work with an acting legend like Donald Sutherland, and the intense physicality that was involved. He also talked about the films he’ll be doing next, the effect being a part of Teen Wolf had on him, and the Batman project he’d love to get made.
COLLIDER: When this came your way, what was it that most interested you?
TYLER POSEY: There’s such a cool difference in our zombies, which we call screamers. They’re almost remorseful. They know what they’re doing. Their last human emotion is stored in their rabid brain memory of this zombie that they are now. That was such a fun take on everything because it creates, for the first time ever, remorse in somebody trying to kill a zombie, and that really hasn’t been in another zombie movie. And then my character, I related to so much, before and after he meets Eva. Before he meets Eva, he hoped to die. He was a self-deprecating coward. And then, after he meets Eva, he’s almost reborn into this heroic, selfless person. I’ve gone through that rebirth myself. I just love Aidan. He’s such a cool character. He goes through this whole entire process with this almost light-hearted, comical mentality like, “Why the fuck am I in this position?” It’s so silly and fun, and it creates another element that we haven’t really seen in any of these genre movies. I love it. He’s pumped about these little victories that he has, like when he finds the walkie talkie and he finally throws it to her balcony. It’s all fun. He jokes with himself. Being with yourself for 40 days, you learn to have a sense of humor and talk to yourself. He’s his own favorite comedian.
With the current state of our world, does it give you a different perspective on this now?
POSEY: Oh, my God, absolutely. Before quarantine and COVID, I had become a recluse myself, for years – not currently but in the past – dealing with depression and just wanting to isolate myself. So, I had a sense of what he was going through but pandemically, I had no idea. And now, I have this whole fresh set of eyes on what he and Eva were going through. To me, it’s so hard to wrap my head around the parallels of what’s happening in our movie and what’s happening in the world. There’s quarantine, there’s the pandemic, and there’s a social distancing. It’s bizarre.
Actors talk about wanting to play characters that challenge or scare them in some way. What were the biggest challenges in taking on something like this, where you really are alone and exploring a character by yourself for a lot of the time?
POSEY: It’s a lot of pressure, carrying a movie not just with dialogue and emotion but also because you’re there every single day, you’re in every single scene, and you’re being spread really thin. I wanted that challenge. Like you said, a lot of actors are looking for challenges but I had challenges on almost every aspect of having to be on set every single day, being in every single scene, all of the emotional acting that I had to do, and the stunt work. It was a huge challenge. I wanted to be thrown a curveball and this movie did it in a way where I was super receptive to it and I just wanted it so much. We had a great team. We had a great crew, and the morale on the set was always awesome. That’s another thing that I wanted to pride myself on. I wanted to make sure that everybody was having a good day on set, or at least be a part of that. It’s easy to get mad or overwhelmed or uncomfortable when you’re in such confined spaces with a bunch of people but I wanted to make sure that everybody was having a good day and a good time, as much as I could to my abilities. There are all of these aspects that are weighing on you, and it was awesome. I loved it.
What was it like to explore a relationship dynamic like this, between Aidan and Eva?
POSEY: I loved it. I thought it was so cool. When we first meet, we meet with signs. We can’t speak to one another because the zombies will hear us. We got to have this first meeting and interaction where it was all through our faces and we can’t speak to each other and there’s almost no dialogue. I thought that was such a cool thing to do as an actor. When you’re in a relationship and you’re trying to portray it through acting, it’s really shown through a lot of physicality and touching each other, or just showing that you’re interested in one another, but if you’re doing it through a hundred feet of separation, it creates this unique, interesting, fun way to approach it. I loved it. You really got to know these people’s personalities by just their faces and how their relationship was gonna play out by just whispers. I thought that was so fun and so cute. It created such a cute little moment.
I would imagine that a highlight of doing this project is the time that you got to spend in the scenes that you got to share with Donald Sutherland. What was it like to work with him and establish that dynamic in such a short amount of screen time?
POSEY: Oh, my God, it was so cool. He’s such a professional and such a legend and is still really passionate, even though he’s been doing it for so long. We rehearsed those scenes like crazy. He and I would go into his trailer and rehearse for hours so that we knew all of the nuances that we were gonna do when we were on camera. He had such a great time. He really loved this role. In the short amount of time that he and I got to work with each other, we made sure that we really just packed it full of everything – of nuances and fun choices. We really played off of each other really well. I loved working with him. It was so cool. It’s not often that you get to work with such a legend like that. I drank every moment in. I loved it. He was so fun. He got really comfortable with the crew. He started messing with the crew and telling jokes, and then would flip a switch right when they’d call, “Action!,” and he was just this crazy person. It was awesome.
There’s a lot of physicality to this role. Anytime you come into contact with anyone, you’re basically fighting for your life. Was there a most challenging scene or day, or does it all blur together when you’re doing that?
POSEY: Oh, man, there are definitely moments that stick out to me. It blurs together a little bit but you’re right, there was a lot physicality and we all got hurt a lot during this movie. There was one time, during the last scene, where I was fighting the big zombie. We had this choreographed fight scene and there was this one moment where I was supposed to push him or be pulled through a door – I can’t remember which – and we were doing it for so long that we got tired. We still gave it our all but I pulled him and the corner of the door hit his face and he immediately split his eyebrow open. There was blood everywhere and it was hard to see where the blood was coming from because his face was already covered with fake blood. We all got hurt but that moment sticks out to me because it was so physical. I had to climb this building multiple times, and I was attached to a harness and a tether. Even though they’re pulling you up, you’re still using a lot of your strength, and take after take after take, you just get really exhausted and tired. But I knew that going into it and I loved it. I loved it so much. It was great. If I didn’t walk away bleeding or with some sort of bruise, I felt like I didn’t do the day strong enough.
What’s next for you? Do you know what you’re going to be doing next, or are you figuring out how to get back on set at this point?
POSEY: Luckily, I’m filming a new movie that I’m excited about, and then I’ve got another one after that, so the work is still piling on and I’m excited to get back into it. I haven’t really done too much since quarantine. We did [Alone] before quarantine. So, I’m excited about it. I always wanna work. And I’ve got music coming out.
What is the movie that you’re doing?
POSEY: It’s a movie called Brut Force. And then, I have another movie called Oshie, which is this really cool, really personal project for the writer and director. It’s really intense. I’m really excited to break into it.
Obviously, as we get older, tastes change and what you want from your career changes in shifts. What is it that gets you excited about the work and about projects these days? What are you most interested in?
POSEY: Just constantly growing my resumé, not in the sense that I wanna keep doing projects, but with my characters. Usually, I try to find characters that are just completely different than anything I’ve ever played before. I’m gonna be playing this crazy meth addict in one of the movies, and in another one, I’m playing a double-crossing detective character but we’re doing it in a film noir way where the dialogue can be really quick-paced. I just wanna be creative and artistic. Even if it’s something that I’ve done before, I wanna give it my all and try to make it a little unique and try to make it a little bit different than something that I’ve done. Even if it’s a movie that’s not reinventing the wheel, I always wanna bring something unique and change it up a little bit. I will have fun doing anything, no matter what.
You definitely took quite a life journey doing Teen Wolf. You spent a good chunk of your 20s making that show. Looking back on it, how do you think that really shaped you as an actor?
POSEY: I know a lot of people don’t like to watch themselves acting but I wouldn’t have become a better actor without watching myself on that show. I watched every episode and I learned from my mistakes. There was such a wide range of stuff that I did on that show but it made me want to maybe not be the leader, or at least not so much a put together leader. Scott always had a plan of attack and a plan of action but I wanna be a little clumsy, like with Aidan in Alone. I love characters that learn on the fly, where I can learn with them.
One of the most special things about Teen Wolf was the relationship between Scott and Stiles, and the bond that you had with Dylan O’Brien. What did that relationship mean to you? Did it help that you had somebody like that throughout that whole experience?
POSEY: Oh, my God, yes. We were the same age when we started the show, we grew up together, we became best friends, we still are the best of friends, and we just had so many inside jokes with one another. With that kind of show, if you take yourself too seriously, one hundred episodes can be grueling and exhausting, but we never took ourselves too seriously, at all. We had the greatest time filming. We had jokes the entire time, but we also kicked ass in front of the camera. It was a perfect storm of everything. I loved it so much.
Is there a genre that you’d love to do, that you feel you haven’t gotten the opportunity to do, or a character from some sort of source material that you’d love to play?
POSEY: Yeah, I really wanna do Batman Beyond. There was a cartoon, years ago, called Batman Beyond, and I really wanna adapt that into a TV show. I wanna do that so bad. I think it would be a really cool spin on a younger Batman. I know Rob Pattinson is doing the new one right now and he’s younger but not as young as me. I think it would be cool to do a take on old Batman being this mentor to a younger Batman.
Is there a current TV series that you would love to do a guest spot on?
POSEY: The Boys would be awesome. I love The Boys. And The Office. I know that can never happen, but I’d love to be a guest on The Office.
There has been talk of a possible reunion or reboot of some sort with The Office, so you never know what could happen.
POSEY: Don’t get my hopes up!
Alone is available on-demand now, and on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital on October 20th.
Christina Radish is a Senior Reporter of Film, TV, and Theme Parks for Collider. You can follow her on Twitter @ChristinaRadish.