After years of being defined by “reality” programs like Teen Mom and Jersey Shore, MTV has finally started successfully branching out into scripted programming. Leading the pack is Teen Wolf, which recently was picked up for a third season of 24 episodes – double the episode count of previous seasons.
During its first two seasons, the show filmed in and around the Atlanta area. One second-season episode, “Frenemy,” filmed at Jungle and included a cameo from local drag icon, Phoenix. With its third season pickup, though, the show will be moving production to Los Angeles.
One actress who won’t be making the move with the show to LA is Eaddy Mays. Mays, who’s also made appearances in films including The Blind Side and Madea’s Witness Protection, became a breakout character in Teen Wolf’s second season as her character, Victoria Argent, became increasingly ferocious. Her storyline culminated in the second season episode “Party Guessed,” which found Victoria committing suicide in order to avoid turning into a werewolf.
David Atlanta recently spoke with Mays about her time on Teen Wolf, the issues that come with filming in Georgia, and her heavy involvement in social media.
What was your reaction to your final arc on Teen Wolf?
It’s an interesting thing we actors have to do when we portray a villain or when our character does something that we personally disagree with or would never do. People who do terrible things in real life have a twisted justification for what they are doing. Likewise, as Victoria I had to justify somehow what I was doing. So, it was not “suicide” to Victoria, but rather “self-sacrifice” for the greater good of my daughter, my family and all humans…a kind of odd form of euthanasia, if you will. But when I read the script, I did not want it to end like this. I knew I was going to die – I had to! You can see all season I had been slipping into a more and more demented state and you cannot try and kill the main character in the story and not pay a price. But I had trouble with how it was going to happen.
As I said, none of us actors on Teen Wolf ever “knows” anything about the show until we get the script, but in the case of [“Party Guessed”], where I choose to end my life rather than become a werewolf, the show’s creator, executive producer Jeff Davis, sent me an email a few minutes before he had his assistant release the script to all of us cast and crew via email. He wanted to soften the blow for me, as it were. He was lovely, gracious and a model for professionalism and courtesy; I admire the man tremendously and am grateful for this thoughtfulness and foresight.
Is there a possibility that we’ll see you again on the show in some capacity?
As far as if there is a possibility that I will return to the show in some capacity. It’s Teen Wolf – anything is possible. No one knows anything for sure on this project; they even shot two endings to season two! I used to pull my car over to the side of the road to read a script the minute it came into my email inbox. I may be in the show, but I am also a fan of the show and I couldn’t wait to read what was going to happen next!
I will say this, though. If you know your Teen Wolf shape-shifter lore, then you know that because I was bitten by an Alpha, and because my eyes glowed yellow in transformation during a full-moon, and because I was not killed by any of the established methods of killing a werewolf, it is possible…unless, of course, Gerard cut me in half in the basement or something and the audience didn’t see it. You just never know, and that’s part of why Teen Wolf is so wonderful and Jeff Davis is so brilliant. Like my mother always said, “Always leave ‘em wanting more.”
A lot of Teen Wolf fans consider you to be the scariest person on the show. Do you think that’s an accurate description of Victoria?
Most of the fans consider me to be the scariest person on television, not just the show! But I take your point. And, yes, I do think that’s an accurate description. Victoria Argent is certainly the scariest mom on TV…perhaps ever. I think that is because we viewers can accept that werewolves are violent, scary, unpredictable, and dangerous…they’re werewolves, we expect them to be such. But when we see a human, particularly a female, which we traditionally associate with a more nurturing side of any species, behave in an unpredictable, violent, vengeful, and intense manner, it makes us question our own humanity, and fear what we ourselves are capable of becoming once driven over the edge.
Of your scenes in the show, what do you personally think is your most memorable scene?
I doubt my answer will surprise you: it is unequivocally the scene where I put a kitchen knife into my chest. Maybe why it is my most memorable scene will surprise you: rather than the appalling deed itself, it is the raw, vulnerable humanity of the moment that is utterly wrenching. One of my favorite things people say to me of that scene is some variation of, “Even though I hated you and wanted you to die, I was bawling when you actually did it!” They were grief stricken when the moment happened.
I truly believe it’s because we can all relate to the despair of being forced to leave the ones we love and we mourn the effect that our loss will have on them. As an actor, it is glorious to be gifted with such a scene that is capable of evoking hugely poignant and conflicted emotions in the viewer. Working with JR Bourne, who was willing to be fully “present” in that intense moment was magnificent. And having a splendidly supportive crew in every department was outstanding. I can’t imagine a greater career joy. It was a quintessential acting moment for me.
During your time on the show, Teen Wolf filmed in Georgia. Can you tell me a little bit about filming in Georgia, and how it’s maybe different from filming in other locations?
Filming in Georgia is very…unique. Unfortunately, “local” talent is often considered subpar, and that attitude is reflected both on-set and off-set by industry members, cast and/or crew from who aren’t from here. I know that’s a generalization, but I say it anyway. Many of us who work in this business and started in the South strive to change this pre-judgment, and I think, I hope, it’s working. Time will tell. Plus, the fact that Georgia is a “right to work” state often causes confusion and diminished strength among local actors. All this makes the entertainment industry in this region quite…distinctive. I’m guarding my words, as you can tell. I’m passionate about this subject and I could rant, but I won’t. Just don’t ask me about it in person over coffee or something unless you have a lot of time.
You’re definitely active in social media, particularly Twitter. What’s it like engaging with fans in such a direct fashion?
I love it! It’s truly one of the best things about this career. The fact that I get to know direct from these folks that when I brought a character and a world to life in a way that impacted them is priceless. I will qualify my comments by saying that I am a bit spoiled: Teen Wolf has the most wonderful fans you could ever imagine. [They are] loyal, creative, passionate, smart…I love being able to Tweet with them or post on Instagram or reblog on Tumblr.
Season three of Teen Wolf will be coming sooner than later, and it’s doubling its episode count to boot. Do you have anything you can tell us about the third season?
I have been told that one thing will happen, and fans will love it! But I can’t tell you anything about it. Torture, I know. Sorry. It’s my Victoria Argent side coming out. Plus, as I mentioned already, no one can really say what will and will not happen, except the enigmatic Jeff Davis. I will say, season three picks up four months after where season two ended, there’s definitely more romance, and the theme of the show may be one of the elements.