Native New Yorker Dylan O’Brien was just another teenager until a series of homemade YouTube videos caught flame. Riding high on his YouTube success, at 19-years-old, O’Brien took a leap of faith and chose to pursue an acting career rather than college. Soon after that decision, O’Brien was cast in the series remake of the 1985 movie Teen Wolf, as well as 2012’s teen romance flick The First Time. We chatted up the MTV star on the differences between life in New York and LA and how he parlayed a YouTube hobby into a full-fledged acting career.
Do you miss the east coast? DYLAN O’BRIEN: Everyday. It’s just like… Things make sense over there.
What does New York have that LA can’t touch? DO: Where do I start? Chinese food, pizza, bagels… My favorite pizza place is Sutton Pizza. My favorite bagel place is actually a bagel place in New Jersey called Bagels 4U.
For the role of Stiles, did you take any cues from Jerry Levine’s 1985 portrayal of the character? DO: It’s got to be different and it’s got to be reinvented for the next generation. But, with that said, I think there are certain things that Stiles needs to have, which Jerry Levine, obviously, is the originator of. He’s got to be cool, but in a weird way.
Have you always wanted to act? DO: I guess on some level, but I never really thought it was a realistic thing until it just kind of happened to me. I guess I had always been toying around with a camera and making my own little videos since I was ten.
Right. You have a YouTube claim to fame. DO: Yeah, my YouTube videos. That was just something that I liked to do. And I didn’t want anybody to see. God forbid if any of my friends saw, or anyone from my school. I was terrified to put it on YouTube.
How did you go from YouTube to MTV? DO: This woman came to a little league game I was coaching [and] said she had seen my videos and asked if I wanted to be a part of a web series that she was doing. That was my first “acting” experience, I guess. They basically told me they would take me on and send me on auditions. I just had stuff to reconsider and I went home and I talked about it with my parents. I decided that I wasn’t going to go to Syracuse University, which is where I was intending on going.
It sounds like you made the right decision. DO: Yeah, and now I’m acting every day. I just got off my first lead in a movie. It was just incredible.