“I’m straight, but I kiss my friends all the time,” Tyler Posey says, though quick to clarify: “Like, on the cheeks.” The 23-year-old star of MTV’s Teen Wolf — he plays the often shirtless, high school werewolf Scott McCall — is talking about the bond he shares with his male friends that goes beyond the macho competiveness often associated with bromances. “I think best friends do do that shit,” he adds.
This kind of open attitude — which he attributes to his “very liberal” upbringing in Santa Monica, Calif. — is also seen to a certain extent on screen with his co-star Dylan O’Brien, who plays Scott’s sarcastic best friend Stiles Stilinski. Over the course of Teen Wolf’s five seasons, the two have formed a bond that has quickly become the core relationship of the MTV series as the two characters have grown up together.
“I honestly believe that Dylan and I created that character relationship,” Posey says. “If it were different characters on the show — if different actors were cast as our roles — it wouldn’t be the same. We have given so much life to the relationship and it’s very much us. We just love each other.”
“It’s easy for us to be best friends,” he adds. (The sentiment wasn’t lost on O’Brien, who during the 2015 Comic-Con in San Diego, told fans: “We are just like brothers.”)
Of course, this bond has become a hit among gay and female viewers who constantly ship the pair in fan fiction, which goes beyond the limits of what the show explores. But Posey admits he doesn’t read any of it, finding it distracting from the storylines that exist on screen.
He welcomes the fandom — and how often he and the rest of the male cast have to shed their clothes.
In fact, creator Jeff Davis says that Teen Wolf has helped usher in our current era of “male exploitation,” giving a new generation of fans something to drool over. “[Growing up] there was never any female gaze or gay male gaze, so it’s time to objectify men,” Davis tells Out. “It’s actually liberating because men are treated just as harshly.”
The only issue he might have with the shirtless nature of the series is the limit it places on getting more tattoos. With 19 scattered all over his body, only his chest and arms remain fairly untouched. “I do want to be covered eventually,” he says when the series is over (a sixth season was just announced). Until then, when it comes to his pecs, he’ll stick to temporary ones.
While Posey doesn’t take any of scrutiny too seriously, he does admit it has affected some of his co-stars. “If a role really calls for me to work out a lot, then I will,” he says. “Tyler Hoechlin works out more than anybody I’ve ever seen. And he gets carried away with it. It kind of consumes him, and he freaks out sometimes.”
With Posey and O’Brien’s bromance and Hoechlin — he plays older werewolf Derek Hale — supplying the muscle, not to mention all the gay characters who have passed through the series, it’s no wonder Teen Wolf is a hit among LGBT fans. (If there’s any doubt, check out the “10 Gayest Moments in 6 Episodes of ‘Teen Wolf.’”)
“I love how all our characters are so accepting of [the LGBT community],” Posey says, adding: “We do stand behind what the show believes in… I love people embracing themselves.”