Teen Wolf: The Movie & Wolf Pack Second Unit Director On Building Werewolf Worlds

Stunt professional Chris Brewster has had quite a career in stunt work and fight choreography, with an unusually high number of wolf-related credits to his name. Previously working as a stunt man and coordinator on MTV’s series Teen Wolf, Brewster would return as the second unit director for 2023’s Teen Wolf: The Movie, which is now streaming on Paramount+. He would then make the leap to the same role for the new series Wolf Pack, which also can be seen on Paramount+, with new episodes debuting on Thursdays through March 9, 2023.

Teen Wolf: The Movie continues the story of the Teen Wolf series, with the show’s core cast returning, including Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, Tyler Hoechlin, and many others from the show’s werewolf-heavy mythos. Wolf Pack, meanwhile, similarly involves werewolves but establishes its own story and characters. As second unit director for both projects, Brewster goes deep to bring the animal-like stunts and fight scenes of both to life.

Screen Rant spoke to Brewster on his role as the second unit director for both Teen Wolf: The Movie and Wolf Pack, designing the stunts and fight scenes of both projects, along with some other projects he has in the works.

Chris Brewster Talks Jeff Davis’ Werewolf Worlds

How did you come aboard Teen Wolf: The Movie and Wolf Pack as stunt coordinator and second unit director?

Chris Brewster: I worked on the Teen Wolf TV show, and I did a little bit of everything. I got to play a couple of small characters, and I doubled almost every one of the actors throughout the show. So, I worked on it a lot, and eventually, I was fight coordinating and stunt coordinating some of the episodes, and I got to really build up a relationship with all of the cast and crew.

Not only did they bring back the majority of the cast for the show, but they brought back the majority of the entire crew. It was like a giant family reunion, which was pretty incredible. After doing the TV show, I’d actually worked with a bunch of the producers on several other projects, so when we made the feature film, it’s kind of a perfect little, well-rounded symmetry. They asked me if I wanted to come in and work on the film, and there was absolutely no question, I was like ‘I have to do this, definitely!’

Was Teen Wolf: The Movie done back-to-back with Wolf Pack?

Chris Brewster: We literally finished Teen Wolf: The Movie, and the following week, we were working on Wolf Pack, and then we were even doing the reshoots for Teen Wolf: The Movie at the same time as filming Wolf Pack, so it was non-stop and straight through.

When you’re designing stunts and fights for something like Teen Wolf, what is the process, and how is it different from other projects you’ve worked on?

Chris Brewster: Well, to be honest, every show has a completely different prep, all depending on the elements involved. So, sometimes you get the actors well, well in advance, and you’ve got the scheduling and availability to actually do a lot of rehearsals, and a lot of times, production will have the stunt coordinator come in early and design all of the action way ahead of filming, so that we have time to teach the actors the choreography.

Usually, we pre-viz every moment of the action, which is basically our stunt concept video where we film what the action could look like, and then we present it to the director and the producers and the actors, and if there’s any notes, we take those notes, and we all kind of mesh our ideas together so that when we actually go to camera, we know exactly what we’re doing, we know where the camera angles are going to be, and it makes it much more fluid and you get a lot more bang for your buck that way.

In the case of both Teen Wolf and Wolf Pack, we had very, very, very little prep, so we had to go a different path when it comes to all of the action design. Normally, we create within the stunt team first and bring the actors in, and kind of teach them the choreography and they have time to kind of let it marinate and sink into their heads, and they normally have plenty of time to take that choreography and kind of add the body to the skeleton. They are able to put their character on top of the movements, and we just rehearse the dance over and over and over, so that by the time we get to camera, it’s just super, super easy for them to let the muscle memory take over and just focus on the scene.

Because we didn’t have any prep this time, what we had to do was the stunt team designed all these little pockets of action, and they were pieces of choreography that we could very easily characterize. So, if we take a 10 move fight sequence, and if we were going to use those 10 moves for Allison, we would put a bow in our hands and run some choreography and adapt it to having in a bow in your hand and shooting arrows throughout the same movements. Or, if any of the werewolves are doing the fight, obviously, rather than any kind of punching, it would be clawing and big, wide movements. So, we were able to take the little segments of action that we had pre-designed, and then every day, we would pretty much build the body onto those, and we were able to create the action, get the actors dialed in, and literally have it all rehearsed and perfected in under an hour.

Tyler Hoechlin has gone on to be Superman on Superman & Lois, which has its own physical demands with its big action scenes. With Tyler returning to Teen Wolf, has there been any big change in how he does stunts and fight scenes? Has being Superman changed his performance on the show in terms of the physical aspect of it?

Chris Brewster: To be completely honest, Hoechlin has been built like Superman since working on Teen Wolf. He’s incredibly fit now, but he’s always been incredibly fit. I think the only difference is that on Teen Wolf, he only had a few years of doing action on camera under his belt, and now, after many years of doing action not only on Teen Wolf but also as Superman, he’s definitely even more polished than he was.

I feel like with experience, you get a certain level of performance, you’re able to stack punches wherever the camera is, and you almost build up a sixth sense for where that camera is. So, as you’re moving throughout an action sequence, you know right where to put everything, you know exactly how to sell each reaction. He was always really, really good at action, and he’s even better now.

In designing the stunts and the action of Teen Wolf: The Movie and Wolf Pack, what are some of your personal favorites in terms of the complexity and stand-out elements for you as second unit director?

Chris Brewster: Literally, the most exciting experience on Wolf Pack was the finale, especially the final fight. Jeff Davis is the showrunner, he wrote everything and he literally created both the Teen Wolf and Wolf Pack universes, so nobody has a more clear vision of every element than he does. He directed the final episode in addition to writing and showrunning and everything.

Getting to work side-by-side with him was an incredible experience. I feel like not only is he the master of everything that he does, but he is also so collaborative in what he does that he will work side-by-side with every single department, and his energy and attitude elevates everybody. I just feel like working alongside him in the finale episode, I got to learn a whole lot, I got to have a lot of fun, and I think the final episode is one of the best episodes of TV that you’ll ever see.

In coming back to the Teen Wolf world, how would you say your approach or the general approach to stunts and fights and action on the show has evolved from Teen Wolf to Teen Wolf: The Movie and Wolf Pack?

Chris Brewster: Well, with every movie and TV show, every year, action cinematography advances, just like every element of entertainment. What I’ve seen evolving over the last few years is the camera movements being an actual character, whereas way back in the day and even into the Teen Wolf years, cameras were a lot more static, and it had a very different feel and different energy, but it was a lot easier to sell choreography. Anytime you’re stacking a move, it was a lot easier to sell, because you knew exactly where the camera was at all times, so as long as you put a move right here, it will sell always.

Now, we’ve grown to where the camera moves to accentuate the movements, and accentuate the choreography, so it looks a million times better, but it’s a lot harder to design for a moving camera, and to perform for as moving camera. What we were able to do is kind of configure the dance so that every move stacked wherever the camera was, and we taught the actors the choreography, already having a mindset of ‘The camera will do this, we’re going to sell this move here, this move here, this move here, and then this is going to be the impact shot, so this where we’re going to sell this one for.’ I think that it’s definitely a fun advancement in the ways action sequences are designed.

Is there any talk about where the Teen Wolf and Wolf Pack universes could go next?

Chris Brewster: Well, there’s a lot of talks. Both Teen Wolf and Wolf Pack were amazing to work on, the fans obviously love both of them. I read that Teen Wolf was the number one most viewed film that Paramount+ has ever had in the first 24 hours, and something just like that for Wolf Pack. Obviously, the fans love it as much as I do.

Honestly, the cast and the crew of both Teen Wolf and Wolf Pack are amazing, and I would love to continue to keep going and keep growing with both of them. With Teen Wolf, I’ve now been friends with the cast and crew for a decade, and it’s like a really, really wonderful family reunion when we see each other. If we do a hundred Teen Wolf movies, I would love to be a part of every single one of them.

You’re also building a stunt training facility, and you’ve also got your directorial debut coming up. What can you share about those?

Chris Brewster: Well, we are trying to build a stunt training facility here in Atlanta. I grew up training at 87 Eleven, which is the Mecca of the stunt world. There are so many absolute legends who grew up training there, and I want to reproduce that on the East coast. 87 Eleven started with a whole bunch of incredible stunt performers who just love to work together. They were a stunt team that worked very, very well side-by-side, and they grew as a team, and as the team grew, the opportunities grew, and they went from just performing to coordinating to second unit directing to directing, and now they are producing and literally just on top of the entire action world.

It’s very inspiring, so we are building a stunt facility here in Atlanta where myself and my stunt team will be training and doing everything we can to train the next generation, and the next generation, of stunt people. There’s a lot of work, and I think that the more we can build the future stunt performers, the more it’s just going to elevate the entire business. Alongside with that as I build more into directing everything in that respect, I’ll have a lot more people to pull from anytime I need action performers and stunt performers for whatever projects I’m doing.

My directing debut will be this year, I’m filming Relentless, and I’m very excited about that. Getting into second unit directing is incredible. I have such a passion for just telling a story, and I learned how to tell a story through movement. When you’re doing a fight scene, every single punch is like a line of dialogue. You’re always telling that story with every move you do, it’s not just action for the sake of action, and as I got more and more invested into storytelling, I learned that you can have the most beautiful choreography in the world, and if it’s not captured the right way, you’re not really telling a story.

I learned not only how to tell the story within the movement, but also how you capture the movement, so it’s just growing into more and more of a passion for storytelling, and I’m going to carry on into not only filming action but filming everything. It think the same rules apply. You can’t just shoot an empty space for no reason. Every single frame of your movie or TV show needs to be done with a purpose, and you have to tell a story with every single choice you make. It’s a very fun canvas to paint on!

Read some of our other Teen Wolf and Wolf Pack interviews and our previous interview with Chris Brewster below:

Wolf Pack Interview: Armani Jackson & Bella Shepard Tyler Posey & Crystal Reed Reflect On Teen Wolf: The Movie Action Designer Chris Brewster Interview: Black Adam

Teen Wolf: The Movie and Wolf Pack are now streaming on Paramount+.