The question on every Teen Wolf fans’ mind… What is Parrish? Like really, what is he… For quite some time we’ve been speculating over what our favorite beau Deputy Jordan Parrish is. When it comes to our supernatural world, anything is possible. Is he some sort of Pheonix, rising from the ashes? What about one of those chimeras the spooky Dread Doctors have been creating in their creeptastic lab? Hell, maybe he’s even Isaac Lahey’s (Daniel Sharman) long lost older brother, at this point who really knows where the writers will take this one.
Ryan Kelley, who plays the hunky police officer, says we’ll soon find out what Parrish is… and Kelley, who is as humble as he is charming knows that the fans have been waiting for this reveal for a while now (so he isn’t going to lie to us, ha!) The 28-year-old actor has without a doubt been making strides in the Teen Wolf fandom, winning over our hearts and even some of the hardcore Stydia (Stiles and Lydia) fans. Kelley, who can be seen on the hit MTV show protecting the citizens of Beacon Hills, all while having this secret supernatural life. Oh, and did we mentioned he’s got a budding romance going with our favorite Banshee? Yep, he’s got it goin’ on!
I chatted with Kelley about the big Parrish mystery, filming those naked (body shlepping) scenes in the cold woods, and a possible romance between his character and Lydia (Holland Roden). We even chatted about his big family, who are super supportive of his career and in fact, some of his younger siblings were fans of Teen Wolf even before he was on the show!
MCKENZIE MORRELL: This show is the first one where you’re a series regular. How does it feel to be a part of something in a more permanent capacity. People love this show and they really love your character.
RYAN KELLEY: First and foremost, I’m just glad that they like me. That’s the most important thing. If they didn’t, I’d have been killed off last season. Being a part of the mix and being in the show — even just being in my first season when I just had my toe in the water, the fans are incredible. It just gets magnified the more you appear on screen so it’s pretty interesting and it’s fun and crazy. It’s really cool just to sit back and watch the storm happen.
MM: We still don’t know what Parrish is but we’re waiting on the edge of our seats to find out. At this point, do you even know what he is?
RK: I do. I figured it out probably at the beginning of this season. I said this numerous times, I preferred it when I didn’t know because I was able to bounce ideas off fans and actually be able to put my input in and I would tell them “hey this is my personal opinion, I have no idea. I could be completely wrong.” Whereas now, I can’t do it because I’d be lying or misleading. It’s not as much fun now but I’m super excited for it to come out, just as much as anyone and it’s coming. That’s a huge part of my character so when that’s finally out, it’s a big thing for Parrish.
MM: We can’t wait. We’re waiting for it. So if you could be any supernatural being, it doesn’t have to be in the Teen Wolf realm, what would you be?
RK: I think I’d be superman. I want to be able to — flying is my ultimate — I think that would be just magical. It’d be super hard to pass up if someone gave me a super power and he also has super strength and I want both of those together.
MM: You mentioned we’d find out what Parrish is but your character is doing some creepy things with those bodies. Will we soon find out what he’s really up to and will that be connected to who you are being revealed for your character?
RK: I think everything that Parrish does that he’s been doing, good or bad, weird or not weird, is all geared toward his character and finding out who he is. Right now it seems pretty cool but it’s also puzzling. He’s doing some weird things that could potentially be bad. We just don’t really know. I think it’s pretty cool — in the beginning, Parrish is a deputy at the Sheriff’s station and that comes with certain responsibilities and you’re supposed to be a good citizen. And now it’s sort of getting into the fact where Parrish is maybe doing some weird things that aren’t potentially good or maybe you just don’t know right now. So it’s just a toss up and I think it’s a cool little dynamic that’s just adding to the confusion of “what is Parrish.”
MM: Right, I know. That was trending I think on Twitter. Technically, in these scenes you’re naked, walking through the woods, holding these heavy bodies. How was it filming those scenes? It seems like a bit of a challenge from just doing the deputy duties.
RK: It was terrible. I kept yelling at — jokingly yelling — whoever cast the body I had to carry “why can’t we get smaller people.” I had to carry a full body and then at the same time, to cover my no-no areas, I have to hold it down lower which isn’t natural — first of all, carrying a body like that isn’t natural anyway– but then to carry it lower where it’s on my forearms instead of my biceps — my biceps are obviously stronger than my forearms– so it was extremely hard. I was barefoot, in the woods. When I did it, it was raining so it was cold and it’s night time. We’re really in the woods so the whole thing was just — I’ve had easier days on Teen Wolf.
MM: Well the good part is, you make it look easy so that means you’re doing your job right.
RK: It’s all the editors. They make me look good.
MM: Do you think of the Dread Doctors? Do you watch the show back and think “man those things are frightening?” How do they compare to some of the other villains of the show’s past like bad Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) or the other villains we’ve encountered.
RK: They’re always so cool. I think any creature with a mask, where you can’t really see — kind of like the Oni — when you can’t see their facial expressions — and that’s in any aspect of life. If someone is wearing a mask, and you can’t read their face, humans rely on reading people’s face so much whether they’re good at it or not. But when you can’t see it at all, especially when they’re carrying around weird weapons that stick into your brain — even seeing in on camera is super creepy but seeing it on person when we’re filming, watching them walk two and from set, it’s kind of surreal. They’re super creepy looking. It makes you more excited for the episode because you’re like “wow, I’m seeing this right now and it’s so creepy.” Then I know when they put the final package together, how they’re doing the special effects where it skips a little forward or back or whatever their whole weird perspective is, it’s crazy. It’s super fun.
MM: I think what really hits with people is we’re used to having the werewolves running quickly or some of the other things being so fast and these characters are kind of just taking their time. So it’s even worse that there’s that build up that they really have been focusing on this part of the season. I think that makes it even greater.
RK: Yeah it’s extra eerie. They walk slow, methodical, with a plan, a purpose. They have no regard for life. They just kill you. The whole thing sends shivers down your back.
MM: To lighten things up a little bit, it seems there are some hints on screen of Parrish and Lydia getting together. How have the fans been? Have they been overly positive on twitter about the pairing? I know there are some hardcore Stiles and Lydia fans still holding out for something to happen so hopefully you’re not getting too much hate.
RK: In terms of Stiles and Lydia, there’s such a rollercoaster. There are people that are all about it, people that hate it. They’re all about whether it’s Stiles and Lydia or even going back to Colton [Haynes]. In terms of Teen Wolf, people have ships that they’re all about and they’re super passionate about it. The one thing I will say is as much hatred as I get for it sometimes, a lot of times it’s still “look, we don’t want you together but if it has to be someone besides Stiles, we don’t mind you.” And it’s like okay, you don’t hate me so much. It hasn’t been too bad. It has been fun watching any love interest that people want together. Even the crazy ones. It’s like what? You’re passionate about that? Really? That’s not going to happen.
MM: What do you think about this whole shipping craze? People are really into it. Had you known what a ship was before you took this role on Teen Wolf?
RK: I knew a little bit of it. I didn’t know the magnitude of the lengths certain fans go to to show their appreciation of certain ships. It’s astounding how they’re devoted to fan art or tumblr accounts. They’re amazing. The time and effort that’s put into these accounts or whatever is incredible. I think it’s amazing. I think it’s cool people are so passionate about it. It’s better people are passionate about it than not. I’d much rather have people be doing weird fan art or awesome fan art for things that aren’t even plausible but at least they’re excited in some way for some aspect of the show.
MM: I totally agree. It means they are committed to the show and you guys hopefully get to make more seasons, so that’s a good thing. If given the chance, which character on the show would you swap places with for a day?
RK: For a day? Wow, okay. My go to answer always is my boss. Right now, I’d be Theo (Cody Christian). I’m in love with his character. I think he constantly pulls at your heart. You hate him one minute and then the next scene you’re like I kind of like him. Then you flip it again and you’re like “oh he’s creepy.” I think he’s doing a wonderful job as the character. He’s an amazing, young, talented actor. As a fan, I’m intrigued with this character and seeing where he goes. I wouldn’t mind being in that mindset for the day.
MM: We all are in your position. We’re all kind of like “I love you, I hate you. We don’t know what you’re here for. We’re confused.” I recently learned that you have an unusually large family. I think that family is super important so with that said, what do your family members think of you being on screen and shirtless all the time — kidding. Joking aside, are they supportive of your acting career?
RK: The are. I grew up doing it since I was a little kid so whether they wanted to be supportive or not, they were stuck with it. My older siblings sort of paved the way for me a little bit. They didn’t enjoy it as much as I did to where it was high school sports or local theater where I was like “no, I want to audition and be in Los Angeles.” I’ve kind of grown up with it and as far as being on Teen Wolf, I have some younger siblings who actually enjoy the show. So it’s cool to be a part of a show that my siblings watched before I was ever on it. It’s just cool, you know? It’s another way for them to look up to me. As far as the shirtless thing, my whole life I’ve hated shirts. I walked around the house when I was a kid without shirts on. My mom would always make me put on a shirt. At dinner she’d always yell at me that we’re not allowed to sit at the table without putting a shirt on so they’re used to that.
MM: Was there a moment in your life where something just clicked and you knew that you wanted to be acting for a long time to come?
RK: Yeah, I was starting my sophomore year of high school. I always enjoyed acting but sophomore year of high school was the beginning of people telling me “you better start thinking about your future, college” this and that. Just like every kid and I was a sophomore and I had no idea. I was a senior in college and I had no idea. Twenty years old and people would ask if I didn’t do acting and I was like “I have no idea.” People asked me all the time and I didn’t have an answer for them. Here I was on a set, doing something that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was just non stop and being challenged as an individual. It was just fun and I remember looking around at one point and being like “wait I can do this for a living? I kind of want to try to do this.” And then, from that point on, I just had the mind state of this is what I want to do with my life.
MM: Now, if you could have anyone from another showjoin forces with Parrish, who would you want to come visit Beacon Hills?
RK: One of my favorite characters is Daryl on The Walking Dead so I would probably want him to come. Norma Reedus with his crossbow, bow and arrow to come help me out with some werewolves. I’m sure he could track the werewolves fairly easy.
MM: That would be so cool. I’m a big fan of that show, so I’m on board for that. To wrap up the interview, I’d like to play a few rounds of would you rather. So are you ready for it?
MM: If you guest starred on The Walking Dead, would you rather be a zombie or the guy kicking zombie butt but who ultimately gets eaten?
RK: I’d pick the guy who kicks zombie butt who ultimately gets eaten because then he turns into a zombie so you get to be both of them.
MM: Would you rather go a month without your phone or a month without coffee?
RK: Normally, that would be an easy question, it would be my phone. As of lately, season five, I have no idea why — I think it’s more night shifts. I got addicted to coffee and now I need it every morning. Oh man. I’m going to pick my phone but that’s very hard.
MM: So now, would you rather have a bad storyline and stay on a show for years or an amazing storyline and get killed off in months.
RK: A bad story and go forever, if I enjoy the show which I do on Teen Wolf.
MM: Wonderful. Well you’ve got good storylines so you should be good on both ends. Would you rather eat a whole pizza or a burrito?
MM: Lastly, do you have any other projects coming out that you want the fans to look out for?
RK: No, right now I”m on hiatus but we start back up in a week so it’s just a mini hiatus. We don’t have time for anything, just between 5A and 5B. So I’m back full fledged, getting in Teen Wolf shape to start shooting the second half of Teen Wolf season five and to hopefully continue finding out what Parrish is.