"[When] I was twelve turning thirteen, I remember I was auditioning for Man of Steel and I'd never worked out a day in my life," Dylan Sprayberry confides towards the end of our conversation. He wound up booking the brief but legendary role of young Clark Kent, inspiring him to do whatever he could to fulfill the role. "It's supposed to be, you know, young Superman so why not?" he adds with a laugh. He hired a trainer, who he still works with to this day, and found himself fascinated by a kickboxing class his trainer taught.
Unfortunately, not everybody was on board with his ambitions. "My mom wouldn't let me because she didn't want me to get hurt; she didn't want me to break anything before I started filming. The fact that I couldn't do it made me want to do it so bad." Immediately after the role wrapped, he catapulted straight to the gym and signed up for the class.
Fortunately for Sprayberry, his athletic achievements readied him for the next phase in his career as newcomer werewolf Liam Dunbar in MTV's Teen Wolf franchise. The show was an instant hit for the network, helping move the channel from its Jersey Shore and Teen Mom reality show days into a teen-focused scripted series powerhouse. Sprayberry first auditioned for the show years earlier in a bid to portray a younger version of Tyler Hoechlin's antagonist-turned-ally Derek Hale. While he didn't land the role, Sprayberry suspects they may have written the new character with him in mind. "When I was younger my acting had this kind of angsty, young rage to it, which I still have, but for some reason that was really what I played into," he shared about his original auditions. "We both have this kind of I guess struggle, not struggle as in I have a hard time doing the right thing, but just always making sure that I can do the right thing and what's the best decision possible to make to make sure that I keep my morals on track; what I can do to be the least reckless in my ways and that's something I really care about. I care about leaving a good impression, I care about taking care of the people around me and I think Liam has those traits as well."
His popularity among the Teen Wolf franchise exploded after his first episode on the series, quickly garnering him a worldwide following of young fans. His followers quickly jumped to a half million on Instagram and he now sits at a cool 1.5 million. The full reach of the show hit him on a trip to a convention in Birmingham, where the show doesn't air on traditional television. Fans have to download the show at home in order to catch the latest episodes. "They're like an underground fandom over there which is really cool." While his fans may be technologically adept, the 17 year-old actor isn't as in tune when it comes to electronics.
"I'm very bad with technology. I'm one of those people that, if you knew me very personally, you might think that I was born in the wrong era 'cause I suck at using my phone," he candidly admits. "I try to," he adds, "because I have so many fans out there that are very loyal to me as an actor and as an artist. They deserve to see what's going on with me and I want to keep them updated. They're so invested in the show and in me and they have so much belief in me that they deserve to see those kind of things." Where he lacks involvement in the social media realm, the team behind Teen Wolf abates fans' desires with the online After After Show. Fans can submit questions and requests to the cast and crew via Twitter, sending in ideas from staring contests to seeing how many noises Sprayberry can can make in a three minute timespan. "It's got an SNL vibe sometimes because they'll come up with little skits and have us come in and [be] like, 'Just do what you want to do here.'"
His creative muscles stretch beyond the screen. Prior to joining the cast, he was in a rock band called The Dead Toms, its namesake inspired by his distaste for the cat from Tom & Jerry. "Pop punk is very close to my heart because it's one of the only music things out there right now being really creative. They're using their knowledge as musicians and artists to actually make music that I like and that I can relate to because if it doesn't have a guitar it's hard for me to connect with it." Just as they were finishing a set and gearing up to perform, "I ended up booking Teen Wolf and I was like, 'Oh shit. I don't know if we're going to be able to keep doing this,' and I told them that straight up. I don't want to hold you guys back from doing anything because this is really important to you, and it is to me, but I need to go fulfill what I've been trying to do for a lot longer which is my acting career so I just told them straight up."
Fortunately for Sprayberry, he is surrounded by a cast and crew of creatives almost every day who are willing to collaborate whenever an idea comes to mind. Despite holding out on details, he and co-star Tyler Posey recently shot a short film where he acts and Posey directs. "It's kind of in the vein of dry, dark humor that we're not really being funny but the storyline that's happening around it makes it very funny," he teases. "As an actor, I'm very interested in history so I love different eras and seeing what I could do with that like the 1950s. I did a greaser look and then doing something from WWI and just random stuff, coming up with new ideas. I've been working with a photographer named Tyler Shields who's amazing. We've become really good friends. [We] feed off each other's energy. We'll get random ideas [and] take pictures without even the intent of it going anywhere, just because it's fun and because we like being creative and making interesting things."
Teen Wolf is set to return in the summer. "The surprises [are] even bigger and the monsters get scarier," he hints. "There's more dire situations in every season and I think that's why it gets so much more intense. It's getting sadder and it's getting more serious." While it may sound like doom and gloom are on the horizon for the citizens of Beacon Hills, fans of the romance aspect of Teen Wolf have something to look forward to. "There will definitely be more romance with Liam and Hayden this season," he confirms. Maybe life as a supernatural werewolf won't be so bad after all.