[Interview] Melissa Ponzio for TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE

[Interview] Melissa Ponzio for TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE
TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE l Paramount+
In TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE, a terrifying evil has emerged, and the wolves howl once again. Only a Werewolf like Scott McCall can gather both new allies and reunite trusted friends to fight back against what could be the most powerful and deadliest enemy. You can read more about the film HERE.

Ahead of the release of TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE, Nightmarish Conjurings’ Sarah Musnicky chatted with Melissa Ponzio, who portrays Melissa “Mama” McCall in the hit MTV series, TEEN WOLF, and has returned to reprise her role in TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE. Over the course of their conversation, they chatted about stepping back into the role of Melissa McCall, what she would like to explore if able to revisit the matriarchal role again, and what she’s learned from working in various genres.

How does it feel to see TEEN WOLF come to a proper end this time around?

Melissa Ponzio: I think that we were all at a bit of a loss when we got the call that season six was going to be our last season, just because we were having so much fun. We thought that with the creative writing that Jeff Davis does along with the entire writers’ room that we could go on for many more seasons, and it felt like MTV was home, and we were going to be there for a long time. So, I don’t want to say that it was abrupt because hey, not everybody gets 100 episodes, but we did feel like there was more story to tell. And so, to be able to come back [with] a good portion of the cast, and a good portion of the legacy of the show, to have this Teen Wolf movie coming out on Paramount has been a real gift, and we’re all so very grateful and thankful to have had the time together five years from where we left off and 15 years in the future in the movie. It’s been an amazing experience.

Were you all just invited back? Or how did you guys get involved with the actual film process? Because I know things are a little bit different with film versus TV.

Melissa Ponzio: First off, it was an amazing position to be in. That you’re on this amazing show, and then someone gives you the movie version of it. There was a little bit of an inkling, I don’t know if you remember at the beginning of the pandemic, they brought us all together because it was the 10-year anniversary of TEEN WOLF. We all did this really big Zoom thing for MTV. I remember Jeff being posed the question, could there be something next for TEEN WOLF, and he was like, um, well, it’s being shopped around. And I was like, what? He’s like, there’s some interest, and he was using his high voice. I know when Jeff uses his high voice something good is coming. So, it was always in the back of my mind. I can just speak from my own experience.

Then I personally got a call from Jeff saying that, if things were swirling around, and this might actually happen, and if so, would I be in? He couldn’t even finish the sentence before I said yes. And then he said, you have to keep it secret. This has to be a big secret. And I didn’t tell anybody. It was my little secret on the inside until they announced it. Because a lot of times, let’s be honest, things can be in the works, and then, for whatever reason, it doesn’t come to fruition. So that’s a lesson that I’ve also learned is that you keep that information private until it’s absolutely 100% greenlit, and even then, you’re still crossing your fingers.

So, to come this far and to be here with all my castmates again, it’s just been a wonderful, wonderful ride. We’re hoping that everybody tunes in and watches it on Paramount+. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, Sarah, but there’s a little bit of an opening there at the end that there may be more coming.

Still from TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE

With the opening you mention, what’s one thing if any, that you wish you could have explored with your character, Melissa McCall? She’s a great character, but also there’s always wiggle room for any type of exploration, regardless. Fanfiction is proof of that. [laughs]

Melissa Ponzio: Absolutely. Looking back, that’s the beauty of having some longevity on a show as actors as you know. Usually, it’s one episode. Maybe it’s a three-episode arc. Oh my gosh, you got six episodes, you feel like you’re on top of the world. So, to be able to actually have some presence over however many seasons and to be up there as one of the main characters in the way that you were there from the first episode until the end. What an amazing experience and what a lot of adventure within that show. I think that Jeff and the writers made a really calculated decision to bring the parents into the fold of the lore of TEEN WOLF in season two. When Scott reveals himself to Mama McCall, it’s a very poignant time for both of them and also on the show, and it enveloped us as parents to be more involved.

When I look back to your point, she did so much on that show, and was put in so many dangerous situations and somehow survived. It would be hard to ask for more, but the one thing that I always say that would be very interesting, as a nurse, is to somehow wake up in your own hospital as a patient. She runs Beacon Hills Memorial Hospital. I mean, she barely gets a day off. The only way that she could get a day off is if she was a patient in her own hospital. And so, I always thought that that would be very interesting, and we got a little bit of that at the end – no spoiler here – at the end of season six when she does end up in the hospital. We have that beautiful moment between mother and son there in the room. So, we had a little bit of it then. She’s run the gamut. At this point, anything is just a bonus.

Over the course of your career, you’ve gotten to play around with all different sorts of genres. I always like to ask this with people who go beyond just one genre, what have you learned from getting to hop around? What have you brought from one genre to another? So much of it can inform the other, especially once it blurs together.

Melissa Ponzio: Ultimately, in my opinion, you have to know who the audience is even outside of whatever the genre is on the show. What are they looking for, and are you able to deliver what they’re looking for and wanting? Especially on TV shows that they’re inviting you in. When you’re on a show, they’re inviting you into their own space, into their living room, or wherever they’re watching. Back in the day, once a week. Now streaming for a lay down eight-hour period of time. And so, just number one, I’m always thinking of the audience.

And then there’s a certain conserving of energy that you have to have, no matter across genre, when you’re really kind of held to the fire or there’s that culmination of action, in any genre that you’re doing. Whether it be like on “Chicago Fire,” you’re in a burning building, or you’re on TEEN WOLF, and a Kanima has you up in the corner of the room, strangling you in front of your son, you have to be prepared for the waves that happen throughout the day in the scene work that you’re doing. I think that that’s what’s taught me going back and forth between genres.

It’s really interesting to be on a show like “Army Wives,” where you’re sitting in, it’s maybe a garden party, and it’s the snooty back and forth between women that are envious of the other women that are going on the army base. That was my role back then. And so, that takes a certain amount of energy versus being on “The Walking Dead” and part of the Governor’s rampage and running around being very careful with the gun that they’ve given you. It’s an amazing journey now that it’s coming out of my mouth.

Post TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE, what are some other things that we can look out for?

Melissa Ponzio: Oh, right now, the second season of Bridgewater, which is a podcast that I’m involved in with Misha [Collins]. He and I have been working together on that for two seasons, and that’s been amazing. And then, I just did a really fun role with, I like to say this, this little-known actor by the name of Kevin Hart. He was in Atlanta doing some work and he has a project that has been picked up by Roku, called “Die Harter.” It’s a kind of a spoof on Die Hard, and he plays a wannabe action hero and I play his publicist, and Man oh man, you want to talk about a fun ride. Working with Kevin Hart was fun. He is a magician when it comes to comedy.

I’m just imagining you trying to reel him in as the publicist and I’m already sold.

Melissa Ponzio: That was a lesson. That was a lesson in energy. That was a lesson in comedy. He surrounds himself with people that he can bounce ideas off and riff. That to me is also a really fun part of what we do as actors, is to see the camaraderie and how either comedy or drama is made in between the takes with the collaboration, and he’s a great collaborator.


You can catch Melissa Ponzio as Melissa McCall in TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE. Now streaming on Paramount+.

Sarah Musnicky
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