For a self confessed geek of all things sci-fi, fantasy and horror, Keahu Kahuanui couldn’t have picked a better way to make waves in the acting world. Keahu plays Danny Mahealani on MTV’s popular series Teen Wolf, which is the perfect geek package tied together with a neat little bow. You have your sci-fi (the supernatural happenings), the fantasy (werewolves) and the horror (don’t get us started on the suspense), so what more could the guy ask for?
During his down time, Keahu has found plenty of ways to keep himself busy with DIY projects, photography and creating jaw dropping cosplay costumes for conventions. When we sat down with Keahu, he told us a little more about his expansive list of hobbies, and talked about what to expect from the rest of the season…
The Daily Quirk: Let’s start at the beginning. I’ve heard the moment you got “discovered” as an actor and your journey to landing the role on Teen Wolf is a pretty good story. Could you tell us a bit about that?
Keahu Kahuanui: Yeah, sure. It’s less discovered, more of just right place, right time. It just happened like anything else would happen when someone wants to pursue something. It just depends on if you’re ready to take the opportunity when it comes up at the time. For me it happened that I was visiting L.A. a lot on the weekends when I was working full time, and it just so happened I met Jeff Davis, the creator. At the time, he was still preparing to shoot the pilot and was just asking me about logistics. You know, our friendship grew and we had a mutual friend who was looking to cast a replacement for the role of Jackson because they weren’t sure if Colton would come back. They asked me if I was interested in putting in a tape, so I put in a tape for Jackson. And then he came back to me with, ‘Hey, Colton is coming back and we’re not sure if the casting for that would be great so we’re… we still want to keep you on the show, so let me know what you think of this role.’ And that role was Danny. I read the first two scripts and it was perfect job for me, and the rest is history. Here I am four seasons later and I’m still alive!
TDQ: As Stiles says, ‘Everybody loves Danny,’ but what was it about the character that made you want to take on the role?
KK: I didn’t have all of that much to go from because it was only the first two scripts that were out at the time, and there wasn’t much of a description. But the description that I had, which was actually very enlightening… What I liked is that the character was not stereotypical. I could tell the way he talked about it that he had big plans, and I just had a vision about the character. I liked where he was going and what he had in mind. And then, also, it was recurring, and I was like, ‘Hey, if I can be on more than one episode? Absolutely.’
TDQ: What’s it been like working on Teen Wolf? Is it fun to film and how’s the cast dynamic?
KK: Working on the show, in general, is always fun. I always look forward to work, even if things are a little chaotic sometimes. We’ve got so much going on, especially between seasons it can get a little crazy, but overall we have a great time. It’s very relaxed, the crew is amazing and the cast is fun. You’re pretty well taken care of, and there’s been a lot of cool stuff going on between the special effects and the make up and the costumes. Even when you’re on set waiting to shoot scenes, you’re still, there is still so much to explore on set. There is always something to do.
TDQ: And what about your dynamic specifically with Dylan O’Brien who plays Stiles? What’s it like working with him?
KK: Oh he’s a riot, he’s crazy. We all love him, and he’s always cracking jokes and screwing around. He works really hard, sometimes, between him and Tyler Posey, I mean they work every day – long days sometimes. Even with the long days that we work, it’s always fun.
TDQ: The winter premiere of Teen Wolf Season 3B debuted in early January and it became the most watched telecast in the history of the series. That’s really exciting. What was that moment like for you?
KK: Yeah it was pretty amazing. I mean, I feel like you don’t know how long it’s going to endure and how resilient it’s going to be over time. But as the fans have proven, they are extremely dedicated and we have such an amazing fan base that I was excited both to know that the show will go on and that I definitely have job security [laughing].
TDQ: From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like there may be some Danny and Ethan drama this season. Can you tell us anything about that?
KK: So, I feel like love stories, most TV love stories, there are usually some speed bumps in the road. And between Ethan constantly disappearing, hiding secrets, the fact that Danny still doesn’t know he’s a werewolf, and Ethan just not being sure which side he’s on… I mean Danny, for the most part, is relatively stable except for the last episode which takes place, I don’t know, a few weeks after the last season. So yeah, there’s definitely some turbulence in the future, so we’ll have to see how they make it through.
TDQ: Fans really want to see Danny get more involved with supernatural happenings on the show. Any chance we’ll get to see that this season?
KK: I mean, he kind of has been already. I mean how many times has he almost died because of something supernatural? Not to mention how many times has he visited the hospital. He’s had quite a few close calls, but I mean it would be nice if he could better defend himself.
TDQ: For those who haven’t been bitten by Teen Wolf yet, what’s the top reason you can give them to tune in?
KK: I would say it’s classic humor meets drama and saving the world. It’s really well written and you’d probably be surprised at how many of your friends already watch it.
TDQ: Let’s talk about you a bit. I hear you’re a self confessed comic geek. Can you tell us a bit about where your love of comics came from? What are some of your favorites?
KK: You know I definitely like comics, but I’d say I’m more of a geek of the genre, like sci-fi, fantasy and horror, more than anything. I pretty much started on X-Men, which I have the number one X-Men… it was the one with the first script of Jubilee. That was my number one comic, the first one that I got.
TDQ: Wow. I know some people who would be jealous!
KK: [Laughing] Still in the plastic, hasn’t been taken out in years, probably.
TDQ: So, you appeared on Cocktails With Stan, with the legendary Stan Lee. What was that like?
KK: I mean he’s such a cool guy. To have been around for so long and still, I mean he attends every con he can, he’s at events every weekend and to be so spritely… I mean the guy basically made fun of me for an hour and it was awesome [laughing]. Not to mention I got to meet two other guests who now I’m able to call friends, who were there to shoot their Cocktails with Stan, and from then to now so much has happened clearly because of that.
TDQ: You’re also a fan of cosplay. Can you tell us about some of your favorite costumes you’ve created? Do you have anything planned for an upcoming convention you’d like to share with us?
KK: Yeah, I am a fan of cosplay. I think it comes out of, you know, everyone’s love of superheroes and wanting to be one manifests itself in some way and mine just happened to be cosplay. Growing up, my relatives were always very good about dressing me up for Halloween or helping me pick out something. I was Shredder I think in second grade, I was Batman one year, Indiana Jones I think in middle school, and more recently I made a pretty badass Night Crawler. Then last years Comic-Con I think was the pinnacle of my costumes so far, but this year I do have… I do possibly have some plans but nothing I’m going to reveal, because that’s part of the fun for me, for Comic-Con anyway. But the costume, or costumes, will top the one from last year.
TDQ: Aside from comics and cons, what are some of you other interests? How do you like to spend your time when you’re not busy acting?
KK: I do keep pretty active. I have a lot of geeky friends who have very random hobbies. We work on some stuff like cosplay, or I’ve actually made some furniture pieces. I like to keep busy in the arts and the crafts, so photography for instance is a huge passion of mine. I’ve posted some photos of mine online, and I actually do some combat fighting, so it includes staffs, hand-to-hand combat… I keep busy [laughing].
TDQ: At The Daily Quirk, we like to end with some fun questions, so we have to ask if you could have Danny become any kind of supernatural creature on Teen Wolf, what would you like him to be?
KK: Does it have to be a type of creature that is already been established?
TDQ: No, it can be anything.
KK: I like the idea of him being a shape shifter, but a shape shifter that can change in to any animal. Kind of like the shape shifters on True Blood I guess. That would be cool.
TDQ: What would you do if you could be a Shape Shifter?
KK: I think Danny would definitely fly to school, and he would probably… I don’t know. I think he’s pretty smart. I think he would maybe use his shape shifting abilities to learn some things about what’s going on, I don’t know… I guess I would personally want to know why he’s been in the hospital so much in the last few years.
The Daily Quirk would like to thank Keahu Kahuanui for taking the time to chat with us! For more from Keahu, you can follow him on Twitter and can catch him as Danny on Teen Wolf Monday’s at 10/9c on MTV.