We met Wyatt Oleff as Stanley in “IT” and now we’ll meet him again as…Stanley but in “I Am Not Okay With This” the new Netflix Original Series.
We also met Wyatt in Los Angeles, in a 70s vibes location where we talked about the Stanleys of his life, the new show and why he just might be perfect to be the new Scott Pilgrim.
“I Am Not Okay With This” is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Charles Forsman, who’s also the author “The End of the F***ing World” and the producers behind are the one of “Stranger Things” and “The End of the F***ing World” itself. So we are quite sure that this new series is destined to be way more than Okay for all of us.
For this “irreverent origin story” Wyatt has reunited with “IT” costar Sophia Lillis who plays Syd a teenager who finds out that she supernatural abilities and Stanley is her neighbor who deeply cares for her and who’s, as Wyatt said a “modern-day Duckie.”
For “I Am Not Okay With This,” you were reunited after “It” with Sophia Lillis. What can you tell us about this project, besides that your characters from “It” and this series share the same name?
I am going to play a Stanley for the rest of my life. [Laugh]
“I Am Not Okay With” this is an irreverent origin story that revolves around Syd, an adolescent who, much to her dismay, possesses supernatural abilities. The story follows her relationships and explores her deep psyche in order to understand what’s going on inside her head.
My character Stanley, he’s so uncool that he’s cool. He’s Syd’s next-door neighbor, who constantly tries to understand Sydney. He’s like a modern-day Duckie and he’s got a wicked fashion sense – it was really fun to wear all the costumes! But, he cares deeply for Sydney and wants the best for her and always tries to bear a genuine smile.
“I am going to play a Stanley for the rest of my life.”
“…he’s so uncool that he’s cool.”
How did you work with Sophia on the relationship between your characters?
The funny thing is, we barely had to work on what our relationship would be like on the show! We know each other so well that we just trusted each other completely and knew what we both wanted from each other when doing the scenes. We’re comfortable with each other, which allows us to act like real friends in the show. To me, that also shows on screen when you’re watching it. That stays true for the rest of the cast as well!
What do you like the most about Stanley?
My favorite aspect of Stanley is definitely how free he feels. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks about him so he’s always just being himself to the fullest extent. Something about how liberating he is inspires me to be myself instead of trying to be someone else to impress other people.
“Something about how liberating he is inspires me to be myself instead of trying to be someone else to impress other people.”
“Shoes, who needs them?”, where would you go barefoot?
Definitely not on the street, that’s a horrible idea. However, if you don’t take your shoes off when you go to the beach, you’re due for a bad time, so I’d much rather be barefoot there.
A night out with Stanley, where would you go?
I’d go to the thrift store with Stanley for sure. He’s got an awesome fashion sense and I’d love to see what he would pick out for me there. I’d instantly look cooler.
Your favorite character of all time?
There are lots of options. I haven’t quite focused too much on what my favorite character is rather than my favorite movie or story. A basic one would be the Joker, either Heath Ledger’s Joker or Joaquin Phoenix’s.
Speaking of “IT”, how did you prepare for the role and have you read the book before filming?
I didn’t have the book before we started filming, I only got it halfway through and I was like, “yes, I am going to read the whole thing” and then I ended up reading maybe sixty pages and that’s where I am today.
We interviewed Nicholas Hamilton and we asked him about the book and he said, “Oh no, my god is too long”.
He’s right, I am not going to lie. It’s a lot. And after sixty pages I was like, “yes, I am not ready for this long-term relationship with this book.” But the character…I took an interesting approach, I guess. I just made a playlist with a bunch of 80s music. I had been kind of interested in 80s music at that time and then, once I got the role, which takes place in the 80s, I put those two together, and I started to listen to a lot of 80s music. I created a playlist based on what I think Stanley would listen to and that was kind of just a fun process to get into the character. And also just being with everyone else, working together to find a tune with our characters and our relationship with each other helped me to get into that character.
“…I took an interesting approach, I guess. I just made a playlist with a bunch of 80s music.”
Did you change your playlist for the second movie?
I didn’t. Since it had been a while, I went back and listened to it again to go back into that mood, to whatever it was like two years ago.
How was the mood on set? Did it change between the first and the second movie?
The first one we were a lot more involved with, we were shooting almost every day, all of us. And the second one was not focused on us so we kind of just came in and out on set. But, it was the same energy, Andy Muschietti just brings everything to the table, always. It felt like things had changed but nothing really had changed. It was just a different cast and some of the different crew. It wasn’t too big of a difference, but it also was. I don’t know how to describe it.
And, mentioning the cast, how did you interact with your adult Stanley?
Andy Bean plays the older Stanley and he is one of my favorite people ever. He looks scarily like me and I think that’s why we get along so well as we both see ourselves in each other. I look up to him. He’s like me in the future. He’s great, we make fun of each other all the time. We have a really good relationship with one another. On set, I would give him notes about the character if he asked.
Who is your favorite character from “IT”?
I guess my favorite would be probably Ben Hanscom. He’s just so wholesome and huggable. He’s there for the team. He doesn’t always have an optimistic outlook but he kind of does. And he just cares for his friends so deeply.
What was the first horror movie that didn’t make you sleep at night?
I can’t remember the first one but I guess one that kept me up more recently was probably Jordan Peele’s “Us”: I don’t know why; I mean it wasn’t the scariest movie I had ever seen but it kept me up and I was like, “What if my doppelganger came through the door right now?” There was a moment when I woke up and just couldn’t fall back asleep so I distracted myself on the phone for half an hour and then I finally could go back to sleep.
Big screen or small screen? And Why?
I feel like each medium is good for different storytelling. For instance, if you are trying to tell a longer story, then maybe a limited-time series on Hulu or Netflix would work out great. But if you are trying to tell a confined small story, then a movie would be perfect. In general, I would say the big screen, filming movies is more of my ally. In the case of “I Am Not Okay With This,” it was basically like shooting a movie – I guess it depends.
“I guess my favorite would be probably Ben Hanscom. He’s just so wholesome and huggable.”
What’s your favorite accent?
I used to be able to do the Scottish one and that one was really fun but I can’t do it anymore. It’s a lot of vowels and things to skip over but yes, I guess it would be Scottish.
What’s the last TV Series you binged-watched?
“The End of the F***ing World”, Jonathan Entwistle’s show (He did the new show “I Am Not Okay With This” as well). I was in New York and I was bored and I was on Netflix so I told myself, “I should probably watch this show now.” And so I did. And I watched it all in one night and I really liked it.
What’s your go-to song?
“Holding Out for a Hero” has always been a classic in my library. Another one is “Last Train Home” by Pat Metheny Group. These two define me.
Since you were also in “The Guardian of The Galaxy,” and “I Am Not Okay With This” is also about supernatural abilities, what’s your superpower? The one you have or the one you wish you had.
I wish I had telekinetic powers: It seems so helpful in any situation. Like if I don’t want to get up I can just use it to bring something over to me. That’s just laziness but…And if I were to do superhero business that’s also good too because you could just pool people towards you or away and, kind of breaking the rules, but you could pull yourself up, so you could basically fly.
What’s your must-have on set?
A good cast and crew. I just want to get along with the people I am working with. That applies to any job really, but I just always wish for a good time with everyone and, so far, I had that every single time on every project and so, I am pretty happy with that.
Have you ever had an epic fail on the job?
There was one recently actually on “I Am Not Okay With This” where I think it took us 11 takes to get this one shot, just because we were messing up on the lines over and over again. It was embarrassing. But we all have those moments.
If you could go out for dinner with three people from the past/present/future, who would you choose?
I guess the first would be Junji Ito, he is a graphic novel writer. Edgar Wright would be cool and Elton John.
What’s your favorite videogame?
The latest “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is so perfect! I was so excited for that game and it lived up to all my expectations. That was such a magical moment, I waited 5 hours in line at Best Buy until midnight to get it. It was absolutely worth it.
Why do you define yourself “Basically Scott Pilgrim and stuff” on Instagram?
The film in general, the movie references and the videogames…that’s all very me I guess. I like the general tone of the movie and then I got the hair…I could probably play Scott Pilgrim, that’s what I’m saying. [laugh]
The latest “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is so perfect!
One last question…were you ever scared on the set of “It”?
There wasn’t necessarily one moment where I was scared but there were a couple that were unexpected: for example, there’s one where we are walking through the sewers and these body parts come up through from the water and they didn’t explain what was going to happen before the take so just the misinformation there made it a bit scary. It made my heart pound a little bit. Also, the first time we saw Pennywise on set, it was a big moment for all of us.
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