On the second episode of this season Calm your enthusiasmLarry David is meeting with an actor to consider casting him as a young version of himself in an upcoming Netflix series. Teen Wolf and maze runner star Dylan O’Brien recalls his first encounter with the Curb star-creator for a short Zoom improv session to test out the role of, well, Dylan O’Brien.
“I even recorded it on screen, because I wanted to keep it as a keepsake,” says O’Brien, whose early acting experiences came in improvised sketches he performed as a teenager ( which led him to pursue a career in acting). “I had headphones on then,” he laments about his session with David, “so I just have this 10-minute screen recording of me and Larry improvising with no sound.” Fortunately, O’Brien got the Curb guest spot, where he got to improvise as a fictionalized version of himself who, like many Curbhas goofy interactions with the TV character of David.
Larry first meets Dylan at his band’s rock show, where his loud music forces Larry to stuff tissues into his ears. When Dylan finds Larry’s hearing protection insulting to his musical talents, Larry meets with him again to apologize and convince him to play the part on his show – a brilliant move that Larry misses when he loses control of his dog. friend, Angel Muffin, that he might have been able to avoid running into traffic if only he could bring himself to call out the dog’s silly name.
O’Brien, seen mostly in dramatic and action roles, was keen to show off his comedic side. “That’s probably the last thing anyone would expect of me,” he said. “But it’s then my sense of humor. I love pissing myself. Even in my old sketches, I always played alternate versions of myself that were definitely not me. He notes that he didn’t want to play himself as “the typical moron actor”, but one whose sensitivity and good intentions can often be misdirected and misunderstood.
He also says his stage partner was equally humble, not the kind of comedic artist who wants all the attention and the biggest laughs for himself – let alone the cantankerous version of Larry David he plays at the television. “Larry has no ego, which is so rare for a guy in comedy,” O’Brien says. “And by the way, he was cuddling with all the dogs off camera.”
This story first appeared in a standalone June issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, Click here to subscribe.