Teen Wolf's Shelley Hennig

Exclusive: Actress Shelley Hennig 'kicks ass' and deals with 'mommy issues' on MTV's Teen Wolf

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Jun 29, 2015

It's back to school for the supernatural teens of MTV's Teen Wolf and, with a new villain (aka The Doctors) and life decisions ahead, things aren't about to get easy for the new senior class, said actress Shelley Hennig, who plays werecoyote Malia Hale on MTV's Teen Wolf.

“Malia still doesn't know who her freakin' mother is. She already has daddy issues, and maybe she'll have momma issues soon. But maybe Stiles, since he's such a great detective, will help her figure out who, what and where her mother is.” Teen Wolf premieres its fifth season tonight on MTV. The 20-episode season will be split into two sections, with Season 5A airing over the summer.

“We go back to school, and that's exactly what it felt like in real life,” said Hennig. “But a school that you want to go to. One that you want to wake up for every morning. They're seniors in high school now ... and that's usually the year when high school sweethearts ask that question. Are we not going to the same college? Are we going to stay together, or are we going to explore other options? And then you add these supernatural elements to the situation and things might get sticky,” said Hennig.

Last season, Malia discovered that her mother is something called the Desert Wolf, and you just know that daddy dearest, aka the devious Peter Hale, will be making trouble this year again.

As for Malia and Stiles, they will continue their awkward, sweet romance, she said.

“It makes for great comedy. I think there's a really great relationship between the two, and I'm just really happy we've been able to grow these characters together. I can't wait to see what happens in the new season,” said Hennig. “And, of course, there will be new villains introduced.”

The Doctors are this year's mysterious villains, and Hennig promises they are not going to go easy on our heroes. “Our new villains are very academic, which I think is a fun and also scary twist to the season. We've not seen villains like this before. Once again, they're massive creatures in real life, so they're very easy to play fear off of,” she said.

As for Hennig -- an actress, dancer and former beauty queen who starred in the CW's The Secret Circle -- she loves doing physical stuff.

“We get to see Malia doing a lot of action this season, which has been great. I got do a few of my own action sequences. I'll never be as good as the people who are hired to do that for me, but what's cool is this show lets us get pretty physical, and that's been really fun to play,” she said.

“Luckily, I was a dancer for a long time, so as far as memorizing the moves goes ... I can pick up the steps pretty quickly and kick pretty high. That's been fun. I think my dance teacher is really proud of that.”

She's also enjoying playing a character who isn't quite like anyone else on TV. “[Executive producer] Jeff [Davis] did such a good job of writing a girl who kicks ass. We can all envy her honesty. And we can relate to her awkwardness,” said Hennig.

“She kind of grew up in the hood, aka the woods, and she's proven to the world that you can make good choices. You don't have to kill. She's got the pack to remind her that you can't just go out killing people, and maybe she'll struggle with that urge in her ... let's not forget, she was a coyote for so long, and I don't think that part has left her,” she said.

“Malia's pretty straightforward, but at the end of the day she's not one-dimensional. A lot of us are playing different things with our characters this season. There's a lot of growth, and as an actor playing Malia, there's definitely been some emotions that I've had to tap into as Malia that I haven't previously as that character,” said Hennig.

Most notably, the search for her mother. “I think The Desert Wolf could be a really interesting plot line, and I think we're going to explore that. And I can't wait to see how Malia responds to who this person is. Either she's great, either she's terrible. Maybe it will be her new best friend. I don't know. But I can't wait to see what they have in store and how Malia responds to it.”

Here's a look at tonight's season premiere of Teen Wolf:

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