Have you watched Netflix’s hilarious action comedy series Obliterated yet? The new show stars Shelley Hennig, Nick Zano, C. Thomas Howell, and more talented stars as an elite team tasked with disarming a nuclear bomb set loose in Las Vegas, all the while managing a killer hangover.
Netflix Life had the chance to chat with one of the show’s stars, Shelley Hennig, all about her work on the show. Hennig plays the team’s captain, Ava Winters, and you might recognize the actress from her previous projects like Teen Wolf, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, When We First Met, and The Secret Circle.
We spoke with the star about what her hopes are for a potential second season of Obliterated, her badass stunt work, and much more!
Netflix Life: During an interview Jon Hurwitz said you did some improv and threw a few things into the show. Like what?
Shelley Hennig: Yeah, you know, they just came in the moment. They were not planned, the ones that are planned normally don’t work, and Nick [Zano’s] character McKnight sees that I take my dress off and that I’m going commando, “in more ways than one,” he says, and I just naturally responded, “I like to let it breathe.”
There was another scene where they are about to have sex again and in rehearsal they started cleaning up the glass that was on the table because we were gonna be making out in that section and I asked that they not clean up the glass because I thought that I would love that obstacle, and lets see how I respond to it. So I sat on the glass and then got up and said, “oh I like pain, but not that much.” Things like that, I don’t know, kids say the darndest things sometimes.
NL: You’ve done several comedic roles over the years. Teen Wolf had a lot of comedy and jumping off of that, you did a lot of fight choreography on that show. But I was thinking now you’re going hand to hand instead of claw to claw. You’re not a werewolf anymore. Is it different to navigate without the prosthetics and special effects?
SH: Now it’s artillery, and we took it very seriously obviously. We had Kevin Kent as our tactical trainer. He’s phenomenal. I was sort of like Catherina O’Hara in Home Alone every five minutes yelling, “Kevin!” because I wanted to make sure he was behind the monitor, which he was, to make sure I was holding the gun correctly. We wanted to do this as believably as possible and keep it as grounded as we could.
Teen Wolf was so many years that I found throughout the years when I would do other films like the film When We First Met with Adam DeVine, I remember there was a scene where I’m beating this guy up and I just have to go nuts on him and I started growling because Malia was so a part of me. There were many times during fight scenes on Obliterated I’d have to remember “you’re human not werecoyote,” but it might finally be out of my system now.
NL: I’ve heard actors say they take something with them from every role so…
SH: I took Malia’s mannerisms for sure.
NL: Maybe you’ll take something from Ava. Like her ability to maneuver hungover.
SH: What I thought was fun playing with Ava is she thinks with her head and not her heart and I find that I’m the opposite in real life and I feel like I’ve played a lot more characters who lead with their heart and are a lot more vulnerable and so that was different for me.
NL: I noticed you’ve done a few projects now with Netflix. Was that intentional or just coincidence?
SH: Coincidence. I go out for everything and whatever fits I hope to be able to do and this was just one of those. I originally thought it was a drama when it came into my inbox. I was on night shoots doing the Teen Wolf film and I was overwhelmed and I originally passed on Obliterated because I thought it was maybe a procedural and I was like I need comedy after this shoot.
Luckily, a few months later, I was having dinner with a friend and he was like, “I read the funniest script,” and he was like how did you not test for this character, Ava Winters? And I realized I passed and he was like, “they haven’t cast her yet!” So I almost missed this and when read it I was like, “This is so me, Ben, you’re so right!” I’m just so grateful that the universe provided.
NL: What does Obliterated season 2 look like? What would you want to see Ava do next?
SH: Hopefully everyone who was part of it this time will be part of it next time. We had such a great ensemble and everyone’s important to the story and the experience for me. I’d love to, I really liked playing an undercover agent. I found I got to play multiple characters because they are actors at the end of the day, so I’d like to have fun diving into more characters maybe.
NL: What’s Ava’s go-to cocktail, do you think?
SH: A martini, but like, just one.
NL: And Shelley’s go-to?
NL: I like anything really fruity where you can’t taste the alcohol.
SH: I can go any, I like beer, cognac neat—I order like a man.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Obliterated is now streaming on Netflix.