Dylan O'Brien talks big screen comeback in 'American Assassin'

PHOTO: Dylan OBrien and Shiva Negar in a scene from "American Assassin."PlayChristian Black
WATCH 'American Assassin' star on his big screen comeback

This is shaping up to be a big year for hunky heartthrob Dylan O’Brien, whose new action thriller, “American Assassin,” hits theaters today.

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O'Brien has been out of the spotlight for many months, recovering from serious injuries suffered last year on the set of his last film, "Maze Runner."

In a strange twist, that accident helped set the stage for his newest role. In "American Assassins," O'Brien plays the character Mitch Rapp.

PHOTO: Shiva Negar, Michael Keaton, Neg Adamson and Dylan OBrien in a scene from American Assassin.Christian Black
Shiva Negar, Michael Keaton, Neg Adamson and Dylan O'Brien in a scene from "American Assassin."

"He’s someone who experiences a personal tragedy as a result of a terrorist attack. It completely changes him," O'Brien said in an appearance on "Popcorn With Peter Travers."

  • Dylan O'Brien appears on Popcorn With Peter Travers

"Things have changed for him, and he’s been desensitized in a way," O'Brien said. "But it’s all from this pain that he’s got inside of him."

He added, "Coincidentally I was in a difficult place in the time before this movie and during the shooting of this film too. I was going through a tough time in my own version of something that I’d experienced and was trying to deal with myself."

PHOTO: Dylan OBrien, center, in a scene from Maze Runner: The Scorch Trial.20th Century Fox
Dylan O'Brien, center, in a scene from "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trial."

Travers asked O'Brien what was going through his head during his recovery.

"The physical healing is the easiest part," O'Brien told Travers. "Your brain is designed to react to things like that. It protects this vessel (pointing to himself) when it experiences some sort of trauma. And it reacts. And you don’t have much control over it. And it’s about kind of identifying that and really doing work to understand that and accept it and learn how to deal with it."

PHOTO: Dylan OBrien appears on Popcorn with Peter Travers at ABC News studios, Sept. 7, 2017, in New York City.Jeff Swartz/ABC News
Dylan O'Brien appears on "Popcorn with Peter Travers" at ABC News studios, Sept. 7, 2017, in New York City.

"American Assassin" is O'Brien's first time back at work since his "Maze Runner" injury.

"This was the first one I did after the accident," he said. "It was good for a lot of reasons, to get me back on my feet, be a challenge for me. That was really healthy for me at the time and also to play this guy that I really felt like I understood at this point and really couldn’t have felt more passionate about portraying. And yeah, it’s creating a new experience and going and having a good one after something like that happened."

O'Brien will bid farewell to his "Maze Runner" character when the film hits theaters in January. That's also when his longtime MTV series "Teen Wolf," will come to an end after its 100th episode.

PHOTO: Dylan OBrien, left, and Tyler Posey in a scene from Teen Wolf.MTV
Dylan O'Brien, left, and Tyler Posey in a scene from "Teen Wolf."

Download the all new "Popcorn With Peter Travers" podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music and Stitcher.

"I was 18. I was fresh out of high school," O'Brien said of his "Teen Wolf" experience. "And I just turned 26 last weekend. So it was about eight years of my life. None of us ever thought we’d still be doing it today."

“American Assassin” hits theaters everywhere today.

Be sure to watch the full interview with Peter Travers and Dylan O’Brien in the video above.