Allison Scagliotti may have had a small part on One Tree Hill but as Abby Brown, the only witness to Dan murdering Keith, it was one of the series’ most pivotal. The storyline is frequently named among fans as one of the best, and Scagliotti shared with me what it was like working on it.
TeenDramaWhore: Your first episode of One Tree Hill (episode 3.16, With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept–the school shooting) is considered by fans to be among the very best. When you auditioned for the role of Abby, and saw the script, what did you think? Did you know the impact the episode would have?
Allison Scagliotti: First off, I’m so glad the episode garnered the response that it did. I had no doubt, given the subject matter, that it might resonate with a lot of people, so I think I speak for all involved when I say we tried to handle it respectfully. The audition process was kind of a top-secret affair. I read sides for a character named Michelle in a scene with another character who was not Jimmy Edwards [Colin Fickes]. After I was cast, the script that production released didn’t have the last page attached! They kept the end of the episode under wraps until the very last second. I was extremely moved by what I read, mostly because the Jimmy character was someone that could be very real. Who knows how many Jimmys there have been and still are in schools everywhere? The tragedy of what becomes of him is enough to wake people up, I think.
TDW: Did you know at the time that Abby would return and be the key person in the Dan-Keith [Paul Johansson-Craig Sheffer] murder storyline? What was your reaction when you found out?
Scagliotti: I had no idea! Almost a full year went by before I got the call, but I was so pumped to go back. I also loved the idea that this meek, shy character could have been the missing link to the town’s morbid mystery. It was exciting to be part of providing some closure to fans for that major chapter of Tree Hill history.
TDW: Dan was anonymously taunted in several episodes, presumably by Abby. Do you think that actually happened or was it just a figment of his imagination?
Scagliotti: Oh, I like to think that little Abby was the one sneaking around to torment Dan. Perhaps her motive was to guilt him into coming clean so she wouldn’t have to carry the burden of what she saw any longer. Or maybe she just wanted to haunt him the way she had been haunted. A little payback.
TDW: Was it difficult filming such an emotional storyline and/or difficult to keep it all a secret?
Scagliotti: Emotionality in a scene is usually pretty tough, but the episode The Runaway Found was extra difficult. Having to sustain that pervading misery that plagued Abby was not something I’d say was particularly fun at the time, but I can look back and said I enjoyed the process and working with the OTH team. Keeping it a secret was easy! Abby seemed to be one of those under-the-radar characters, so I had no problem with fans asking for spoilers. It was an Abby Brown sneak attack! Funny story: one day, while filming in Abby’s house, a whole gaggle of fans was perched on the sidewalk across the street, and shouted my name as I arrived from base camp. It was so bizarre! I never would have expected to be recognized from just one episode, but these kids were superfans. They’d driven down from New England just to hang around set. It was adorable.
TDW: Do you think Abby has a future in Tree Hill?
Scagliotti: If I’ve learned anything, it’s to never say never. The last time we saw Abby, she’d run away from Tree Hill. She could be anywhere! I guess it’s up to [creator] Mark Schwahn what becomes of Abby Brown. Are you reading, Mark?
TDW: Are you still recognized for the role?
Scagliotti: Yes! It totally takes me off guard when people recognize me from One Tree Hill, partially because I was only in 3 episodes. I’m always flattered, though. I can only assume that the Abby storyline was memorable, and that’s all that matters to me.
TDW: Are you still in touch with any of the cast?
Scagliotti: For a while, I stayed in touch with Paul Johansson (ironic, I know) and Hilarie Burton [Peyton]. Everyone on the show was delightful to me, but I clicked with those two the most. Paul was a dream to work with. We were very vocal about what we needed from each other before a scene, and as terrifying as he can be on screen, he was an absolute teddy bear in real life. I was walking around downtown Wilmington one evening, when I heard my name called from across the street. It was Paul, and we decided to hang out at a local restaurant for a while. We wound up out until 2 am. He’s the coolest. Hilarie was a sweetheart, too; we bonded over our favorite book, Lolita, and love of music. Typing this out makes me miss those guys!
TDW: You’re currently starring in Warehouse 13. For those that aren’t familiar with it, what is the show about and what role do you play?
Scagliotti: Warehouse 13 is a Syfy show about a top-secret government facility that houses unexplained, supernatural artifacts from around the globe that pose a threat to national security. At the center of the fold you have two Secret Service agents charged with tracking down and obtaining the artifacts, and then you have Artie, the warehouse curator and expert. I play Claudia Donovan, a hip young techno-wiz who hacks her way into the warehouse to kidnap Artie, whom she believes is responsible for her brother’s disappearance. The show is action-packed and very funny, and the intrigue builds every week. I got to mess with the coolest gadgets.
TDW: Are you working on any other projects?
Scagliotti: [I just went to] Comic Con in San Diego to promote W13, and after that I’ll be working on a play here in LA with my friends Alden Ehrenreich and Jesse Allis. Other than that, fingers crossed for season two!!
You can see Scagliotti on Warehouse 13, currently airing Tuesdays at 9pm on the SyFy network.
Come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview!