Exclusive: Colin Fickes on Playing Jimmy Edwards, One Tree Hill’s School Shooter

30 08 2009

Colin Fickes made teen drama history when he starred on One Tree Hill as Jimmy Edwards, a high school outcast turned school shooter.  The storyline remains one of the most-loved by critics and fans alike, giving Colin one of his career highlights.

Colin was kind enough to provide an inside look at the making of “With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept,” the 16th episode of One Tree Hill’s third season.

TeenDramaWhore: Years before you started on One Tree Hill, you appeared on two episodes of Dawson’s Creek (Episode 2.3, Alternative Lifestyles and Episode 2.9, The Election).  How did that come about?

Colin Fickes: First off, thank you for taking the time to interview me!  I grew up in Raleigh, NC doing community theater and I’d audition for projects that came through NC.  I had a wonderful agent in Raleigh who would submit young actors in the area for various TV and film projects. They were seeing people in LA and NC for the role of Kenny Reiling, and I was lucky enough to get to audition and subsequently land the part.

TDW: On One Tree Hill, you were introduced in the first few episodes and then were off-canvas until season three in 2006.  What was your reaction when you found out a) they were bringing you back and b) what the storyline was?

Fickes: I was completely shocked when I found out that Mark Schwahn wanted to reintroduce the character of Jimmy Edwards.  I remember getting called into his office on the Warner Brothers lot, having no clue what the meeting would entail.  He pitched me his brilliant idea, and I immediately said yes.  I knew that it would be a tough few weeks of preparation and filming, but I was up for the challenge.  I enjoy playing interesting character roles, and where he wanted to go with Jimmy Edwards was exactly where I wanted to be.

TDW: Was it difficult filming such an emotional storyline and/or difficult to keep it all a secret?

Fickes: It was definitely a challenge to go to those dark places and stay true to the character.  There are places inside of yourself you have to explore, and they aren’t necessarily pretty places.   The fact that there are people who feel the way Jimmy must of felt made me strive to be as authentic and honest as possible.  My hope was that if people could see themselves mirrored in the character, they would also see the hope and optimism in there too. That they could see they weren’t alone and that it would, or could, all be okay. The fact that I had pretty much locked myself away for those weeks leading up to filming, I really didn’t have time to worry about keeping the story line a secret.  The twist didn’t really have anything to do with my character and his circumstances, so I didn’t really focus on that part.

TDW: Allison Scagliotti (Abby) told me that you guys didn’t know the ending until it was nearly time to shoot it.  How did you react when you found out your character’s fate?

Fickes: I knew my characters fate from the get go.  What we didn’t know was that Dan [Paul Johansson] would show up and shoot Keith [Craig Sheffer].  I think I was too busy learning lines and finding character to worry too much about the twist.  It was pretty shocking though, yeah?

TDW: How does it feel to know your character was the key to so many critical storylines that followed and still occur?

Fickes: To know that Jimmy Edwards life wasn’t in vain and that he affected so many people, hopefully for the better, is a good thing.  I think it’s indicative of real life.  People can come into our lives and shape our courses, even if it is only for a brief amount of time

TDW: What kind of response did you get when the episode aired?

Fickes: The response has been incredibly heartfelt.  When people take the time to write letters, or stop me on the street to tell me how that episode affected them, it truly moves me.  It makes it seem all worth it.  I think that’s why we make art.  To connect and feel.

TDW: Are you still recognized for the role?

Fickes: I am.

TDW: Do you keep in touch with any of the cast?

Fickes: I don’t really.  Not as much as I’d like to anyway.  Had dinner with Hilarie [Burton, Peyton] and some mutual friends a year or so ago, and talk to Lee [Norris, Mouth] every now and then, but that’s about it.

TDW: What projects are you currently working on?

Fickes: At the moment I’m developing a screenplay and a short film with a friend of mine.  Had an independent film called “The New Twenty” come out on DVD and VOD not too long ago.  Trying to keep the dream alive.

For more on One Tree Hill’s school shooting storyline,

check out my interviews with Lee Norris and Allison Scagliotti.

Come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview!

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