This was the third time I’ve interviewed Lee Norris (Mouth, One Tree Hill) but I can’t say “third time’s a charm” because he’s been charming every time. And this time around, as we caught up on the phone, he was gracious enough to answer questions submitted by YOU!
TeenDramaWhore: Since we just spoke a few months ago, today I thought I would do things a little bit differently. I asked my readers, your fans, to send in questions. So this is coming directly from them.
Lee Norris: Alright, very cool.
TDW: So Em wants to know: Do you hang out with any of your One Tree Hill costars in your free time?
Norris: Yeah, absolutely. We’re a tight-knit family and we’ve worked together for going on seven years here so we definitely hang out. Sophia [Bush, Brooke] is a great friend of mine and we have new faces now like Austin [Nichols, Julian], who’s a good kid. You know, pretty much everyone. We all hang out when we can. We work different schedules.
TDW: Okay, and Zella wants to know: In last week’s episode, Mouth got the idea of doing his own sports webshow/website as his new career path, and she’s wondering what web-series, podcasts, and websites do you pay attention to in real-life. And if you are into web 2.0 & social media like we are.
Norris: That’s a good question. I’m not a huge blog-follower. Other than, of course, TeenDramaWhore, a big shout-out there.
TDW: Thank you!
Norris: But I don’t go to too many blog sites. My girlfriend reads some of that stuff and will send interesting things to me so I pretty much rely on her. But otherwise, I’m pretty typical, you know, ESPN.com viewer and I try to keep up with a couple of my favorite bands’ blogs in terms of their upcoming concerts and things like diaries that they’re doing and stuff. So that kind of thing. I’m not a huge–like I don’t do Twitter. I think it’s a really cool thing and I just don’t think I’m exciting enough to have a Twitter personally.
Norris: I don’t. I just feel like, I don’t know. Maybe people would be interested. I guess they probably would considering I have a really cool job and work with some pretty cool people but otherwise I don’t think they really care about me eating my chicken sandwich from Chik-fil-A.
TDW: You never know. Lauren wants to know if the cast is planning on doing anymore tours or charity events?
Norris: You know, those kinds of things have always been driven by our producers. They’re really the force behind that, and the network. So it’s not typically up to the cast, but, that being said, I would love to go out and do any of those kind of things because anytime we get to go out and see the fans face-to-face, it’s obviously the best part of the job for me, to get to meet all of our fans because they’re the reason we’ve been around for so long and it’s nice when you can step outside of this little world we have in Wilmington and see that what we’re doing on this little soundstage is affecting people that live in other countries. It’s just amazing to see that it affects people in a real-life way. So I’d be all for that. And I really want–I’d really like to some, you know, we’ve been over the states quite a bit but it’d be nice to sort of go out and do some international stuff.
TDW: And Lauren also wants to know if you are interested in directing an episode.
Norris: Yeah. I would eventually like to move into directing. It’s been really fun to work with James [Lafferty, Nathan] and Soph and [Bethany Joy Galeotti, Haley] and Paul [Johansson, Dan] and watch them do it. I’m the kind of person–I’m like a major organizer and preparer. I don’t typically like to take something on until I feel like I’ve learned every possible thing about it, and directing is such a huge task that I feel like I’m still sort of figuring that whole world out. I’m observing a lot and trying to learn as much as I can, so that if the opportunity comes along, that, you know, obviously I can do–I can hopefully do–a great job. But, yeah, I’d be interested in that eventually.
TDW: A reader by the username of g90210th wants to know: Besides Mouth, who is your favorite character currently on the show, and why?
Norris: Ooh, that’s a good question! Wow. I don’t know. Is it really bad to say that Dan is my favorite character?
TDW: Not at all! That’s totally fine.
Norris: I don’t know, it’s kind of weird. I don’t know. I’m always, you know, intrigued as to what’s going on in that man’s mind because he’s just so…Obviously I don’t like him at all but I’m always sort of waiting to see what he’s got up his sleeve and currently kind of interesting to me is, is he really the bad guy in his relationship right now or is Rachel [Dannel Harris] the bad guy? They’re both pretty bad. That’s kind of interesting to me at the moment so I guess I’ll go with Dan. I bet most people wouldn’t pick Mouth to say that.
TDW: Keren wants to know: If you could be in any TV series beside OTH, which series would it be? Which character?
Norris: Okay, I’d definitely would love to be on True Blood, which is a show about vampires. I would definitely want to be–well, first of all it’s set in the South and I’m from the South so I definitely just want to be a cool, majorly-centuries-old vampire that’s really really bad-ass, I guess. I don’t know. I didn’t get swept away in the whole Twilight thing but the True Blood craze is pretty cool. It’s a neat show.
TDW: Keren also wants to know: If you could visit any country in the world right now, which country would it be?
Norris: That’s a good question, too. Gosh, you know I’ve always wanted to go to Australia but I’ve never been. I almost studied abroad there in college and it fell through at the last minute. I’ve heard wonderful things about the people and the beaches and the weather. I’d like to do that. It’s just a long flight from here. There’s a number of places I’d like to go but I’ve been lucky to travel to some great countries already and Australia’s one of the ones, unfortunately, I haven’t been to yet.
TDW: Becky wants to know: How has the cast changed this season with the departure of Chad [Michael Murray, Lucas] and Hilarie [Burton, Peyton] and the addition of some of the new actors?
Norris: Obviously we miss Chad and Hil because we worked for them for six years and, you know, it’s tough to say goodbye to people after that long but, you know, I think One Tree Hill is really an ensemble show at its core. I think there’s enough of “old people” around that the show still has interesting stories left to tell about the characters. And I think you still feel the presence of Lucas and Peyton from time to time, which is important. In terms of the new characters, you know, I feel like they’ve tried to balance so you’re not completely immersed in new storylines only without the old stuff. Obviously, you know, Rob Buckley’s character Clay just had a huge revelation in terms of you finding out he’s been married and his wife passed away tragically, and I think that was a really smart way to introduce that character because certainly it’s hard enough to deal with that and obviously he’s kind of good to Nathan and Haley who are a big core part of the show. So I think that’s interesting ,and Jana Kramer [Alex] is really funny and has a lot of energy as Alex so I think they’re doing a good job of balancing the new characters so far.
TDW: Okay. A different Lauren wants to know: When the show eventually ends, what are your plans?
Norris: Well, my plans are hopefully to continue acting because I love it. It’s a passion of mine and I’d like to continue doing it for as along as I can. And I certainly wouldn’t mind moving behind the camera, as I said, to directing. I’d look for those opportunities.
TDW: Okay, this one’s a little bit longer. Lauren also wants to know: If you could describe each of your castmates with one word, what would it be?
Norris: Oh, wow. Okay, I’ll try. This is going to be like word association. It’s going to be like right off the bad. So, each cast member?
Norris: Okay. For Sophia I would say intelligent. For Austin I would say wily–in a good way. I guess that’s more than one word but anyway. For James I would say focused. Let’s see. Gosh, I’m trying to think. We have so many cast members! For Rob I would say polite. For Lisa [Goldstein, Millicent] I would say genuine. For Paul I would say mischievous. For Antwon [Tanner, Skills] I would say talkative. (laughs) Who am I missing? Oh, I haven’t done Joy. Oh gosh. That’s a tough one. Let’s see. What would I say about Joy? I would say she is…gosh, I would say, I don’t know. She’s like such a unique person and complex. Let’s go with multi-talented.
TDW: Yeah, she definitely has that going for.
Norris: She does. The girl is like–I don’t know if people know this but she just put together like a Broadway musical pretty much.
TDW: I know! I’m looking forward to seeing it. I hope it goes far.
Norris: She’s insanely talented. Is that everybody?
TDW: Yeah, I think you got the core cast down really well.
Norris: Oh, Shantel [VanSanten, Quinn]. I didn’t do Shantel. She’s glamorous.
TDW: Okay. And what can you tell us about your storyline for the rest of this season?
Norris: Well I can tell you that Mouth’s in a bit of a predicament right now because he just lost his job after sticking up for Nathan. So he’s gotta figure out his career path and obviously in the last episode Julian sort of planted a seed in him, thinking about the internet so it’s going to be interesting to see if he can pick that up and run with it. And certainly I think also really important to him is obviously his relationship with Millicent and she’s starting to go down a little bit of a questionable path here after being introduced to this modeling world. How is he going to maintain this relationship with the girl that he loves but who’s changing right before his eyes? He’s got a lot to deal with. There’s no shortage of drama in Tree Hill, you know that.
TDW: And lastly, do you have any message for the fans?
Norris: Well, obviously anytime I get a chance to say anything to the fans, after seven years, we have to say thank you. They are absolutely without a doubt the reason we’re still on the air and I just thank them for their passion and their support because obviously, you know, this is a lot of fun for this. This is a job and we appreciate the fact that you guys let us into your homes every week. So I would say thank you because I don’t think I’ll ever be able say to say thank you enough.
TDW: Well, thank you so much, Lee. I really appreciate you taking the time to do this.
Norris: Of course, Shari. It’s always fun to talk to you so keep up the good work.
TDW: Thank you. I hope you’ll continue to check out the site.
Norris: I will. I love it when you interview my friends.
TDW: They have such great things to say about you!
Norris: It’s pretty nice. Alright, Shari, take care!
TDW: Thank you, you too!
Come back Tuesday for another exclusive interview!