Cliffnotes: Wilm On Film

5 06 2010

**I received a promotional copy of Wilm On Film courtesy of StarNews Media.**

Whenever I’ve heard Wilmington, North Carolina referred to as Hollywood East, I’ve always chuckled to myself in a “yeah, right” kind of way.

After reading Wilm On Film: A Guide To More Than 25 Years of Film & TV Production Around Wilmington, North Carolina, I realized the joke’s on me.

Sure, I knew that two of our teen dramas, Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill, were filmed there, as were a few dozen other productions.

Turns out, “a few dozen” is a gross underestimate.

(STARNEWS MEDIA)

The book, written by Star-News staffers Amy Hotz and Ben Steelman and edited by their colleague Jeff Hidek, recounts the history of the Wilmington film and television industry while also providing a fairly comprehensive guide to the hundreds of productions filmed in the area.

The book rightly calls itself an “easy-to-use-guide” and those were the first words that came to mind when I first flipped through the book. It is mostly sectioned by time period, with a break-down of several productions filmed during each. Each film or TV pilot/series is further broken down into plot synopsis, filming dates, notable cast and crew, key locations and fun facts under the catch-all phrase “did you know?”

As it turns out, Hollywood East is just one of the area’s nicknames. “Locals,” according to the book, “refer to it more endearingly as ‘Wilmywood.'” And it’s no wonder: a listing of some of the stars who have filmed there reads like a “who’s who” of Hollywood. Among the names trotted out in the introduction: “Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Martin Lawrence, Queen Latifah, Richard Gere, Dakota Fanning, Dennis Hopper and the list goes on.”

Not surprisingly, the introduction also points out that “In 2009, The CW television drama ‘One Tree Hill,’ starring Sophia Bush [Brooke] and James Lafferty [Nathan], began filming its seventh season.” That is, undoubtedly, the area’s biggest current claim to fame. Skip down a bit, and the authors note “‘One Tree Hill’ stars often show up at charity events and festivals. Chad Michael Murray [Lucas], who starred on the series’ first six seasons, helped start a new Pop Warner football team for ages kids 11-15. Lafferty helped start a local American Basketball Association team called the Sea Dawgs.” The latter factoid I knew; the former I didn’t.

And that right there sums up the book quite well: there’s much that devout OTH and DC fans as well as film geeks will know but I found there are also plenty of gems as well. An example appears on the very next page. Linda Lavin (Sophie, aka The Nana, The O.C.) is apparently very fond of Wilmington, having filmed a television movie there in 1995 and “settling” there afterward. She is quoted as saying, “I could live in a lot of places, I guess, but this is where I’m home.”

The book is peppered with anecdotes, since “you’re hard pressed to find anyone in Wilmington who hasn’t worked on a set or been touched by the film business in some way.” But if you’re not interested in the production being discussed or a film geek or keen to learn quite a bit about Wilmington, you’ll find yourself skimming through the text.

With my eyes peeled for any and all One Tree Hill or Dawson’s Creek mentions, my skimming stopped on page 34 where I found one of those aforementioned gems. In the midst of an accounting of Blue Velvet’s production, the authors reveal that “while it doesn’t have the fan base of ‘Dawson’s Creek’ or ‘One Tree Hill,’ a steady stream of ‘Blue Velvet’ aficionados still calls [sic] the Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.” Reading this just a few days after star Dennis Hopper’s passing, I wondered if these calls would increase in the next few weeks.

Each of the time period-based sections starts by giving an in-depth look at a production, such as Blue Velvet (which marked 1986-1988, an “on the rise” time for the Wilmington film scene). The first that I closely read was the following section, “the boom years” or 1989-1992. Why? The child in me was giddy at the details provided about…wait for it…Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And bless that film, for “it also paved the way…[for] ‘Muppets In Space.'”

I read the next section’s opening quite closely as well. “A darker tone,” which accounts for 1993-1997, starts out by talking about The Crow, a cult film I was big on during high school. I can’t recall if I knew it filmed in Wilmington, but I never tire of reading about it, especially about the on-set death of the film’s lead actor, Brandon Lee. The section starts off noting, “Of all the movies made in Wilmington, ‘The Crow’ remains the most macabre” for this very reason. And the quote from Lee on the next page, “I find myself thinking, ‘What if I died and had a chance to come back?’ So many things seem so trivial and mundane. If you came back, they would seem so significant and bittersweet,” is incredibly chilling.

The next entry to pique my interest was also a cult film, but on the opposite spectrum of The Crow in tone: Empire Records, another film that I watched quite a bit during my high school years. I didn’t know this one was filmed in Wilmington, either. A few pages later, To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday caught my eye, as it starred Peter Gallagher (Sandy, The O.C.), making that at least two O.C. cast members to film in Wilmington.

The following section is aptly titled “teen invasion,” covering 1998-2002 and starting with six pages on Dawson’s Creek (though about half of it is comprised of graphics). They sum up the show quite well, pointing out “its hyper-sexual, super-wordy dialogue centered around four high school students in the small town of Capeside, Mass. — wannabe filmmaker Dawson (James Van Der Beek), sweet girl-next-door Joey (Katie Holmes), lovable scoundrel Pacey (Joshua Jackson) and new vixen in town Jen (Michelle Williams)” and astutely noting that “adult thoughts and emotions coming from teenagers…attracted many others to the series. In other shows, teens just weren’t that deep or complex” and “each week brought an hour long dose of teen angst, introspection and complicated consequences.”

To also be filed under the “I had no idea” category, they mention that “more than 30 teenagers gathered outside Wilmington’s EUE/Screen Gems Studios to protest the coming out of Kerr Smith’s character, Jack” in the show’s second season. It made this quote a few paragraphs later, from a 2003 Star-News interview with Jackson, all the more fitting: “I was used to working and I understood the requirements. I didn’t understand the cultural phenomenon it would become.”

The phenomenon idea was echoed by a Cape Fear Convention and Visitors Bureau staffer who notes that they received “hundreds of calls” during the show’s second season from people wanting to know where this-and-that were located. The authors note, “Film tourism had existed in Wilmington before ‘Dawson’s Creek.’ But the show was in a league of its own.”

Among the other interesting tidbits: Van Der Beek taught baseball at a local high school, Williams performed in a staging of The Vagina Monologues and Jackson once helped save two swimmers. Additional neat reveals came via photos, one of most of the cast at “a tribute to the show in downtown Wilmington after they wrapped filming of the final season in 2003” and another of a mural showcasing the core four outside the studios. It is noted in a later section that John Wesley Shipp (Mitch, Dawson’s Creek) starred in Port City, which filmed in Wilmington, and it is also noted that Barbara Alyn Woods (Deb, One Tree Hill) is in the flick as well.

During the Dawson’s Creek era, one of my favorite movies, A Walk To Remember, filmed in Wilmington. Not new information to me or surprising given author Nicholas Sparks’ predilection to set his stories in and film the big screen adaptations in southeastern coastal towns but now all the more interesting to me given that Bethany Joy Galeotti (Haley, One Tree Hill) is working on a musical adaptation of one of Sparks’ other novels, The Notebook.

The final section takes us from 2003 to the present under the title of “modern melodrama” and kicking things off with seven pages on One Tree Hill (again, about half are graphics). One of the main takeaways in this section is actually the legacy of Dawson’s Creek. “Coming so close behind such a successful show that was similar in so many ways,” the authors write about how some people felt during the transition period, “‘One Tree Hill’ might have a problem coming into its own. And when that notion was put to rest after the show went into its second, third and fourth seasons, it’s likely no one had any idea what was in store.” They then quote OTH creator Mark Schwahn after the season 6 renewal as saying “‘Dawson’s Creek’ is a huge, big wonderful show that when you come to Wilmington to make a pilot, you have this specter of this show looming over you, and it seems unattainable to go as long as they would.” One Tree Hill fans know the show has since accomplished more than Dawson’s Creek did in terms of number of seasons and episodes.

Like in the Dawson’s Creek section, they sum up One Tree Hill’s premise quite succinctly: “‘One Tree Hill centered on two-half brothers (Chad Michael Murray as Lucas Scott and James Lafferty as Nathan Scott) who pretty much hated each other. They competed against each other on the Tree Hill High School basketball court, in the dating world and in the family circle.” They note the retooling the show went through with its time-jump, explaining “In seasons five and six, viewers learned how the characters would make their ways in the world, the professions they would choose, the relationships they would commit to and all the mistakes along the way.” My only gripe is the errors in the following sentences: “Nathan became a semi-pro basketball player and slamball player who was finally called up by the Charlotte Bobcats. He would marry Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti) and have a son, Jamie (Jackson Brundage).” Nathan married Haley and had Jamie before becoming a semi-pro player, slamball player and getting called up by the Bobcats. In fact, marrying Haley and having Jamie occurred before the time-jump, before seasons five and six.

Among some interesting choices: They explain the exit of Murray and Hilarie Burton (Peyton, One Tree Hill) after season six as them “[deciding] not to renew” when it isn’t 100 percent evident that that was the case. Additionally, there’s a photo of Murray with Bush and another of him with fiance Kenzie Dalton, and the caption notes how Murray and Bush were once married but he’s now engaged to Dalton, who appeared as an extra on the show. At first I thought it was unnecessary/irrelevant but then I recalled that many of the entries for other productions mentioned if so-and-so had a significant other in town with them or met someone there, where they were frequently seen, etc. As far as pictures go, throughout the book they managed to include all of the core 5–except Galeotti (Haley, One Tree Hill). But also included are Robert Buckley (Clay, One Tree Hill) and Amanda Schull (Sara/Katie, One Tree Hill).

As they did in the introduction, they note some of the local-but-outside-OTH activities the cast has done, including Burton’s Southern Gothic Productions, Lafferty’s charity basketball games and documentary For Keeps and Galeotti’s workshop of her musical version of The Notebook.

Burton receives three other mentions in the rest of the section: one in the notable cast and crew listing for The List, one in the notable cast and crew listing for The Secret Life of Bees, where it’s noted that Tristan Wilds (Dixon, 90210) also starred, one in the notable cast and crew listing for Provinces of Night (which has since been retitled Bloodworth) where it’s noted that Barry Corbin (Whitey, One Tree Hill) and Hilary Duff (Olivia, Gossip Girl) also starred. Another production listed, Remember The Daze, starred Leighton Meester (Blair, Gossip Girl). In the book’s final section on independent filmmaking, or “free spirits,” it’s mentioned that Billy Dickson, who has directed more than 50 episodes of One Tree Hill, created a webseries called IQ-145.

Of all the quotes included, I have to say my favorite might be one from Paul Johansson (Dan, One Tree Hill). He said, “[Wilmington] has so many split personalities. Is this a beach town or is it a historic town or is it an industry town? What is it? And that’s what keeps it interesting.”

And it was certainly interesting for me to learn about all that has happened in Hollywood East (yes, I’ve been converted), things that I clearly had no idea about before. As if my urge to visit Wilmington wasn’t strong enough before, this certainly put me over the edge.

Wilm on Film is available for purchase on Lulu.com.

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News Roundup: One Tree Hill, 90210, The O.C. and Gossip Girl

26 05 2010
  • I am deeply saddened to report that Disney has decided to cease operations of SoapNet beginning in 2012. The network is being replaced with Disney Junior. As you are all aware, SoapNet currently airs reruns of One Tree Hill, Beverly Hills 90210 and The O.C. I do not know what this means for the syndication deals currently in place for those shows. Quite frankly, I am still trying to process this development. In the meantime, I have four things to offer: the press release from Disney, a post from SoapNet and articles from the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, the latter of which makes some very interesting points. Thank you to Daniel and Gloria for alerting me to the news.
  • In the last Weekly Poll, all three questions had results with large margins. Sixty-three percent believe Quinn and Clay aren’t dead on One Tree Hill, though 5 percent believe it’s quite possible. Another 17 percent have no idea but hope not while 15 percent have no idea but hope so. The Jenny-Chuck storyline on Gossip Girl made 64 percent of voters feel disgusted while just 17 percent were entertained. Nine percent were torn while 10 percent are still trying to process it. Lastly, 71 percent believe 90210’s Naomi was about to be raped by Mr. Cannon. Nineteen percent don’t think that’s happened while 10 percent had no idea. The Weekly Poll will be on hiatus during, um, the hiatus. In the meantime, we have the show evaluations and soon I’ll be resuming weekly trivia on Twitter.
  • Korbi has the next part of her interview with Mark Schwahn (creator, One Tree Hill). Here he discusses whether he wants the show to continue past an eighth season.
  • Registration has opened for Christy-Anne’s second One Tree Hill fan reunion, which will be held this July.
  • Shannen Doherty (Brenda, Beverly Hills 90210) performed during last night’s Dancing With The Stars finale. I haven’t found YouTube video of it yet to link to.
  • Gossip Cop and I busted a false National Enquirer story about Brian Austin Green (David, Beverly Hills 90210) and Megan Fox.
  • The Huffington Post has an interesting interview with the band Rooney, and there’s some references to their appearance on The O.C.
  • Josh Schwartz (executive producer, Gossip Girl; The O.C.) and Stephanie Savage (executive producer, Gossip Girl; The O.C.) will produce the film Fun Size with their new company Fake Empire.
  • ESPN has a short interview with Ron Machado, who appears with Blake Lively (Serena, Gossip Girl) in her Vogue spread.




News Roundup: One Tree Hill and 90210

25 05 2010
  • Tomorrow is the last day to vote in the One Tree Hill Evaluation.
  • Korbi has an interview with Mark Schwahn (creator, One Tree Hill), where he explains the second ending the season finale had in case it was a series finale. It’s what a lot of people speculated…but I’m still not sure I believe it–or if it’s even fair to call it a “second ending.”
  • Bleacher Report has a brief interview with Stephen Colletti (Chase, One Tree Hill), where he drops this gem: “This will be the last season.” It seems Jana Kramer (Alex, One Tree Hill) may have said something similar to E! Online. Regardless, I haven’t seen this officially confirmed anywhere.
  • Sophia Bush (Brooke, One Tree Hill) surprisingly opened up to E! Online about her relationship with Austin Nichols (Julian, One Tree Hill), reportedly even talking about it in light of her marriage/divorce with Chad Michael Murray (Lucas, One Tree Hill).
  • Hilarie Burton (Peyton, One Tree Hill) has booked a six-episode stint on White Collar, which also stars Tiffani Amber Thiessen (Valerie, Beverly Hills 90210). The new season starts in July.
  • HollywoodLife has a brief but spoilish interview with AnnaLynne McCord (Naomi, 90210) about what happened in the finale and what may happen in season 3.




News Roundup: One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, 90210 and The O.C.

18 05 2010
  • In case you missed it earlier, The CW renewed One Tree Hill and Life Unexpected. They also picked up Nikita and Hellcats, and canceled Melrose Place.
  • Broadcasting & Cable has a short but interesting piece looking at the state of The CW network.
  • According to Star News, 13 episodes of One Tree Hill have been ordered. Haven’t seen that confirmed anywhere else.
  • Last night’s One Tree Hill (2 million viewers) dropped slightly and Gossip Girl (2 million viewers rounded up) rose a bit in the ratings compared to last week.
  • I have mixed thoughts on The TV Addict’s “open letter” to Mark Schwahn (creator, One Tree Hill). Most of it is irrelevant now, since OTH was renewed.
  • Korbi has an article speculating on whether Clay (Robert Buckley, One Tree Hill) and Quinn (Shantel Van Santen, One Tree Hill) survive the finale’s shooting…which to my knowledge, they do. And it’s not a true spoiler. I mean, I’m pretty positive the actors have contracts for season 8…
  • Now that season 8 is a go, Christy-Anne will be hosting another fan reunion, this time in the summer.
  • Buckley shared some of his favorite scenes in an interview with MTV.
  • TVGuide.com has a look at some of “One Tree Hill’s Craziest Moments.”
  • Miami Medical, featuring Elisabeth Harnois (Shelly, One Tree Hill) was canceled.
  • E! Online has an interesting interview with Josh Schwartz (executive producer, Gossip Girl) and Stephanie Savage (executive producer, Gossip Girl) about last night’s finale.
  • Just read an interesting article on the effect of Bing’s product placement on Gossip Girl.
  • Gossip Cop busted a rumor about Blake Lively (Serena, Gossip Girl) bumping Kristen Stewart from the June cover of Vogue.
  • The Los Angeles Times has an awesome interview with Shenae Grimes (Annie, 90210), and they link to my Zachary Ray Sherman (Jasper) interview! Warning, though: both interviews have spoilers if you haven’t watched tonight’s ep yet.
  • The CW Source has a very short video interview with Michael Steger (Navid, 90210). I didn’t watch it but it’s likely spoilish if you haven’t seen tonight’s ep.
  • Gossip Cop has an article on the reconciliation between Tori Spelling (Donna, Beverly Hills 90210) and mom Candy Spelling.
  • Emma Caulfield (Susan, Beverly Hills 90210) is getting divorced.
  • Olivia Wilde (Alex, The O.C.) will be missing an unspecified number of House episodes next season so she can film Cowboys and Aliens.
  • The Good Guys, starring Colin Hanks (Grady, The O.C.), premieres on FOX tomorrow night.




Exclusive: One Tree Hill Music Supervisor Lindsay Wolfington Fills In The Blanks

16 05 2010

Tomorrow night’s episode of One Tree Hill will be the last of the seventh season–and possibly the last of the series. As the show’s music supervisor, Lindsay Wolfington has been a constant presence throughout more than 150 episodes, carefully choosing the songs that make us laugh, cry and spend hours on iTunes.

Wolfington was kind enough–and fun enough–to play a quick game of “Fill In The Blank.”

TeenDramaWhore: _____ is the song most often mentioned to me by One Tree Hill fans.

Lindsay Wolfington: “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS in the 100th episode [Episode 5.12, Hundred] is probably the most asked about song on OTH – why was it changed out after the first airing. I’ve explained that legally, we only were able to get rights to air it on TV in the U.S., not for the rest of the world or on DVD. Some other fan favorites mentioned to me often are Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” [in Episode 3.22, The Show Must Go On] and maybe “More Than Anyone” by Gavin DeGraw [in Episode 1.21, The Games That Play Us and Episode 3.22, The Show Must Go On].

TDW: I’ll always regret not using _____ in the One Tree Hill scene where _____

Wolfington: No regrets! One funny story though: I sent in Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” as background/party music at Haley [Bethany Joy Galeotti] and Nathan’s [James Lafferty] wedding at the end of season 3 [Episode 3.22, The Show Must Go On]. Mark [Schwahn, creator] and Joe [Davola, executive producer] didn’t like the song and pulled it out. In the end, we probably wouldn’t have been able to afford it anyway because Led Zeppelin cleared and took up most of the budget, but it was funny that about a month later, it was the biggest song on the radio and a few months after that, it won the Grammy for Record Of The Year. The nice thing is that even Mark and Joe look back on it and think “whoops!” Again, it might have been cut anyway because of budget, so no need to harp on it. It’s just nice that they were able to say “hey, Lindsay actually knows what she’s talking about!”

TDW: The hardest One Tree Hill scene to score was _____.

Wolfington: I’ve mentioned a couple times that the coda where we used Keane’s “She Has No Time” [Episode 2.13, Between Order And Randomness The Hero Dies In This One] was really hard for a while. It was a long coda and I kept trying song after song, but nothing was great. Then when I put Keane to the picture, it was perfect.

TDW: A band I’ve never admitted to liking is _____.

Wolfington: I’m not ashamed to admit if I like a cheesy band or song! If you are looking for an embarrassing song that I like, I would say Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping.” It is killer on the dance floor! I love it because people just dance however they want and don’t think about it because the song is goofy, and that’s when people really have fun, I think.

Come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview!

TDW Interview Index





News Roundup: One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl and 90210

11 05 2010
  • Last night’s One Tree Hill (2.1 million rounded up) and Gossip Girl (1.8 million rounded up) both rose a tiny bit in the ratings compared to last week, though Gossip Girl’s raise was teeny tiny.
  • Mark Schwahn (creator, One Tree Hill), Mike Grubbs (Grubbs, One Tree Hill) and some others, under the name Nashville Skyline, co-wrote the song Carry You Home, which will play in the season/series finale’s coda next Monday.
  • Lee Norris (Mouth, One Tree Hill) will be the guest on ArtistsOnDemandRadio next Monday after the season/series finale airs.
  • TVByTheNumbers.com’s two writers believe One Tree Hill has a 60 or 75 percent chance of renewal.
  • E! Online has a spoiler regarding William (Billy Baldwin, Gossip Girl), which you can file under “Thank you, Captain Obvious. This is Gossip Girl we’re talking about.”
  • The Dartmouth has an interesting article on the suckiness of Gossip Girl, particularly when compared to  The O.C.
  • PopEater has an interview with Leighton Meester (Blair, Gossip Girl) mostly about her singing career.
  • Movieline.com has a pretty good interview with Laura Harring (Elizabeth, Gossip Girl).
  • Jessica Lowndes (Adrianna, 90210) is now on Twitter. I’ve added her to the Twitter Directory.
  • WPIX has a spoilish video interview with Lowndes.
  • Korbi has a spoilish video interview with Trevor Donovan (Teddy, 90210).
  • The CW Source has a spoilish video interview with Diego Boneta (Javier, 90210).
  • Kellan Lutz (George, 90210) is reportedly in a salary dispute with Summit Entertainment regarding Breaking Dawn and his role could be recast.




Exclusive: James Lafferty on the Past, Present and Future of One Tree Hill

25 04 2010

In 2003, television viewers met Nathan Scott, a cute but cocky, athletic but academically-challenged high school junior. In the nearly seven real-time years that have passed, we’ve slowly seen Nathan transform into a handsome but humble, career-minded but family-focused husband and father.

Who will Nathan be in another year? James Lafferty, who spoke with me earlier this week about the past, present and future of One Tree Hill, hopes we’ll be able to find out. But before we could get to that, Lafferty turned the tables on me. See for yourself…

James Lafferty: So you’re TeenDramaWhore.com.

TeenDramaWhore: What do you think of the name?

Lafferty: That’s such an admission of guilt! It’s good, though. It’s straight to the point so people know what they’re getting.

TDW: That’s right. I admit I am obsessed with teen dramas and I wanted to create a place for fans just like me to discuss the shows.

Lafferty: Is that going well for you?

TDW: It’s going great. I love it. And I love getting to interview people like you!

Lafferty: Awesome. So where do we rank on your teen drama list?

TDW: Oh, goodness. That’s such a hard question!

Lafferty: I get to ask you one hard question and you get to ask me 20 easy ones.

TDW: Okay. I’ll take that deal. I would say you guys are in a three-way tie for number one.

Lafferty: Alright.

TDW: My all-time favorite is the original 90210. But tied with it would be Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill.

Lafferty: So we’re in a three-way tie with 90210 and Dawson’s Creek?

TDW: Yes.

Lafferty: Oh, c’mon! You can’t ask for anything more than that. That’s the hall of fame right there!

TDW: That is the hall of fame. So, of the current shows on right now, that means you win.

Lafferty: That does mean we win. Okay, I’m happy with that.

TDW: Great! My turn! There are just four episodes left in One Tree Hill’s seventh season. How would you describe them?

Lafferty: You know, I have only seen the finale. But I think all the episodes are going to come together really well. We had sort of an all-star lineup of directors for the last few. Pete Kowalski directed one. He’s been our director of photography for so long and has directed episodes before. He’s phenomenal. [Executive producer] Greg Prange directed one and he’s just a veteran. He knows the show so well. As a director, the only person who knows the show better is probably [creator] Mark Schwahn. And Schwahn directed the finale. So we’ve got a lot of really strong episodes coming up for the audience to look forward to.

TDW: Greg worked on Dawson’s Creek before One Tree Hill.

Lafferty: Yes, he did. It’s funny–Dawson’s Creek was actually shooting their finale when we shot our pilot back in 2003. Greg was still working on Dawson’s at the time and was not involved in our show. But once [The WB] picked us up and we were coming to Wilmington, it seemed like a great fit to have Greg Prange and [producer] David Hartley come on and sort of help guide us here in Wilmington.

TDW: That’s awesome. I really love how these two fantastic teen dramas have come out of that one area, with the same soundstages and everything.

Lafferty: I think it’s a testament to the area, to Wilmington. It inspires and encourages this really great, classic, sort of American setting. I think that’s why so many productions come here.

TDW: That’s right. So one thing in the promos for the upcoming episodes that has everyone talking is that Haley [Bethany Joy Galeotti] doesn’t seem like she’s doing too well. Do you have anything comforting you can say to the fans about that?

Lafferty: Yeah, absolutely. Haley is obviously grieving because she’s lost her mom but these things, it’s like “what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” I think Haley’s journey through this process is going to bring the Scott family unit together and also her friends are going to have to be there for her. So what that means from an audience standpoint is you’re going to see the whole group sort of banding together to make it through this and it’s going to be a really positive experience.

TDW: What is it about Naley, do you think, that has earned the couple such loyal fans?

Lafferty: I think, to start with, the likelihood of the situation, of Nathan and Haley coming together, was so small. In our first few episodes, the characters were worlds apart. It didn’t seem like it would be a good fit. But sort of against all odds, they continued to make it work over the years and they fought through adversity. I think they’ve become a couple that you don’t take for granted because they’ve been up against so much. So you root for them.

TDW: People are rooting for them. I think they root for Jamie [Jackson Brundage], too. One thing that has stuck out to me is that a lot of people have said this season how quickly Jackson is growing up before our very eyes. And it got me thinking that you kind of grew up on the screen before us, too. Weren’t you just 17 when you were cast in the show?

Lafferty: Yeah. I hadn’t turned 18 yet. I did my senior year of high school during the pilot. I was out here [in Wilmington] with my mom for three weeks shooting the pilot.. And then the next time I was here was when the show got picked up and we were shooting the first episode. I was 18 and I was out here on my own in an apartment. I lived with Brett Claywell, who played Tim on the show. I always say that One Tree Hill has kind of been my college. I guess now that means I am working on my master’s degree or maybe my Ph.D.

TDW: Maybe. Seven years is a long time.

Lafferty: It is a long time. And I’ve been thankful for every year. I’d be grateful for another one.

TDW: Next week, I believe, is the show’s 150th episode.

Lafferty: Oh, that’s right. Greg Prange, fittingly, directed our 150th episode. We had a little impromptu celebration on set when we wrapped that episode.

TDW: Did you? That’s great.

Lafferty: Yeah. It’s such a good milestone. For me, it’s just as big as 100. Not a lot of shows go for 150 episodes. The fact that we have seven complete seasons–we never had a season that just went for 13; we’ve had seven very complete seasons–it kind of blows my mind to think about it.

TDW: When you look back on the all the stories you’ve done in 150 episodes, what stands out to you? Do you have a favorite storyline or episode?

Lafferty: I’ve got a couple. There’s just like these “moments.” When we shot the state championship episode [Episode 4.09, Some You Give Away], that was huge. We went to Raleigh and we shot in N.C. State’s arena. I think it’s called the RBC Center. Greg Prange directed that episode. We were up against it. We had not a lot of time to shoot it. We had to be out of that RBC Center by a certain time. We just had a mountain of set-ups to shoot for all the basketball action. It was really a testament to the work this crew can do. Brendan Kirsch, who does all the sports coordination, pulled everything together and we really made those two days happen. We got an amazing episode out of it, amazing basketball action. And that was so gratifying for me, because I was so connected to the basketball part of it. Then another one is sort of a basketball one as well, when Nathan took the court at the Bobcats arena [Episode 6.24, Remember Me As A Time Of Day] for the NBA. We went to Charlotte to shoot that and we actually went and shot half-time at a game. They said, “You have four minutes to get what you need.”

TDW: Oh, wow.

Lafferty: Literally, in four minutes, we ran out there, took a steady cam out there and we had all of our guys dressed in Bobcats clothing. There were 26,000 fans in the arena. The announcer came on and announced Nathan Scott. All the graphics were up all over the screens. It was just this surreal moment when I literally felt like I had won the lottery. That just doesn’t happen. For me, it’s always been a dream to take the court at an NBA game and even though it didn’t “really” happen, just even shooting that and being in front of that many people, having that moment happen for the character, was just really awesome. So those are just a couple of moments that stand out for me as really defining times.

TDW: Speaking of the basketball, this season, we haven’t really seen you play outside of the River Court. If we get a season 8, will Nathan get back to that?

Lafferty: I don’t know. Possibly. It’s difficult to say where Nathan in particular is headed in his career. He could continue playing for the NBA. He could realize he really cherishes his time and loves his time being a father and a husband and wants to be close to his family. I think Nathan will always be involved in basketball. Basketball will always be a part of his life. But in what way has yet to be defined.

TDW: I know you’ve been back a few weeks already but you guys went to Utah to film the finale. I imagine it took you out of your comfort zone a little bit because it’s not the Wilmington weather and it’s certainly not the California weather.

Lafferty: We were definitely out of our element. It was funny–we actually had one of the coldest winters ever here in Wilmington this past winter. It had just started getting warm here and we decided to go to Utah. I called it “chasing winter.” We basically chased the winter to Utah and got back into that really cold environment. We had this hybrid crew of local Utah people and the people from Wilmington we brought out. That worked really well. There were a lot of things we were up against that could’ve hurt us or held us back a little bit but we got through it and we got everything done, got everything we needed. Mark Schwahn got us to do some really good days. It was a great experience.

TDW: What have you heard about a season 8?

Lafferty: I’ve tried not to pay too much attention to it because there’s so much speculation. There’s hundreds of questions and no answers. It’s really hard. If you listen to everything that’s out there, and if you really invest in everything that’s said, it can be emotionally taxing. We’re talking about our lives here. I think for me, I’m trying to sit back and just wait. I’ve heard a couple of different things here and there but for me, it still seems to be a coin toss. I think the fan support really does help. So if you’re a fan of the show, continue to voice your support.

TDW: If this is the last season of the show, what would you want the show’s legacy to be?

Lafferty: Well, I think the show’s legacy is already defined. I think the way that you put it at the beginning of this interview, of you ranking us up there with 90210 and Dawson’s Creek, that’s really our show’s legacy. I think we’re going to go down as one of those great teen dramas that hopefully a generation identified with. That’s really what I hope for. That people look back on the show and say “That was a sign of the times.”

TDW: What message would you want to give to the fans?

Lafferty: I’m a sucker for happy endings. I would like to leave the fans with a happy ending. I think we go to the movies, we watch our TVs so we can be told stories and I would love for our story to be one that ends positively.

Come back tomorrow night at 8pm eastern for my live-blog of One Tree Hill 7.19, Every Picture Tells A Story.

Be sure to also come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview.

TDW Interview Index








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