by Jennifer Squires Biller
One Tree Hill is back tonight with a new episode on the CW at 9 p.m. ET. To celebrate, I’ve got an exclusive interview with the one-and-only James Lafferty (Nathan Scott.)
I talked to Lafferty by phone last week and did my best to get him to spill some secrets on the remaining upcoming episodes. We also talked about his annual charity basketball game at which fans get to meet the cast, what he likes to watch on television, and what he thinks of the newest member of the cast: the adorable Jamie Scott (child-actor Jackson Brundage.)
Jennifer: OK, let’s talk One Tree Hill! There has been a change in dynamic this year with the fast-forward through the college years and into adulthood. I have to say, the Tree Hill graduates have been so successful that it makes the rest of us look like slackers. It’s nice, and relatable, to see your character NOT having everything in his life fall so easily in place. What’s it like playing the guy whose life didn’t turn out the way he thought it would?
James: It’s interesting because Nathan’s character always sort of (identified himself) with the basketball court and to have that taken away, it’s been a challenge, definitely. I haven’t really had to delve that deep into the character since season one. It was good to reach down. It turned out really good. It worked for the character. It really set up a good opportunity for him to come full circle and get back to the guy that he was.
Jennifer: I know the storyline direction has changed this season, but I’ve really missed Deb, Dan, Karen, and especially Whitey. Do you know if there is any chance we’ll get to see more of them in upcoming episodes?
James: Yeah. Dan will be around. We’ll be seeing a little bit more of Deb, she’s gonna come in and out, and Whitey, I think we’ll see him in the future, but I’m not sure how much we’ll see him this season.
Jennifer: For years, my readers have been salivating over Nathan Scott, but this season, you’ve got competition, Mr. It seems your onscreen son, Jamie Scott, is winning the hearts of America’s females. What’s it like working with such an adorable little guy (child actor Jackson Brundage)?
James: It’s amazing. The kid is a genius. He brings such a life to the set. It changes the entire dynamic of the set. Everybody is in a much better mood when he’s around. He’s so much fun to work with. He’s very smart.
Jennifer: Can you tease us with what’s coming up for Nathan in the remaining episodes?
James: Nathan is still trying to put the pieces back together. We’re gonna get to see a lot of Nathan coming around as a father and becoming a role model and really solidifying his position with his family. There’s some good story there.
Jennifer: Last week on the show we got the news that Dan is “allegedly” dying from a heart condition. Can you give us any scoop on whether Dan is just manipulating Nathan or if indeed Dan’s ticker is almost out of time?
James: Um…I can’t give anything there!
Jennifer: I had to try!
Jennifer: The character of Nathan Scott has evolved so much from the beginning of the series. He went from a selfish, party boy who hated his brother to the good guy we see today. Which do you like playing better, bad Nathan or good Nathan?
James: Playing bad Nathan is a lot of fun. But with good Nathan there are more levels there because he’s got more to deal with in his life and he brings people closer to him in his life.
Jennifer: Do you have any theories on how Nathan and Haley afford that gorgeous mansion on a coach and teacher’s salary?
James: (Laughter.) The story is that Nathan actually has money from a shoe contract. Obviously, it got bought out when he got injured. But the money came from that, and they purchased the house with that.
Jennifer: Let's talk about your annual Charity Basketball Game. I get tons of e-mails every year from fans wanting to find out information on the event each year in Wilmington. This year was the fifth year for the sold-out game that benefits several charities. What made you start this event five years ago and what keeps you and the cast doing it each year?
James: We started (doing it) season one because we wanted to give back to the community, because the community here embraced us so well. We wanted to give back to some local charities and use the show to do some good. Also, we wanted to reach out to the fans a little bit. Every year it gets bigger and bigger and now we can sell out the game and raise more money. It’s become a staple of every season to have that charity game. The fans all show up and get to meet a lot of the cast that shows up. It’s turned into something pretty great for fans and charity alike.
Jennifer: Rarely in the world of TV, do fans ever get the chance to meet the stars of their favorite shows, let alone watch them play sports. How did you come up with such a unique concept of a basketball game that gives fans face time with the cast?
James: Our show is about basketball. It’s always sort of been a central theme. (And with it) we can bring the entire cast together around a game and give the fans something to watch, instead of just inviting them over to wait in line and sign autographs for them. We can actually put on a little bit of a show, you know? That’s how that came about.
Jennifer: Are you planning another game for next year or was this year the final?
James: We are considering doing another one next year. It went well this year. We’re coming back for a sixth season. We got an early pickup from the CW, so we’ll be doing another one next year.
Jennifer: Since this interview is for Tube Talk, I must ask, what do you watch on TV or what are some of your favorite shows?
James: I watch a lot of HBO shows and some South Park. My favorite show on television right now is The Office.
Jennifer: Thanks James for taking time to talk.
James: Thank you!
Editor's Note: If you enjoyed the interview, please take a moment to leave James a comment and let him know how much we appreciate him taking time to talk with us here at Tube Talk.