One Tree Hill recently kicked off its ninth and final season, and I sat down to chat with star James Lafferty about the end of the series and his character, Nathan. Lafferty talked about playing Nathan in various stages of his life, what it means to have Dan (Paul Johansson) back, and how he feels about the show ending. Lafferty also spilled about what his favorite crazy One Tree Hill moment of all time is (and I have to agree with him!). Watch now.
Season 9 gave us an opportunity to have Paul Johansson back to play that character, to really get some true closure. It was a little bit more unpredictable and things really started happening in a different way on the show. So it's the final season of One Tree Hill and there's been so many crazy moments on the show, but I want to know what's your most favorite crazy moment? My favorite just Sort of out there moment has got to be a whole story line. I think that was sort of when our show took a turn and people realized that we kind of were just gonna do whatever we wanted. Umm, hmm. I'd say off the camera, crazy moments, I had this one episode where, the whole sort of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid episode, where we went on a gambling boat and ended up being chased by a little person poker shark, and then he chased us off the boat. We jumped off the boat and yadda yadda yadda. It was just this crazy ride. of an episode that was a blast to film. And what did you think when the show kind of took that crazier turn? Did it get more exciting to read the scripts? It was a little bit more unpredictable and think really started happening in a different way on the show. And I think the identity of our show changed a little bit and it's, I think we needed it. It took us in a different direction for a little while but I think the fans loved it and I think everybody kind of loved it in way. But Nathan's always kind of still stayed a very stable character. Yeah. Was there anything crazy that he didn't get to do, that you would have wanted him to? You know, he didn't revisit his old ways very much after he sort of made the turn into, you know, good boyfriend and husband and then father. Every once in a while you'd see a glimmer of who Nathan was in the beginning. Sort of being unpredictable or sort of emotionally volatile. But it would have been nice to have maybe a throwback episode where Nathan was the old kind of asshole neighbor made of this gap. Is there a part of you that really wants to play that bad boy? Yeah, it was a blast to do that. It was a lot of fun to do that. At the time I didn't know what the character was going to become. I didn't know if my character was going to be a villain that was eventually defeated and then off the show or what. What has been the most interesting part for you to play? When Nathan became a father. Because it's so far from where I am in my actual life, and especially when it happens, that it was a challenge to go into it and sort of connect with the idea of having a full family unit. It was really, really interesting and I think as time went on, I got better at it. And the show is very much about fathers, because it all kicked off with Dan having two different sons and then having a rivalry, and we got to see Dan in the season premiere. Dan coming back was the best thing we could have possibly done for a Season 9, because, you know, in a way we had left the story with Dan kind of unresolved. And Season 9 gave us an opportunity to have Paul Johannson back to play that character, to really get some true closure for Dan and his son, Nathan. And speaking of him, in nine seasons, you've had so many other actors come and go. Is there anyone that you really miss that you would love to see come back? It would've been awesome to see Jake Jagielski come back at some point, you know, and, you know, Brian Spangle has had a stellar career since then, but I think that at the start of the show that was a really,like Dan, he was close to the heart of the show, and to what the narratives stood for, a lot of these soulful characters. One Tree Hill has such an amazing fan base. I am wondering how that affected the way that you work. Have there been times maybe you have thought about leaving One Tree Hill, but you love the fans. The fan response to our show has always been, has always been very passionate. And, yeah, that resonates. I think that has an impact on all of us as actors, and makes us care about what we do that much more. Is it sad that the show's ending, that you're saying goodbye to everyone? It's, there's, there is an element, there's sadness for sure, because it's just been such a main stay in our lives for so long. I mean, the absence of it now is going to start to sink in, I think, and it's going to be, it's going to be an interesting process the way it sinks in, so. What are you going to miss the most? I'll miss Wilmington. Really? Yeah, I will miss Wilmington. There's, it was such a beautiful town and beautiful people. And they treated us so well and really, you know, took us in and we felt part of a family while we were there. Yeah. And I think it's a place that I'll visit for the rest of my life.