Stephen Colletti and Chelsea Kane in ONE TREE HILL - Season 9 - "Don't You Want To Share the Guilt" | ©2012 The CW/Michael Tackett

Stephen Colletti and Chelsea Kane in ONE TREE HILL - Season 9 - "Don't You Want To Share the Guilt" | ©2012 The CW/Michael Tackett

ONE TREE HILL is a television phenomenon that has run for nine years on two different networks. The show, created by Mark Schwahn, follows a group of peers in the small North Carolina town of Tree Hill from high school into adulthood. It began on the WB on September 23, 2003 and is ending its run on the CW on April 4, 2012. It runs Wednesdays at 9 PM.

California native Stephen Colletti joined ONE TREE HILL as Chase Adams in its fourth season – just in time for the storyline’s jump four years into the future. He talks about his days on the HILL and how it feels now that it’s reaching the finish line

ASSIGNMENT X: ONE TREE HILL has lasted for nine years. Were there moments where you felt like you were sure it was ending?

STEPHEN COLLETTI: Since Season Four. Since I came on the show. I was looking forward to [playing Chase], but I was, “All right, this show has got this loyal fan base, they’re bringing these new [characters] in, what are they going to care about these new people? The show’s going to be done. It’s going to be all my fault.” The show came back, kept coming back, kept coming back, and my character kept coming back, and next thing you know, here we are at the end of Season Nine. This is a great place for it to end. ONE TREE HILL could go on forever. When you have a mind like Mark Schwahn, who writes the show, there are endless possibilities. There are endless planets in Tree Hill to visit. It’s nice to reach the spot that we did, to know that it was coming to an end, to go out there, shoot it and be done with it.

AX: How was it coming onto the show, having your character introduced and promptly having to age him four years during the Season Four/Five hiatus?

COLLETTI: The pleasure of coming in right before the end of Season Four was, [Chase] graduated with the kids, and then we had the four-year jump. I didn’t really do much in Season Five – I came back in Six. The good thing was, you didn’t get to know too much about Chase when he first came in at the end of Season Four. I only did about six episodes, and then they did the jump and my storyline was kind of up in the air. For one thing, I tried not to shave. I wanted to rock some facial hair for awhile. But Schwahn was, “Nope, we spent too much time [with close-ups] right here on the face, so it’s not going to happen that way,” but it was good. After what happened to my character, he’s a bartender. It was a very easy transition to just go with the jump of four years. I think people from the age of eighteen to twenty-two, there’s not that much of a change. I think you have an opportunity to grow more. When kids are in high school, they’re restricted. Then they go off to college, they figure themselves out in those four years.

Stephen Colletti and Sophia Bush in ONE TREE HILL - "Resolve" | ©2006 The CW/Fred Norris

Stephen Colletti and Sophia Bush in ONE TREE HILL - "Resolve" | ©2006 The CW/Fred Norris

AX: Why do you think ONE TREE HILL has lasted so long when many other shows that start in high school don’t have nearly this kind of longevity?

COLLETTI: Well, it’s a bit of comparing apples and oranges in genre, because it’s a very different show. I think something about ONE TREE HILL is, from the beginning, we were able to relate to these characters in a way that you could find a lot of similarities between them and your life. Who they are – going through high school, going through high school pregnancies, getting married right out of high school – that happens to people across the country. The unique storylines – people are always interested to hear that. So seeing how [the characters] come up from humble beginnings and then eventually go on to do various things, whether they’re doing a fashion line, becoming an NBA player, to have that journey from the beginning – a lot of people wish for that. They dream about that. They have a lot of similar dreams. So to follow these kids along that path, that’s something that’s kept the fans right there.

AX: What have been some of your favorite episodes or scenes?

COLLETTI: There have been a lot of good episodes. The season premieres and the season finales are always the good ones for me. I mean, it’s nice to be back and to be curious about the way the season starts and what’s to come throughout the season, and I kind of like to mess with myself and not ask Mark Schwahn too much about what is going to happen for the end, because I like just getting each script and reading it. And then to read the season finale and think about everything that’s happened in the season, it’s fun, because there’s been an arc and they’re reaching a resolution, they’re reaching an apex of what’s happened in their lives. There was an episode last season where Jamie’s playing this baseball game and the time jumps all over the place, so you’re trying to figure out what’s going on. You’re seeing a lot of flashbacks as the story is playing out in front of you, seeing what’s brought this character to this space in this episode, and that’s fun, because it really toyed with everyone’s minds, and it toyed with my mind the first time I read it. So I think that’s always fun – I love stuff that twists.

Stephen Colletti in ONE TREE HILL - Season 9 - "A Rush Of Blood To The Head" | ©2012 The CW

Stephen Colletti in ONE TREE HILL - Season 9 - "A Rush Of Blood To The Head" | ©2012 The CW

AX: What’s been your favorite aspect of Chase?

COLLETTI: I love [that] there’s an obliviousness to Chase. He’s one of those guys looking for acceptance. He’s amongst these glorified people, whether they’re NBA stars or musicians or whatnot, and he’s just a lonely bartender and he loves the bar and he offers advice from time to time and he feels privileged to be around these people, he really enjoys hearing their experiences. But there’s an obliviousness to him that’s fun, that’s unique. He’s just a regular guy in the midst of some pretty interesting characters.

AX: What was the atmosphere on set like the last day?

COLLETTI: It was fun. It was like senior year. Everyone knew this was going to be it, everyone was happy to be back, and we wanted to enjoy the experiences together, enjoy what a privilege it had been to work on the show the last nine years. And so we wanted to respect our relationships and have fun with each other and enjoy it for the last time.

AX: Do you have any other projects coming up?

COLLETTI: [ONE TREE HILL costar] James Lafferty and I have been working on a show called WILD LIFE. It’s on GENERATION WILD TV, it’s online. In the immediate future, that’s something that we’re working on. We want to do a travelogue, feature national parks, feature unique experiences throughout the country. It’s kind of a motivational show to get people to travel a little bit more, to go outside, to experience what’s in their backyard, enjoy the outdoors. Because I think there’s a lot people can pull from that, more than just sitting at home and being on the Internet. So now that the show’s done, we’re working on that.

AX: Anything else you’d like to say about ONE TREE HILL?

COLLETTI: Amongst all these other actors. – they’re very talented people and to get to share the screen with them has been so much fun. Each has something very different to offer from their acting [with] what they bring to their characters, and there’s something very intriguing about them and I really enjoyed working with them. It’s been a great run for the show. It’s been nice to join it for the ride, to come in the middle, meet such an incredible fan base, meet such incredible people in Wilmington, North Carolina, where it shoots, and have the privilege of working under Mark Schwahn. Because of him, the show has lasted nine years.


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Article:Exclusive Interview with ONE TREE HILL actor Stephen Colletti

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