The transition from reality star to legitimate actor is perhaps the trickiest transition in Hollywood. But Stephen Colletti made it look effortless when he segued from Laguna Beach to One Tree Hill in 2007.
Now, five seasons later, his character Chase has become an integral part of OTH's world, which makes the show's looming finale even more bittersweet for the actor. I caught up with Stephen this morning to find out what fans can expect from the final days of One Tree Hill!
Insider.com: There's a general consensus amongst fans that this is the strongest season the show's had in years. Do you agree?
Stephen Colletti: I do. It's funny, when we first started getting scripts for this season, our minds were blown about where things were going. We couldn't decide if we wanted to ask Mark [Schwan, creator] what was going to happen or just find out script by script. Now that we know the show is ending, it kind of let Mark ask, "What kind of show do I want to make this year?" And he's just going for it -- we're taking some big risks and that's giving us a lot of really fun storylines.
Insider: What have you enjoyed about Chase's journey this season?
Stephen: Whether it's personal, career-wise or relationship-wise, Chase has a lot of major decisions to make this year and deal with problems he's never had to before. So for me to play that has been an incredibly step beyond everything I've done before. It's been so fun and cool to see it all coming full-circle.
Insider: I'm sure it doesn't hurt that you're getting to spend some time with your real life girlfriend, Chelsea Kane, on the show. Is it tougher to have sex scenes with someone you're actually dating versus a stranger?
Stephen: It always depends on who you're with. There are people you don't gel with on-screen or off-screen, so when it comes to filming intimate scenes there are hoops you have to jump through to make it look good. I would say it's definitely easier for Chelsea and I to get comfortable together in bed with minimal clothing on, although there is still an oddity to that. When you walk on set, you let everyone crack their jokes and get it out of their system because you have a job to do. I'm sure lots of people thought it was weird, but it was funny for us. You just move forward and make it work.
Insider: Tonight brings you and Tyler Hilton back to the strip club, right?
Stephen: Yea, not a terrible way to spend a day, but we're shooting a real strip club ... and let me tell you, you don't want to drop anything on the floor [laughs]. You pick up all these weird dust-mites. So not as exciting as it sounds, but a fun experience nonetheless. Plus, it's been great to have Tyler's character back. He adds such a great comic relief into the show. And for the record, we're pushing for Two Tree Hill!
Insider: Oh? Given that, how do you feel about where the show leaves Chase?
Stephen: I feel like he's left off in a great spot. With everything that happens this season, and how it brings the show full circle in the end, I think fans are going to love it too. I feel happy and fulfilled with Chase and I think everyone will with all the characters.
One Tree Hill airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.