Chad Michael Murray Says His 'Sullivan's Crossing' Character Is "a Piece of My Own Playbook"

chad michael murray sullivans crossing cal jones interview
Chad Michael Murray Talks 'Sullivan's Crossing'Michael Tompkins - The CW
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This interview was conducted under the clearance of SAG-AFTRA to do publicity for Sullivan's Crossing.

Throughout his time in Hollywood, fans of Chad Michael Murray have known him for portraying the most charming and the most popular character, especially in shows like One Tree Hill and A Cinderella Story. And although Lucas Scott and Austin Ames are beloved by fans, over the years as Chad thought about what he wanted to do and who he wanted to play, he found himself craving to go a little deeper. What's more, he had a desire to work on a TV show that allowed him to develop nuances that left viewers wanting to know more with each installment.

This is where Sullivan's Crossing comes in. The series follows a neurosurgeon named Maggie Sullivan (Morgan Kohan) who flees to her childhood home in Nova Scotia after being sued for negligence at her Boston hospital. The show, which is based on the books from Robyn Carr (who also was the brain behind Virgin River), immediately captured audiences, and it quickly got a season 2 renewal. As the series now airs the first season of episodes in the U.S. on the CW, Chad tells Good Housekeeping how excited he is to star in something more mature after years of being typecast.

"I think a lot of projects in general have felt different for me over the course of the last 10 years," he explains over Zoom. "It's a maturation of myself, and it's just really fascinating to watch as a human being. Before, I was so headstrong and set on looking forward. Now, it's just like, 'Okay, cool — what's going on right now?'"

Unlike his typical boy-next-door persona, folks see a different side of Chad in his new role as Cal Jones. From the minute viewers first meet the character in Sullivan's Crossing, Cal feels both familiar and elusive at the same time. He's somewhat of a loner, choosing to be by himself after showing up without an explanation of his past. Additionally, Cal prefers doing odd jobs around town rather than getting involved with the citizens' everyday life. As the show progresses, fans see him drawn to Maggie romantically, all while hiding his true reasoning behind coming to Sullivan's Crossing in the first place.

Although Cal certainly has a different vibe than we're used to seeing from the people Chad typically plays, the actor notes it was easier to tap into this character than fans might think.

"Cal is just a piece of my own playbook," he says. "I don't do well in large crowds... It's an overload of the senses and I can't handle it. So, for Cal, a lot of that backstory is planted in wanting to be alone. It's a little bit of where Cal's introverted and mysterious things come from. Even though we don't know that much about why he is the way he is, we'll come to find out more as we peel the onion."

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What's more, he loves how Sullivan's Crossing allows him to do the two things he adores most: act and be a dad. As he raises his three children with wife, Sarah Roemer, Chad emphasizes how being on a family-oriented show is a conscious choice.

"My priorities are completely different than they were when I was back on the WB," he adds. "Now, my priorities are my wife and kids. I'm sure there's a project that could come across my desk where it would make sense, but right now I'm not at a place where I want to [change it]."

As the latter set of episodes airs on the CW, TV-watchers will see more of Cal's past as he becomes an important person in Maggie's life. While there's still a lot to explore, Chad says he's proud of the evolution of his character and the show itself, especially as he films season 2.

"[The show] is a journey with real people in real situations," he concludes. "It's grounded television in the drama genre that's feel good TV. If you're looking for a show, where you're going to find someone you can identify with, this is the show for you."

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