James Lafferty is Hotter Than Ever for JJ Spotlight! (Exclusive)
The 28-year-old actor is best known for his work on the beloved CW series One Tree Hill and he’s currently starring on the new NBC show Crisis. He will also be seen in the new horror flick Oculus, in theaters next month.
In our exclusive interview with James, he talked to us about whether a One Tree Hill reunion would happen, the most romantic thing he has ever done, and also some super personal things that only those close to him would know to ask!
Make sure to watch new episodes of Crisis every Sunday night at 10/9c and catch Oculus in theaters everywhere on April 11.
Click inside to read our interview with James Lafferty…
James Lafferty Interview – JustJared.com Exclusive
Just Jared: Congrats on Crisis! Tell us about your character.
James Lafferty: I play a high school teacher who gets taken hostage, abducted with a class full of my students – all the children of the most popular people in the country. We’re being held as leverage, you could say, for our kidnapper’s agenda.
JJ: Is the whole season that arc of you being held hostage?
JL: Yeah. We actually don’t know how long we’re going to be held captive. The first season will probably play out over the course of that particular hostage crisis.
JJ: What has been your favorite scene to shoot so far?
JL: Our characters are held up in kind of a mansion, and so far, I think my favorite scene to shoot…
JJ: Wait, you’re a high school teacher and you’re held up in a mansion??
JL: Yeah, yeah, yeah. (chuckles) I don’t know how much I can give away, because they’re very, very secretive. But I do know that they’re like… we’re on a school bus that gets taken hostage, and we end being held hostage. They take us all to a mansion at an undisclosed location.
JJ: Where’s this supposed to take place?
JL: Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas. So I think all of the high tension stuff has been my favorite to shoot. You know, when there’s guns being pointed at us and people yelling, and shots being fired. That’s when the energy is ramped up on set and I think it’s fun.
JJ: What has been your favorite prop on set?
JL: I guess working with the weaponry because there are a lot of guys around us that have some pretty advanced weaponry. It’s cool to be around.
JJ: Are they prop guns or real guns with no bullets?
JL: They’re usually prop guns but every once in a while we are working with a real gun with no bullets, or a real gun with blanks. So at that point, the armor has to make rounds on set and make sure that everybody sees that there’s nothing in the chamber, and they’re not real bullets, and all that.
JJ: What is your favorite off-screen moment?
JL: Just bonding with the kids that I’m supposed to be teaching. A lot of them, I’m only ten years older than. And when I was first getting my start in television, I was their age. So it’s kind of funny to see, it’s really cool to see them starting out and playing their teacher. Makes me feel old, and it’s amusing at the same time.
JJ: What did you learn being on a long-standing series that you have brought to this series?
JL: Composure. Just having that experience coming from One Tree Hill has given me a lot of confidence, walking onto a set. I feel like I could walk onto any set now, just because I’ve got so much time on set under my belt. Playing sort of a smaller role in Crisis, sometimes it’s harder going onto a show when you’re not one of the major roles. But I think bringing that confidence from my previous experience on a set has helped me out a lot.
JJ: Can you describe your cast members in one word each? Starting with Gillian Anderson.
JL: I’ve hung out with her once, so… (laughs) Quiet.
JJ: Dermot Mulroney.
JJ: Lance Gross.
JL: I’ve only met him, I don’t know. I really have just said “Hi” to him. Strong.
JJ: Rachael Taylor.
JL: Strong, haha.
JJ: Stevie Lynn Jones.
JJ: Halston Sage.
JJ: Joshua Erenberg.
JJ: Max Schneider.
JJ: Max Martini.
JJ: You went from high school straight to One Tree Hill, what’s the first thing you remember about that transition, and the first season of that show?
JL: It was the intersection of two worlds for me. While we were shooting the pilot, I called to ask my prom date to prom while I was in Wilmington, North Carolina. And when I look back, I kind of see that as the time when those worlds overlapped, of me being a kid and me starting off on this new adventure. That was a pretty cool moment.
JJ: Did you ever flip channels, then come across your show? What’s your reaction?
JL: Yeah, it’s kind of hard. Every once in a while I’ll be flipping through and I’ll see it on the guide. It’s kind of hard not to click on because you never know what season you’re going to see. And if it’s one of the first few seasons, there’s scenes that I just literally don’t remember shooting because they were so long ago. It’s like if you were able to rewind through your high school years, you’d see something that surprises you, you’d be like, “Oh my god, that’s gross,” or “that’s awesome.” It’s pretty fun.
JJ: Do fans react differently than when you started the show and now, and how did that change? Do you have crazy fan stories?
JL: Oh yeah, it’s definitely changed. It was funny, we’ve always had a loyal fan base. The range of people that watch the show, or that has been exposed to the show, has grown so much because it’s been on TV, syndicated, and because it’s been on Netflix. I remember a distinct difference between before we were on Netflix and when we got on Netflix. It was like suddenly everybody watched the show. People were just cramming it, and so now, yeah, it’s much different. Just the range of people that we’re exposed to is different.
JJ: Who from the cast do you still talk to or hang out with?
JL: [Stephen] Coletti, Rob Buckley. Actually, it was fun. We just did kind of a little fan convention in Paris, so I got to see a lot of people again for the first time. I got to see Shantel [VanSanten], [Bethany] Joy [Lenz], Hilarie Burton, haven’t seen her in years. Tyler Hilton. So yeah, I still see Lee Norris around. There were so many people in the cast, in such a small town, you’re bound to cross paths with everybody.
JJ: There’s always talks about reunions, would you be down for a One Tree Hill reunion?
JL: Yeah, enough time would have to pass though. Everybody would be down for something like that. It’s like why not?
JJ: What do you think your character Nathan would be up to if you were to reconvene?
JL: I’m sure he’d have five or six kids by then. Probably embarking on some new career choice, because he can never seem to stay put in one thing for more than a couple years. And hopefully he’s still devastatingly handsome.
JJ: You also like to write and direct. What have you been working on in those areas?
JL: I’m always trying to do stuff with my friends. I’ve got a pilot actually that we’re, sort of moving right along with. We got a setup at a pretty cool company and there’s not much I can really say about it now, but that part of my career I’m really happy with right now. I’m continuing to learn and grow, but it’s nice to make a little progress while you’re doing that.
JJ: What genre are you branching out into? Drama, comedy…?
JL: Yeah drama. I think definitely drama. It’s sort of a period drama. We get to sort of transport the audience into a different world.
JJ: Is this something you’re only behind the camera on?
JL: Yeah, definitely.
JJ: Do you have ideas of who you want in front of the camera for this project?
JL: Not yet. Right now we’re still in the stages of trying to get it out there. I mean, we have sort of our dream ideas but who knows. That’s all speculation.
JJ: Now for some random questions. Who’s your favorite person to follow on Instagram?
JL: Probably my buddy Bryan Greenberg, because he’s always just somewhere ridiculously exotic. Just recently he was cycling through Europe. He’s always doing something crazy, and fun, and cool, and making me feel very uncool.
JJ: What music are you listening to?
JL: Right now, I’ve been completely obsessed with the Lorde album, everything that she’s done. Also, I just randomly, I don’t know why, but I never got into LCD Soundsystem. So I’ve just been cramming LCD Soundsystem lately, and just loving every minute of it.
JJ: Do you watch television?
JL: Yeah, never when it’s on though. (laughs)
JJ: Are you one of those binge watchers?
JL: Yeah. Yes, exactly.
JJ: What’s the last thing that you watched?
JL: Last thing I binge-watched was the last season of Mad Men. So I’m still letting that sink in.
JJ: Could you explain #BlameJamesLafferty?
JL: I had this Hans Solo cut out at my house that we used to scare people with. And it’s a life size cut out. And so Stephen took it from my house to work one day when he was working with Rob, and he put it in Rob’s shower in his trailer. And his shower is on the opposite side of the room from the mirror in the bathroom so that when Rob went to go to the bathroom he looked up into the mirror to see Hans Solo over his shoulder and I guess just lost it. Freaked him out. So I think he tweeted about it or something, and then he tweeted #BlameJamesLafferty because it was my Hans Solo cut out, when in fact I had nothing to do with it. And ever since then, they blame me for everything on Twitter. Every calamity of their life is my fault.
JJ: We heard you got a new refrigerator…?
JL: (laughs) Yes. How did you know that?
JJ: We have inside sources, it’s our job!
JL: That’s some incredible stuff right there. I did just get a new refrigerator. My brother and I had this really old, horrible, bottom loading freezer, and the handle broke off of it, and when the handle broke off, it sliced my friend’s hand like almost in half. And so finally, after not being able to get into our freezer for like two years, we replaced it. So yeah, we have a water filter and we can get ice, it’s really fun.
JJ: Do you miss Trevor in Chicago?
JL: (laughs) Yes, I do. My car’s name is Trevor, so yeah. Well no actually, no I don’t. I’m thinking of my car here. I drove Trevor to Chicago, so Trevor’s still with me. We’re still…
JJ: You drove it back?
JL: I haven’t driven it back. I’m actually driving my parents car out here. So yeah, Trev is garaged in Chicago right now. He gets me to work and back everyday.
JJ: What does “L Bar” mean to you?
JL: L Bar is like my living room that is not in my house. It’s an awesome little dive that’s down the street. It’s actually the closest bar to my house and so my friend’s and I have kind of, we’ve kind of owned it as our little haunt. It’s coming home for me, every time I come home, we all gotta meet up at L Bar.
JJ: How do you feel about sunflower seeds?
JL: (laughs) Did you talk to Eve [Hewson] or something? You must have. They’re my addiction. They’re my only addiction, and it’s pretty severe. It’s um… yeah. I’ll never get over it. My brother’s into the flavored ones, he’s into like ranch and all that. But I’m a purest, I just go for the straight Frito Lay sunflower seeds. The original.
JJ: What was the latest thing you lost?
JL: Oh god… my house key. When I got back from Chicago. That was kind of a pain in the a–. We finally found it and we got some more made. I think I’ve lost about six house keys now. The thing is, I take them off of my car key ring, so if I’m wearing a suit or something, I can just put em in my pocket. And inevitably, they just disappear, in couch cushions or something.
JJ: Would you like to tell us the story of when you lost your car keys when you were in Vegas?
JL: (laughs) Yes. God, I should have Eve do my pre-interviews from now on, because this is far more interesting than anything I’ve ever done so far. So basically we all went to Vegas, partied for like four days. I left my car at a house that Eve and all her friends were staying at actually. So I packed everything up and we went to Vegas, and on the way back from Vegas, I was just sort of picturing how I was going to get my life back together. I was like, “Okay, well first I’ve got to get my car.”
And I realized, I don’t remember packing my car keys in Vegas. Like, I don’t remember putting them into my toiletry bag like I usually do. So I was like, “I think I left my car keys in Vegas.”
So I called the hotel, they’re like, “Alright, we’ll look for it.” I had like three different people looking for it at the hotel. And this is all on the drive back. I was freaking out because I didn’t have a spare. I was like I’m going to have to get a locksmith out here and it’s going to cost so much money. And so I get back, and my last sort of resort was that it would be at the house that I left my car at. So we did a turn the house upside down, car keys aren’t there. I was like, well, I guess I’ve gotta call a locksmith. My buddy was on the phone with a locksmith and I go to my car to just look inside to make sure everything is there and everything was there, including my keys, in the ignition. And they had been there for four days. (laughs)
JJ: How did that Harlem Shake video come about?
JL: It was Valentine’s day, we were just chillin’ and it was actually the first night I had ever seen Harlem Shake. And I had, I probably had a couple drinks in me, and was like, I should do one of those. I have a Storm Trooper costume in my garage, we could do this right now. And like thirty minutes later, it was on YouTube.
JJ: What’s the most romantic thing, you’ve ever done?
JL: (pauses) I’m so bad at this. I’ve done some pretty romantic stuff though. Let’s see… I once took an ex-girlfriend on a tour around New York City, of all the places that meant something to us in the city, throughout the course of our relationship. And it was like, I guess it was our three year anniversary or something, so we went on like three different special spots around the city. Then ended it at the place where I got her a gift.
JJ: That was pretty good.
JL: Yeah, that was alright. It was no hot air balloon ride, or proposal, or anything.
PHOTO SHOOT CREDITS (PICTURES BELOW) —–
Pictures 1 and 3: American Apparel t-shirt, TOPMAN pants, Mr. B’s by Aldo shoes.
Picture 2: TOPMAN shirt
Pictures 4 and 5: Burberry Brit sweater, H&M pants, Hugo by Hugo Boss boots
Producer: Jared Eng (@JaredEng)
Photographer: Justin Campbell (@JustinCampPhoto)
Stylist: Ashley Weston (@AshleyPWeston)
Groomer: Melissa DeZarate (MelissaDeZarate.com)
Talent: James Lafferty (@ThisIsLafferty)