For over a decade Chad Michael Murray has been showcasing his acting talents on television sets and silver screens with his famous leading roles as Lucas Scott on The CW veteran series One Tree Hill and popular films such as A Cinderella Story and Freaky Friday. Now Murray is revealing a different creative side, that of a writer with the release of his first graphic novel Everlast, which tells the story of a tragic hero on a journey to save the world before the “end of days”. Prior to the Los Angeles signing of Everlast, Murray and I spoke up about his writing process, his return to One Tree Hill and what he took from the whole experience; as well as his role in the powerful upcoming film The Untitled Renee Project!
Why did you decide to write Everlast ? I read that the thought came to your mind after hearing the story from someone who just knocked on your door to sell you something!
Chad- That’s right! After I heard the main story, I went inside and I sat on my couch and it inspired me to sit there and think about it. And I was so inspired by the idea of what if man-kind was pretty much going to be decimated and only a certain number of people were going to be left, how would they be chosen? Or what would put you on this list? And I thought well what if there was a list? And there was a man in this world, just like you and I, whose divine gift, was the gift to know who was going to live and who was going to die. And they were kind of soldiers of a higher power and they were to find those people on the list and keep them safe every day so that man-kind would have a second chance. And if he failed, all of humanity would be gone. So that’s kind of where it came from! (Laughs)
How was the writing process for you? I know you wrote the One Tree Hill 40’s episode, was it different? Because it’s not like a script, was this more challenging?
Chad- This book was far more in-depth than the script of an episode of One Tree Hill. The reason being is a graphic novel format is much different than you would ever assume. It’s basically a feature script. You have to describe all of what’s going on in each photo so that the artists can draw each panel to what you’re seeing. So you’re describing all the direction and screen direction, and then you’re creating the dialog and you have to make sure that everything flows so evenly so the story can be told visually. So you’re kind of directing, writing, producing all at the same time and it was a handful. It was my first one and I was just very blessed to have Archaia sit there and guide me and show me the ropes. And just work with really good people.
And I saw the images, they’re very detailed so I can imagine the writing has to be very specific.
Chad- Yes. You sit down and it was nice to just get the artists opinion on a lot of things because a lot of these artists are gifted and they can bring a life to an idea so beautifully. They can tell a story with an expression and this was something I wasn’t familiar with till this point. With the episode of Tree Hill I was so into the characters, I knew them so well. And it was funny because to get the opportunity to actually make an episode of a TV show without actually being a WBGA writer is not something that’s easy. So what I did was I sat down and I just wrote it, and I handed it in. I said, “Mark, what do you think? Come on, give me a shot.” Because I mean it’s not easy to say, “Hey I want to write an episode!” That’s a lot of pressure to put on our creator and he was so kind to say, “Here you go Chad. You know what I like it. Here we go!” And we did it and it was fun and I think it was the most expensive episode we ever shot! Woops!
How would you describe Everlast in one word to your fans?
Chad-I would just say Journey. Adventure.
What was the most valuable thing of your entire One Tree Hill experience? What did you most take away from your six years on the show?
Chad-It was my opportunity to just grow. I was very blessed to be away from Los Angeles and the cameras and those things. To have the opportunity to really kind of grow up and have the opportunity to fail and make mistakes and still have the people around that love you as family, instead of someone who is just an employee, was interesting. It’s a great environment. You have this crew and cast at your home on Sunday’s watching Football. These are your friends. This is your community. And where you live in Los Angeles, you see each other at work and you have great camaraderies and friendships, but it’s only a few here and there that you actually keep in touch with over the years. So this was one of those experiences I was very blessed to have.
And you recently went back! How was the experience to be back there? From what I’ve seen, fans are really excited about being Lucas being back.
Chad-The experience was great. It was incredibly fulfilling and the cast and crew couldn’t have been better. I got to work with Joy, [Bethany Joy Galeotti] who is the best. I love working with Joy. Got to see little Jackson [Brundage] and meet one of the new girl’s Shantel [Van Santen]. And just everyone was so kind. It was nice to be back.
That’s cool! I’m glad Lucas will be back before the end.
Chad- It’s nice. You’ll notice the vibe change. You can definitely feel the Lucas vibe there. It’s really cool!
You recently filmed an important role in the upcoming film, The Untitled Renee Project, where you play the boy who helped found TWOLHA. This movie tackles a major topic, how was that?
Chad- It’s such a socially important film. And I think that especially for adolescents it’s going to hit home. It’s such a beautiful film. Kat Dennings is incredible in it. As was our director and our leader Nathan Frankowski, he did a great job, just telling the story visually with his camera you’ll see when the film comes out. It was a great experience. I took pieces of Jamie Tworkowski. I didn’t want to play at him, just took pieces of who he was. He has a peaceful center. He’s a beautiful man. And to take that and add that to what’s on the page, it’s really nice. I think people are going to dig it.
If you could go back in time and spend a day in the life of anyone from history, who would it be and why?
Chad- See the thing is this world is so vast and there’s so many people. To spend a day in the life of somebody, knowing that you can get out of it, to experience some of the pain is something I want to see because maybe it would change perspective on a lot of things. I can’t give you a solid answer. I can only say that man-kind has lived through so many things so either to be a great leader like a George Washington, and really, really be a leader. Or to be in the most devastating situation, being a Jew during the Holocaust and living through those unbelievable, unacceptable things. I can’t imagine that experience. It breaks my heart. So one day? I can’t make that choice.
Here’s a list of upcoming cities where Chad Michael Murray will be signing copies of Everlast at!
San Francisco- December 11th at Noon
Location- Comix Experience, 305 Divisadero Street
Portland- December 13th at 5pm
Location- Cosmic Monkey Comics, 5335 NE Sandy Blvd
Seattle- December 14th at 4 pm
Location – Local Color at Pike Place Market, 1606 Pike Place
Buffalo- December 28th at 7pm
Location- Barnes & Noble, Amherst, 1565 Niagara Falls Blvd
Toronto- December 29th at 5pm
Location-The Silver Snail, 367 Queen St West, Toronto, Ontario M5V 2A4
Chicago- January 4th at 7pm
Location- Barnes & Noble, 55 Old Orchard Center, Skokie, Illinois
For much more on Chad Michael Murray, visit www.thechadmichaelmurray.com
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadMMurray