One Tree Hill Star Says He Was Blindsided By His Character’s Death

One Tree Hill Star Says He Was Blindsided By His Character’s Death

One Tree Hill star Craig Sheffer reveals the circumstances that led up to his abrupt exit from the show in season 3. The long-running drama, which was created by Mark Schwahn, ran until season 9 after premiering on The WB (which then became The CW) in 2003. One Tree Hill follows brothers Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty) through the drama surrounding their local basketball team, as well as their romances and general high school issues in the town of Tree Hill, North Carolina.

Sheffer played a character called Keith Scott, who was introduced in One Tree Hill episode 1. Keith was the older brother of Lucas and Nathan’s father, Dan (Paul Johansson), who in the first episode helps Lucas get on the basketball team. In a shocking twist, Dan shoots Keith in season 3 when he suspects him of starting a fire at his car dealership. The character appeared on two episodes of season 4 as a ghost, and then in an episode of One Tree Hill season 9 in a bizarre moment that takes Dan to the afterlife after he himself is shot dead.

Related: One Tree Hill: Why Chad Michael Murray Left In Season 6

During an interview on the Drama Queens podcast, a One Tree Hill re-watch podcast hosted by stars Bethany Joy Lenz, Hilarie Burton, and Sophia Bush, Sheffer revealed the events that led up to him leaving the show. He was absent for the final six episodes of season 2 because he was shooting a movie that he had financed himself, but was reassured by Schwahn that, “As long as the show runs, you’re gonna be on it. You’re the character I based on my brother.” However, Sheffer says he received a call shortly before One Tree Hill season 3 began filming in which he was informed of his character’s fate, causing Sheffer to complain that “Not only was it cheesy, but the way it was handled. You don’t call me and talk to me about it?” Read Sheffer’s full quote below:

“It was actually really, extremely disappointing because I had just made a movie and financed it myself for, like, a million dollars.

Because they had let me go for the last six shows the season before, I was like, “Are you going to cut me?” He came to dinner to tell me. He’s like, “No, no, no. As long as the show runs, you’re gonna be on it. You’re the character I based on my brother,”

[Schwahn called me right before filming started on season 3.] He goes, “I’ve got some really exciting news for you. It’s gonna be the best season ever.” I was like, “Yeah, I was wondering when you were gonna [call]. I didn’t even get a call, so I didn’t know what was going on. I had my agent call yesterday and nobody returned his call.” He goes, “Yeah, so good news and bad news.” Tells me all about this great thing, [and says,] “And then Paul shoots you.” I go, “OK, so I’m dead? Does that mean I don’t get paid anymore?” He was like, “Yeah.” I was like, “Dude, you told me…”’ Not only was it cheesy, but the way it was handled. You don’t call me and talk to me about it?

We do know that production schedules can get crazy but for simple things, it was so about control. I showed up as this character. I had a teeny bit of facial hair, I wore my boots outside my pants like I always did. Gradually, Mark Schwahn … they threatened to fire me about my boots. I’m like, “Look, I just don’t want to leave my boots in my pants. I wear my bandana, I’ve been doing it for the first three-four weeks.” [They said,] “We don’t want that anymore. We want your hair combed back, we want you shaved, we want this.” It got to a point where they’re calling my agent like, “If this power struggle is going to continue, we’re just going to get rid of him.” That kind of stuff, they break down your soul.”

Sheffer’s comments about Schwahn are not the first complaints made against the showrunner by people who worked on One Tree Hill. Schwahn has a history of inappropriate behavior in the workplace, including 18 allegations of sexual harassment made against him by other One Tree Hill cast and crew in 2017. In the same podcast episode outlined above, Bush went on to describe Schwan’s on-set behavior as “controlling and gross and misogynistic and creepy.” Schwahn has not worked on another series since he was fired from his show The Royals in 2018, but has never responded to the allegations.

It is interesting to hear that the One Tree Hill creator based Keith Scott on his own brother, but also had no issue with ending the character’s arc so violently. Clearly, the series still means a lot to loyal fans and the many people involved in its production, and the death of a fan-favorite like Keith in season 3 certainly proved both a shock and a disappointment to many viewers (including Sheffer himself). Unfortunately, Schwahn’s behavior at every level has ultimately cast a shadow over the One Tree Hill nostalgia, with Sheffer’s story about his character’s sudden demise only adding to this narrative.

Next: Why One Tree Hill Ended After Season 9

Source: Drama Queens

One Tree Hill star Craig Sheffer reveals he was promised that he would stay on the series before abruptly learning his character would be shot.

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