There are just some TV series viewers will never stop watching, never stop loving, never stop discussing — and never be able to move past when it comes to seeing the actors as their characters. Take One Tree Hill. When you see Sophia Bush, Chad Michael Murray, Hilarie Burton, James Lafferty, and Bethany Joy Lenz, chances are you refer to them as the characters they portrayed on The CW series. (For example, this is me every time I watch Murray on Agent Carter: "You really need to channel your inner Lucas Scott, Jack Thompson!") One would think that may get old, but if you ask the actor who brought Nathan Scott to life, that's definitely not the case. James Lafferty is proud to be known as Nathan Scott and will never get frustrated with anyone who identifies him as such.
"I wouldn't say it's frustrating," he says via phone about fans seeing him as Nathan versus his current and future jobs. "For me, it's really endearing and it's a testament to the longevity of the impact of that show and that the show made. I'll always be proud to be known to people as Nathan Scott."
Despite Nathan being introduced as somewhat of a villain when the series began, especially compared to his half-brother Lucas, he grew, changed, and became a fan favorite. One Tree Hill wouldn't have been the same without him, nor would it have become such a hit without Nathan's relationship with Haley (aka Naley), so it's no wonder that Lafferty is grateful for it all.
That said, the 30-year-old actor hopes as his resume grows, people will start to recognize him by his other roles, too. "I do hope to be known to people by other character names, as well, as my career goes on and as I get older and evolve," he admits.
Since One Tree Hill ended, Lafferty's been involved in several projects. Recently, he starred in the 2015 indie film Waffle Street, which is based on James Adams' memoir of the same name. The film follows Lafferty's character, Jimmy Adams, a former hedge-fund financier who finds himself working at a 24-hour chicken and waffles diner in search of his next passion. Plus, Lafferty is also part of WGN America's latest series Underground about the Underground Railroad. It's clear he's continuing to make a name for himself.
As much as he hopes to become known for other parts of his acting career, Lafferty says he will never, ever forget about Nathan and doesn't expect his fans will either. "There's never an instinct to sort of run from that association of Nathan Scott," he says. "I'm proud of that character. I'm proud of that role and I'm proud of the show. It's so much a part of who I actually am that there's no reason to run from it."
This just goes to show you that as much as One Tree Hill and its characters have impacted fans, the show has done the same for its actors.
Images: The WB; Giphy