'One Tree Hill's Tyler Hilton Joins Steven Spielberg's Sci-Fi 'Extant' — Because, Why Not?

Remember Tyler Hilton? Would it help if I called him Chris Keller, maybe hummed a few bars of the early-aughts earworm "When It Comes"? Yes, I'm talking about the man who brought us everyone's favorite dickish One Tree Hill singer-songwriter, along with his Ryan Adams covers and darling habit of referring to himself in the third person. Why, you ask? Because apparently, he's still hacking away at the ol' acting career — and this time, he's struck gold. Or, well, Spielberg at least. Hilton has joined the cast of CBS's Extant , the Halle Berry-helmed sci-fi drama premiering this summer. The news is surprising for a few reasons: First off, in space, no once can hear your twangy acoustic strums. But more importantly — how to put this delicately — I can't help but express some incredulity that, given past performances, he would ever get cast in anything ever again.

I mean, wasn't Hilton supposed to be a musician in the first place anyhow? His Wikipedia page certainly seems to think so, as did AOL when they named him a "Breaker Artist" in 2004, vaulting him to the ranks of Avril Lavigne and Christina Milian. (Try to pack more nostalgia into one sentence, I dare you.) His performance on One Tree Hill always had that excusably stilted air of "musician trying out the acting thing for promotional purposes" — pulling a Pete Wentz, if you will. Even his follow-up role as Elvis in Walk the Line was pointedly song-related. Sure, for those of you keeping score, he also played the tuneless bully-turned-drug-mule in 2007's Charlie Bartlett, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say his mohawk was infinitely more expressive than the man attached to it. (And what a mohawk it was!)

Still, Spielberg & Co. must have some idea what they're doing, right? Maybe Hilton has been steeping himself in actor juice, Daniel Day-Lewis style — traded his soul for some magical thespian shoes? And according to The Hollywood Reporter, his Extant character is "a digital rock star in the Humanichs Lab" — so hopefully his real-life rockerhood will come in handy, possibly that patented Chris Keller 'tude. The blurb also describes the character as "belligerently analog at home," which I mention partially because it would seem to befit Hilton's wooden line deliveries, but mostly because I want to take whoever came up with the phrase "belligerently analog" out for a drink.

Ultimately, trepidation aside, it's hard not to be at least a little excited to see Hilton grace the small screen again — if not for the nostalgia kick, then at least for his Disney Channel-worthy eye rolls. Now, Extant writers, any chance this "digital rock star" role is hardkorr enough to warrant a mohawk?

And with that, we'll close out on perhaps Hilton's most meaningful acting role to date: As Drew, the friend-boy-not-boyfriend of Taylor Swift's "Teardrops on My Guitar." Watch the opening repartee and be amazed (that he's still a successful working actor, that is):

TaylorSwiftVEVO on YouTube

Image: artisticventures/Tumblr