Stephen Colletti: "One hell of a run!"

Stephen Colletti may have gotten his Big Break as a senior in high school on MTV’s Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, but he has been able to overcome the reality star stigma and is working his way to the top. After nine seasons, six of which Stephen starred, the CW’s hit show One Tree Hill is coming to an end. On the same day that he sprained his ankle during a pickup game of basketball, I caught up with Stephen to talk about the ending of the show.

Zooey Magazine: Getting your start on a reality show at such a young age, was acting always something you wanted to pursue?

Stephen Colletti: During middle school I took drama as an elective. But as I was getting ready for high school, I didn’t really care about drama. I played sports in high school. It was the thing to do. I had fun and was immature. And the new freedom of a car allowed me to maximize the amount of fun. I didn’t want to take up my nights rehearsing for a play, plus none of my friends were in drama. But, it was the brick that hit me on the head. I was not going to become a professional basketball player.

ZM: After six seasons since you first appeared on One Tree Hill, how do you feel about the show ending its nine year run?

SC: It was one hell of a run! You just have to count your blessings. I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to be on the show. Especially coming from doing reality, I’m very fortunate. After gaining so much notoriety, with all my dirty laundry hanging out there, I wanted to run and hide in a shell. I’m just very grateful. Looking back it’s been incredible. I joined the show just before they graduated high school, thinking that would be the end. And then it came back, and then it came back, and then it came back.

ZM: It has had an incredible run! What can you tell the viewers about what is still to come during the final season?

SC: Just continuous madness! The last thirteen episodes are going to tear apart the storylines and throw them up in the air. There will be resolutions. There will also be surprises. Everyone has a big change in their life, and they must come to a decision. You’re going to see the consequences.

ZM: Coming from a reality show, was the transition into a scripted drama difficult?

SC: I’m not in it for the money. Most people from reality come to Hollywood with stars in their eyes, looking for the money. So most people are going to see me that way. This is just the beginning for me. There are still so many characters I want to play. I’m going to take the experience I have gained on OTH and start something new. I am in this business for the long haul. People are always going to have their own opinions, but I care about the craft, the characters, the stories, and entertaining the audiences. OTH is just the first stepping stones for me.

ZM: So, what’s next for you? Maybe a break into movies?

SC: My goal is just to get on something new. It’s pilot season, so I will see how that goes and work from there. Film is also a major goal of mine, but I would like to continue to dip in both. I worry about getting stuck in one character for six, seven, or eight years. For the first four years, as Chase Adams, I was in and out with very, very small story lines. James Lafferty and I have also been working on a project on our National Parks, as well. We want to get people out from behind their computer screens and cell phones. It is a documentary series through our point-of-view, to show Americans what we have in our backyards. We are trying to work hard and find a good home for it.

ZM: That sounds amazing! So kind of a sidestep from drama, what about comedy? Would you ever want to try that?

SC: I would definitely do a comedy. It would be such a change from what I have done before. But, I like to think that I have the comedy gene. I have studied it, but I don’t have any experience yet. It is one of my goals to be on a sitcom though.

ZM: I would love to see that! Okay, so tell me… between One Tree Hill and Laguna Beach, which has been a more enjoyable experience for you?

SC: Wow, nobody has ever asked me that before. On Laguna Beach it was always ‘look at their glorious lives. They’re so rich, so privileged!’ But it was a great learning experience. Without it I would not be in the position I am now. I love the game of acting and getting the different reactions. It’s a game and I really, really enjoy playing. But, my experiences on OTH far out way anything I’ve done before. Laguna is where I was born and raised, so it was home. And OTH, we film in North Carolina, it has given me the opportunity to travel the country.

ZM: I just have one more question for you. You say you hurt yourself playing basketball, so I have to ask… What is your favorite NBA team?

SC: Lakers fan, of course! I’m actually wearing my Kobe shoes right now. Well, I have an ice pack on one foot and a Kobe shoe on the other.

Interviewed by Kayla Aldecoa