Burton recalled crying in her trailer after one of her first intimate scenes with Chad Michael Murray.
While any teen drama has its fair share of sex scenes and makeout moments, they definitely took some getting used to for “One Tree Hill” star Hilarie Burton.
On the latest episode of her “Drama Queens” podcast — on which she and former costars Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz revisit the show with a modern POV — Burton opened up about shooting one intimate scene with Chad Michael Murray in “Life In a Glass House,” the seventh episode of the first season.
In the episode, Lucas (Murray) and Peyton (Burton) share their first kiss, before a steamy makeout session in which she kisses him down his chest as she unbuttons his shirt.
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“I thought it was enough that they could just like stand there and kiss or stand there and open mouth kiss. When I was in high school, the first time you kissed a boy, that was it. You’d make out for 20 minutes, ‘See you Monday at school.” said Burton. “The way it was written was very graphic, which made me nervous because it was like you couldn’t question it, like this is what’s written out so we have to get the shot of you unbuttoning the shirt and we have to get the shot of you kissing down his chest.”
She said Murray was, thankfully, “cool” to wear a white tank top under his shirt, “So I wasn’t kissing like his bare body because that’s weird,” continued Burton — who noted that the cast, at that point, hadn’t known each other that long yet.
“I was so whacked out about it, you guys. They wanted me kissing all the way down his body, down to his belt and undoing his — I don’t know that you see it, but I had to undo his belt,” she recalled. Burton said the director of the episode knew she was “very concerned” about the scene, with the actress saying she’d only do 2-3 takes. “I’m not doing this all night, this inappropriate,” she said she told him.
“I just really didn’t want to do it, I was so nervous,” she added, saying she sat down with her manager after filming. “I was like crying in my trailer. I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this. It feels dirty. It feels like they’re trying to sex everything up.’ Everything feels so heightened.”
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Both Bush and Lenz agreed that the show started to lean more into sexier territory with that episode, with the women all assuming they “got a note from the network” to make it a little more salacious. For Burton, it was also one of the first times the women all banded together to help each other through something.
“All the women in the trailer got together and they’re like, ‘You may feel like you’re in this all by yourself. We are here. We are standing right behind the monitor. Cheers to you being a badass, kiddo,'” she continued. “We all did this shot together. It was such a moment of sisterhood that really solidified by friendships behind the camera, because I knew we were going to continue to do stuff that felt weird.”
“I felt like a prostitute. It was the first moment that I was, like, ‘I’m kissing someone for money. I’m getting paid to do this, like, performative [act],” Burton added. “There’s a morality thing where you’re like, ‘Am I a sex worker in a way? Is this OnlyFans in 2003?'”
Having the support of the other women on set “made it a much safer space” she added.
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Of course, the female cast and crew would all band together publicly in more recent years, after the show’s creator and showrunner Mark Schwahn was accused of inappropriate behavior on-set.
Burton, Bush and a group of women in front of and behind the scenes on OTH banded together and released a letter about how “abusive” he was to them. When that failed to make as many waves as they’d hoped, Burton went public with claims Schwahn had forcibly kissed her and put his hands down her pants at a concert. Costar Danneel Ackles backed up her account, as others spoke out too.
After an investigation into more than 40 claims of harassment by the stars and crews of “OTH” and “The Royals,” Schwahn was fired from the latter series by E! in 2017.
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