Hilarie Burton, 39, wasn’t a fan of the love scenes she was forced to film throughout the six seasons she starred as Peyton Sawyer on One Tree Hill. And it was one intimate scene from Season 1 in particular that left her crying in her trailer and feeling “a prostitute”.
On the latest episode of her Drama Queens podcast, on which she and former co-stars Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz are recapping the show from the very beginning, Hilarie opened up about shooting a love scene with Chad Michael Murray during the seventh episode of the first season, titled “Life In a Glass House”.
In the episode, Peyton (Hilarie Burton) and Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) start kissing before she unbuttons his shirt and kisses him down his chest. “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. 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,” Hilarie said.
Hilarie went on to reveal that Chad was “cool” about the situation and purposely wore a white tank top under his shirt so she wasn’t kissing his “bare body”.
“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 said. She also told the producer that she was “very concerned” about the scene, so she’d only do 2-3 takes at most. “I’m not doing this all night, this inappropriate,” she said she told the producer.
“I just really didn’t want to do it, I was so nervous,” she said, before adding that after filming, she sat down with her manager and cried. “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.”
“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],” she added. “There’s a morality thing where you’re like, ‘Am I a sex worker in a way? Is this OnlyFans in 2003?'”
Fortunately, she revealed that she, Sophia and Bethany really leaned on each other from that point forward and that sisterhood “made it a much safer space” on set. And it was that bond that helped all of them, when in 2017, the actresses and 15 other women wrote an open letter, accusing showrunner Mark Schwahn of sexual misconduct.
One Tree Hill ran for nine season on both The WB and The CW. After it premiered in Sept. 2003, the 187th episode — the series finale — aired on April 4, 2012.