Although he started out as the bad boy on One Tree Hill, Nathan Scott has become the ultimate family man whose relationship with wife Haley is now the core of the show. James Lafferty, who plays Scott, told TVGuide.com that he was "excited" to have things shaken up a bit in its seventh season, which leaped (yet again) into the future. Read on about Lafferty's take on his alleged cheating storyline, and what he'd like for "Naley" if the show were to come to an end.
TVGuide.com: What was your reaction when you first read the Nathan-Renee storyline?
James Lafferty: I was excited [because] it's rare nowadays that the Nathan and Haley relationship is threatened in any way. They used to have their ups and downs when they were in high school, married, and lately they've been a pretty rock-solid foundation. At no point did I actually think it would break them up, which would cause mutiny from the fans, so for me it was exciting because I knew it would be a great story to tell.
TVGuide.com: Will the truth be revealed soon?
Lafferty: Yeah, the audience can be looking for an answer pretty soon.
TVGuide.com: What did you think when you found out Rachel (Danneel Harris) would be back as Dan's wife?
Lafferty: I was a little shocked, as I'm sure the audience was — it seems a little out there. People think no one in Tree Hill can date outside the same pool of people, but it's actually amazing how well that relationship works and where they're going with it. What they actually do with that relationship is going to be something that the audience is really captivated by.
TVGuide.com: So is Dan really a changed man?
Lafferty: There's always going to be a little bit of a villain in Dan, but there's also going to be a bit of a hero. I've always seen Dan as more a confused heroic character than a straight villain... but in terms of the way my character deals with him, I don't think [he] will ever be anything more than a villain.
TVGuide.com: Were you nervous about continuing One Tree Hill without two of its original cast members [Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton] and do you like the new direction it's taken?
Lafferty: Initially, I think everybody was a little bit nervous. You never know how the audience is going to respond to something like that. All we can do is look forward and what we gained was two very committed cast members in Robert [Buckley] and Shantel [VanSanten]. They want to create these characters in the best possible way that they can, tell good stories — and it shows in their work.
TVGuide.com: What has been your favorite new change this season?
Lafferty: Coming back and seeing what the Scott family's life is like... how Nathan deals with being in the NBA, traveling all the time, and being a father. It was nice to see that when we came back from jumping ahead [14 months], even though he's been in the NBA, he has continued to grow as a father.
TVGuide.com: Any more Naley babies in the future?
Lafferty: I don't know actually, but I don't think it's ever out of the question. Nathan and Haley have their hands full with Jamie, but I think that would be an exciting thing for the fans to see.
TVGuide.com: If the show were to come to an end, what would you like to see for Nathan and Haley?
Lafferty: I would like to see the family together. For me personally, my character has been so connected and dedicated to the Scott family unit for all these years and I think that's where Nathan belongs, with his wife and with his son, and anywhere else would be a little bit of a letdown for the audience — probably a letdown for me personally as well.
Check back for Part 2 of my Q&A where Lafferty and co-star Robert Buckley chat about the Oct 26 episode "I and Love and You," which Lafferty directed.