Shantel VanSanten, One Tree Hill Shantel VanSanten, One Tree Hill

After Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton left One Tree Hill (Mon, 8/7c on CW) last season, the show ushered in a new pair of hotties — Robert Buckley and Shantel VanSanten.  VanSanten plays Quinn, a photographer who ran to Tree Hill as an escape from her declining marriage. Now officially divorced and snuggled up with Clay (Buckley), Quinn got a rude awakening when her ex-husband David and her sister Taylor showed up last week ... as a couple. spoke to VanSanten about joining the series, what's ahead for her and her sisters, and about being a part of Brittany Murphy's final film. What was it like joining an established show?
Shantel VanSanten: I came in so nervous because I had actually never watched an episode so I was really overwhelmed. In Episode 1, we shot a big cake fight scene, and... I was like, "This is going to be great." I love working with Joy [Galeotti], she's incredible and really understanding if I don't know a certain storyline, or if I don't know what happened in her life previously. Are David and Taylor really together?
VanSanten: They're together. We have a huge dinner that they cook for us in [Monday's] episode, and there's a lot of underlying issues that come out between Haley and Taylor, and myself and Taylor. It comes to a head and ends in a pool. Quinn knows she's made mistakes in her past, and I know a lot of people resent [her] for the way that she's handled the whole thing. It's hard because we picked up at the very end when she was separated from [David], when they completely fell out of love with each other. She didn't just jump into bed with Clay; they really leaned on each other when they were going through a hard time and ended up falling in love. Do you think Quinn and Clay have a shot at lasting?
VanSanten: There are going to be a few road bumps coming up. We both know what's happened prior to each other... [and] having that bond and that friendship is something that is really important. It didn't start out like, "Hey we hooked up we should be in a relationship." It was like, "Hey we're friends and it grew into something." So I'm hoping it does [last}. He's my best friend forever, and it's awesome working with him.

Catch up on One Tree Hill with our recaps So what else is ahead for the James sisters?
VanSanten: We're reuniting some parts of the family — our mom and some of our brothers and sisters — we didn't necessarily know we had before. We have a really big family. My mom [played by Bess Armstrong] comes in town for a big visit, and Taylor obviously comes back. So there's a lot of family stuff going on. I came in and added one layer to seeing a different side to who Haley is, and the way we interact as sisters. With Taylor coming in, that's a horse of a different color. Sometimes you have family that you have to love because they're family, but you don't always have to like the decisions that they make. Which James sister are you most like in real life?
VanSanten: I'm a lot like Quinn. She has such a young spirit, but I think her soul at the very core [is] older. I completely relate to the fact that she's an artist — that unpredictable life, making yourself vulnerable. What can you tell me about the '80s episode coming up?
VanSanten: The episode takes place in a big benefit dance that Haley and I are doing for our high school. We all got the script, and instantly I'm like, "I'm crimping my hair." It was a blast and ... in episodes like, that you get away from the drama a bit more and you can play something totally different. It was a lot of makeup and a lot of hair, though. After five days I was like, "OK I'm totally over this. There's no way I could've done a whole period of my life like this."

See photos of from One Tree Hill What's been the most fun about being on One Tree Hill?
VanSanten: I love working with Jackson [Brundage]. Those are the days I live for because he has so much life and energy and never stops going. [Also] the days we shoot on the beach. The beach is like an hour away from the real town, and it's usually me and Bux [Buckley] out there. It's absolutely gorgeous. Tell me about Something Wicked, the movie you shot with Brittany Murphy before her death.
VanSanten: Brit passing which was pretty devastating for everybody. She was there for a few weeks shooting — she plays my sister-in-law. She had the most infectious personality and it was really great to work with her. I was completely shocked when I found out that she passed away. I don't know what will happen to the movie, [but]  I hope for her sake it comes out because I feel like as actresses, parts of our soul are always left on screen. Any piece that people can see of her and her life and her soul would be amazing.