Teen romances torn asunder, slipping grades, backstabbing BFFs... One Tree Hill's Brooke may think she has had it rough, but what Sophia Bush endures in this year's chilling remake of The Hitcher (now out on DVD) puts such piddly probs to shame. Upon making the worst mistake ever — giving Sean Bean's grubby, stubbly ride-thumber a lift — Bush and on-screen beau Zachary Knighton are taken for the ride of their seemingly short-lived lives. Having missed out on bantering with Bush for the theatrical release, TVGuide.com relished this chance to talk to her about her big-screen butt-kicking, the fate of OTH and the possibility that she may golden lasso up as Wonder Woman.
TVGuide.com: I've seen my share of plucky horror/thriller heroines, but the gal you play in The Hitcher... well, she's quite a handful!
Sophia Bush: Yeah, the focus for me was trying to create somebody who was believable as a heroine in the end, but wasn't Lara Croft from the beginning. This wasn't a movie about a tough girl; this was a movie about a girl who was pushed beyond her limits, a movie about what happens to people when all of their options are taken away. We get back to that primal fight-or-flight instinct, so I wanted to be attentive to that idea and make sure that she was intriguing in her spunkiness from the beginning but that that light was sort of robbed from her toward the end. You really saw this girl who had something special become a person with nothing fighting for her life. It's a terribly dramatic situation and I wanted it to feel relatable.
TVGuide.com: That said, this film must set some sort of record for ill-advised decision making on the kids' part! I literally was shaking my head at you two, but then again who's to say what one would do in such a harrowing scenario.
Bush: There definitely are crazy things in the movie, but I think that's the basis of the entertainment business. You don't want to go and see your life, you want to go and see a more exciting version of your life. There are wild moments in the film, but I was really proud of the fact that we tried to make them all at least plausible. That was something that we worked very hard on. But I loved all the wild and crazy things happening in the movie. I thought that was really the excitement and part of the draw for a moviegoer.
TVGuide.com: When the remake was first announced, there was of course some skepticism, but critics did say, "If anyone can fill Rutger Hauer's shoes, it's Sean Bean.
Bush: It was so incredible working with Sean. He's a legend and such a movie star. Beyond that, he's such a talent. It was a pleasure for me to go to work every day and to learn from him and to draw from his energy on set. He's a very giving actor. He had trepidations about our physical scenes and discussed the fact with me that he didn't want to hurt me. But I said, "Go for it. If it's a problem, I'll yell or holler or say stop. I want this stuff to look good, Sean." And he was really happy with that. It gave us a lot leeway because we beat the hell out of each other for three months. It was exceptional because in some moments when it's your job to create fear, Sean was making that happen. He was instilling that in our scenes, in our moments. He's a frightfully strong man, especially for his stature. You just don't assume that he's like a Superman, and he is. It's almost scary how strong he is. In moments when I may not have been so scared if he'd been going easy on me, he was really letting me have it, and I was like, "OK, OK, I'm right there. This is good."
TVGuide.com: Did you get hurt?
Bush: I walked from that set with a few injuries. They were all little wounds that at the time I was very, very proud of.
TVGuide.com: I really enjoyed the film and its nonstop intensity. Were you surprised the critical acclaim wasn't more uniform?
Bush: To a point, no. What was really pleasing for us was that [at the press junket for The Hitcher] some critics that we expected to really pan us were sitting there saying, "I hate movies like this, and I really love this movie." It was like, "Right on." I think what was a little difficult for us was [the studio] pushing [the release] from April to January. Everybody was like, "Oh, it's so good, let's get it out," so they released a big summer movie in the middle of Oscar season. Oops.
TVGuide.com: Was one draw for you that this flick is a bit more down and dirty and not just young, beautiful folks dealing with teen angst?
Bush: It was great for me to go to work and rather than sit in the makeup chair getting blow-dried and painted up for an hour every morning, I was having dirt and oil put in my hair, and dirt put all over my body and my face. There was nothing glamorous about the process. I really enjoyed that because it lends more reality. It lends more realism as a whole.
TVGuide.com: OK, is One Tree Hill coming back for another season?
Bush: We don't know yet.
TVGuide.com: If you do come back, give us a little hint about where things are going.
Bush: What's really smart on the writers' part — and I don't want to say annoying for us but kind of a tease for us — is they won't tell us where anybody is going because they know that if they tell us and we tell a friend, before you know it, the whole next season's story line will end up on the Internet. So we actually have no idea where any of us are headed.
TVGuide.com: Before we go, one last question: Are you still in the mix for Wonder Woman? We just had a Q&A with Lynda Carter and she's anxious to see the film get made, and put in capable hands.
Bush: I don't even know if that movie is actually getting made. I think some lovely person who interviewed me at the junket for The Hitcher decided I should be Wonder Woman and put it on the Internet, and all of a sudden there were all these rumors. But I don't know if that movie is even happening.
With additional reporting by Tim Williams
Let our new Online Video Guide show you more of the sexy Sophia Bush.
Send your comments on this Q&A to email@example.com.