In the WB's fall drama One Tree Hill, Chad Michael Murray and James Lafferty are half brothers with an intense rivalry on the basketball court. Lafferty's Nathan is the rich, popular star of the high school b-ball team. Murray's Lucas is just the poor misfit star of his local playground. But when the cameras aren't rolling, do these dudes really have mad skills?
"I'm a football guy," says Murray, who's best known for his bad-boy roles on Gilmore Girls and Dawson's Creek. In many of his scenes, the 21-year-old actor admits, stand-ins do all the fancy moves. But weeks of coaching are making life easier on the stunt men. "I'm picking up my ball control... Every time I had some downtime, we would go out and play."
On the other hand, Lafferty, 18, assures us he "got game." The 6-foot-1 cutie already has played b-ball on-screen — in last year's ESPN teleplay, A Season on the Brink, about Indiana University's controversial coach Bobby Knight. "I played two years in high school, under a really tough coach," he boasts. "I averaged 15 points a game."
Luckily, the magic of television makes the two co-stars look like equals. "We have a group of choreographers," explains executive producer Mike Tollin (Varsity Blues, Summer Catch). "We have a play book, and everybody knows where they're supposed to be... It works like a charm."