Good-Bye TREE HILL, Hello Llanview!

In the 7/21/09 issue of Digest, we profiled ONE LIFE TO LIVE newcomer Brett Claywell (Kyle), who experienced an eerie set of coincidences on his way to Llanview. From 2003-2006, and again in 2008, he played ONE TREE HILL’s Tim, a role that will always have a special place in his heart. Here, the actor indulges this OTH superfan with some dirt on his time in Wilmington.
Soap Opera Digest: How did you end up working on ONE TREE HILL?

Brett Claywell: I was born and raised, my whole life, in Greensboro. L.A. was the first time I ever lived outside of North Carolina. I went to North Carolina State [University] in Raleigh and then went to Wilmington, to try to get a start [in acting]. I did an episode of DAWSON’S CREEK and then the pilot of ONE TREE HILL and it just kind of took off.

Digest: Tim was a very entertaining character.

Claywell: The character wasn’t originally that comedic, but he ended up being a pretty comedic character. I guess I seem to take a lot of stuff toward comedy. Maybe that’s why I like this character, ’cause I get to be very dramatic. We already have J-P [Lavoisier, Rex], so we don’t need any more comedy. He takes the cake.

Digest: One of the funniest Tim moments was when he stripped down to zebra-print skivvies because he thought he was going to get it on with Nanny Deb.

Claywell: Oh, my God, Barbara Alyn Woods [Deb] and I had the most fun filming that. He comes in and he’s like, “Miss Deb? Miss Debra?” saying her first name [laughs], and she goes, “Come on in, I’m in the bathroom!” So he strips down to underwear, basically less clothing than Kyle wore in the cowboy scene [on OLTL] and walks in and she’s cleaning the bathroom. Then she chases him out and he’s putting his clothes on, and her husband walks in. It was so funny. We did a scene where I take a glass of milk as she’s walking me out — I think they use a version of it in the DVD extras — and I bring the milk down and I have a milk mustache. It’s this really sweet, heartfelt moment but I have a milk mustache, so it’s funny. Barbara’s standing right here, and there are like 20 or so people behind her, and she’s looking at me crying she’s laughing so much. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done because everybody’s laughing so hard and I’m trying not to laugh. Digest: It sounds like you had a lot of fun there.

Claywell: We had a lot of fun. I got to play a lot and be funny.

Digest: What were some of your co-stars like?

Claywell: James Lafferty [Nathan] and I were roommates the first year. He’s a really stand-up guy. He just handled the whole thing really well, being thrown into the spotlight at 18 years old. Paul Johansson [Dan] is a great actor. He’s very, very passionate about his work. Craig Sheffer [ex-Keith], Barry Corbin [Whitey] and Moira Kelly [Karen] … I learned so much from them. After Keith died and she was in Dan’s office talking about how he died … oh, she’s such a good actress! Barry was like a grandfather to me. We’d go have a beer after work. You could walk downtown after work and Barry would be at the same bar at 6 o’clock having a beer and playing the little trivia game. We’d just play trivia by each other in this little bar in Wilmington.

Digest: Do you have any regrets about your character being written out in the fourth season?

Claywell: Um, there was a lot of learning experiences, I think on both sides, from that. I don’t regret any time I spent on that show. I’ve been fully appreciative of Mark Schwahn, the creator, the writers, the actors who were a part of the show. I’m disappointed about that because you got to see one side of Tim, and I think because that one side existed, if we had explored other sides of him, there would have been so much more of a story to tell. But hopefully if there’s a series finale, I would go back for it.

Digest: I laughed so hard when he turned up as a pizza delivery guy four years in the future.

Claywell: Oh, my God. There was a take in that last scene when I’m walking down the hall and I turn and look, and I didn’t have any lines. It was just the last shot and I walk off and kinda fade away. The first and second time we actually shot that, I almost cried. I was tearing up. Because I knew what they brought me there for and I knew what that moment was. I was saying good-bye. When you work on a show for that long, it was three or four years, you develop strong relationships with the crew, the script supervisor, the [assistant directors], the boom operators — all these guys were my really good friends. I’d play poker with them on the weekends. So it was like I was saying good-bye.

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