“I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this. It feels dirty.’”
Filming sex scenes is never particularly sexy—and Hilarie Burton just opened up about one experience that left her in tears on the set of One Tree Hill.
In the most recent episode of her podcast Drama Queens, Burton—who played cool girl Peyton on the teen drama for six seasons—recalled filming a scene with Chad Michael Murray in which she had to undress the actor and kiss him “all the way down his body” before removing his belt.
“Chad was cool to leave a white tank top on underneath his button-up shirt so I wasn’t just kissing his bare body because that’s weird,” she told her former costars Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz, per Us Weekly. “We’d all known each other for a couple of months [or] a couple of weeks? … I was so whacked out about it. They wanted me kissing all the way down his body, down to his belt. I don’t know that you see it, but I had to undo his belt.”
Burton was so uncomfortable with the scene that she remembers telling the director that it would be “inappropriate” to shoot more than three takes. “I was, like, crying in my trailer. I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this. It feels dirty. It feels like they’re trying to sex everything up,’” Burton said. “I felt like a prostitute. It was the first moment that I was, like, ‘I’m kissing someone for money. I’m getting paid to do this, like, performative [thing]’. … There’s a morality thing where you’re like, ‘Am I a sex worker in a way? Is this OnlyFans in 2003?’”
Hilarie Burton once told Us Weekly that One Tree Hill was not originally sold to her as a “sexy” teen series. “I blame all of that shit on The O.C.,” Burton said in the 2018 interview. “That’s The O.C’s fault because our show was not that at all when I signed up for it, and then The O.C. aired on Fox over the summer before any of our other shows aired, and it was sexy, and it was scandalous. And all of a sudden everyone was getting notes from the networks, like, ‘Sex this up!’ I was horrified. I was a prude growing up, so this new normal of no parents and teenage promiscuity was just, I had the vapors the whole time. It was awful.”
Despite the negative memory attached to that particular scene, Burton remembers being supported by the women who were on set with her. “All the women in the trailer got together and they’re like, ‘You may feel like you’re in this all by yourself. We are here. We are standing right behind the monitor. Cheers to you being a badass, kiddo,’” she recalled on Drama Queens. “We all did this shot together…. It was such a moment of sisterhood that really solidified my friendships behind the camera because I knew that we were going to continue to do stuff that felt weird.”
It's clear these bonds were forged through fire. In 2017, Burton, Bush, Joy Lenz, and 15 other women wrote an open letter, accusing OTH showrunner Mark Schwahn of sexual misconduct.
“Many of us were, to varying degrees, manipulated psychologically and emotionally,” the letter read, in part. “More than one of us is still in treatment for post-traumatic stress. Many of us were put in uncomfortable positions and had to swiftly learn to fight back, sometimes physically, because it was made clear to us that the supervisors in the room were not the protectors they were supposed to be. Many of us were spoken to in ways that ran the spectrum from deeply upsetting, to traumatizing, to downright illegal. And a few of us were put in positions where we felt physically unsafe. More than one woman on our show had her career trajectory threatened.”
It continued, “The through line in all of this was, and still is, our unwavering support of and faith in one another. We confided in each other. We set up safe spaces to talk about his behavior and how to handle it. To warn new women who joined our ranks.” You can read the full letter, here.
This story originally appeared on: Glamour - Author:Condé Nast