JAMES LAFFERTY – Back To Playing A Bad Boy


JAMES LAFFERTY – Back To Playing A Bad Boy.

Featured in BELLO mag issue #116

words by Michelle Ganney

photos by Amanda Peixoto-Elkins


Humble, ambitious and endearing. That pretty much sums up James Lafferty. Of course you’ll recognize him as bad guy turned good guy Nathan Scott from One Tree Hill where he played the legendary character for 9 seasons. However, the California born actor has steered away from the Tree Hill Ravens with his new role as antagonist ‘Kyle’ in WGN America’s Underground. James is a very talented actor but it seems his ambitions don’t stop there as he aspires to “aggressively pursue” directing. See what he had to say below.


BELLO: So we won’t dwell on it too long but we have to talk about One Tree Hill quickly! It’s really nice to see on social media that you guys actually have quite a lot of mini reunions! When was the last time you guys got together?

JAMES LAFFERTY: That would have been in North Carolina. It was a kind of a reunion for the fans. It was a couple of months ago. Because of the fans bringing us together once or twice a year we all do get to see each other more than we probably would have if it wasn’t for the fans. It’s a cool dynamic.

B: Do you ever miss North Carolina?

JL: Oh yeah absolutely, I still have property there and I still have a lot of friends there. I have a real sort of investment in Wilmington, NC. For me it was a place where I really grew up, it was the town I spent the first few years of my adult life. I learned a lot of life lessons there, I had a lot of really great times, and it’s always going to be a place I go back to.

B: Could there be a One Tree Hill TV reunion one day?

JL: [Laughs] You know we get asked that question a lot lately. It’s kind of a trend right now, to have revivals of shows that were popular years ago but I think it’s most popular with shows that have been off the air for 10, 20 years. I don’t think One Tree Hill’s been off the air long enough for everybody to come back around to it. You just never know what the future holds though.

B: Let’s talk about your film, Waffle Street. I saw it over the weekend and I loved it, it was really good! What was it that made you want to take the role?

JL: I was approached by a couple of directors I’ve worked with before and they were kind of in a pinch. They didn’t have their guy and they were going to start shooting in like 5 days I think. It was a pretty quick turnaround; I was on the plane within a couple days of actually getting the role. You saw in the film, I’m in almost every scene so it was a bit overwhelming to cram all the character preparation into a few days but I was sort of able to space it out. I think upon reading the script I really love the message. I love stories about redemption and I love the theme of reinventing yourself and reinventing your definition of success and that’s really what I think the story’s about at its core. Those tend to be the movies that I love.

B: You got to play opposite the lovely Julie Gonzalo. Have you two worked together before?

JL: It was the first time I ever met her and she was lovely. She worked with the producers before so they brought her in and knew her to be incredibly talented and great to work with so that was a really cool experience getting to meet a new actor and form a friendship there through the course of shooting as well.

B: You and Danny Glover’s character have a really special relationship in this film. What was it like to work alongside him?

JL: It was great. It’s funny because you look back on the film and in terms of the number of scenes, I don’t actually have that many scenes with Danny but the ones that I do have, where it’s just Danny and I – that relationship really resonated with the audience. Danny has this natural charisma about him that I think he brings to all of his roles and a lot of the credit for that relationship working out goes to Danny for bringing that electricity that he has to those moments.

B: So another one of your projects is Underground where you play Kyle. Compared with a lot of the characters you’ve played, he’s not as nice! Do you enjoy playing that sort of role?

JL: Yes, yes absolutely. I haven’t really played, I guess what you consider to be a villain or at least an anti-villain since the early days of One Tree Hill. I get asked a lot whether I liked playing Nathan as sort of a bad guy or a good guy and I always say that it is hands down more fun to play the villain. Obviously every role is different and every project is different but for me playing an antagonist is, especially on a show where the stakes are so high like Underground, it appealed to me in a lot of ways. I feel first of all there’s ways to layer the antagonist, there’s this ability the character has. He can be a catalyst for so many different things that happen and I think you can make an impact as a character with a very small amount of screen time in doing so. So yes I jumped at the opportunity.

B: Is there anything else you have going on that you want to share with your fans?

JL: I had the opportunity to direct an episode of the royals, it’s a show on E! about the British royal family actually. It’s the 7th episode of the 2nd season. I also got the opportunity to direct on One Tree Hill. It’s something I want to aggressively pursue as another career path. I think it compliments acting and producing so well, it’s a natural progression. Something I’m very excited about.

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photography AMANDA PEIXOTO-ELKINS www.amandaelkins.com

styling KYLE KAGAMIDA www.kylekagamidastyling.com

grooming DARIELLE ROSE www.dariellerose.com

special thanks to Dominique Schweighofer


About The Author

Aleksandar Tomovic
Editor in Chief

French photographer (of Serbian Origins) lives and works in Los Angeles. Known for his celebrity fashion editorials and recognized around the world for his european esthetics and american efficiency.

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