The ladies of One Tree Hill are opening up about their experience working on the WB/ CW teen drama.
On their Drama Queens podcast, Hilarie Burton, Sophia Bush, and Bethany Joy Lenz chatted on Monday about the Maxim storyline that took place during the drama’s fourth season.
If you watch One Tree Hill online, you will likely recall a storyline involving Brooke (Bush) taking photos of Rachel (Danneel Ackles) for Maxim magazine.
Bush, Burton, and Ackles went on to land their own cover in the magazine in November 2006, but they didn’t want to do it.
“I know they weren’t trying to solicit basement bullies on the internet, but they saw that a lot of young men were drawn to a violent assault of women and they went, ‘We should do more of that.’ Not, ‘Uh-oh, hold the phone,’” Bush said.
“They were like, ‘Maybe we should do more! Maybe we should make the girls do Maxim and tell them they’ll get fired if they don’t.’”
“Because Brooke had been so sexualized on the whole idea of this ‘Hometown Hottie’ and Rachel’s storyline, I was like, ‘Look, if the girls want to do it, that’s great. I don’t,” she recalled, adding that she was threatened.
“I have gone to battle trying to make Brooke less of this thing that you guys tried to force me into. I don’t want to do it.’ I literally got told, ‘If you do not go and shoot this cover with your co-stars, we will guarantee you that you will never be let out for a press day, a movie, an event, any of your charities. We will keep you here for ever.’”
Burton said that creator Mark Schwahn said that “no one wants you guys” after claiming that every other show had been on the cover of “every single magazine” and that the show would be canceled if it didn’t attract male viewers.
“Look, all the other shows have been on the cover of every single magazine and no one wants you guys. No one wants you and you finally have someone that wants you and you’re really gonna turn your nose up at that?”
“It was very much a, ‘No one else wants you, the studio wants to cancel your show,’” she added.
“You don’t start to generate some buzz and attract these male numbers, we’re dead and all your friends are going to lose their jobs.’”
Bush added that she felt like she didn’t have a choice in the matter.
“At that time, I said, ‘No I don’t want to do this,’ and I was told I had to,” she recalled.
“It was such a profound threat and a threat to being able to — honestly, even to have the ability to escape for a weekend, a place that at this stage, this season, I was leaving every chance I got.”
“I would come into work, do my [scenes] and I wanted out. I wanted to go home, I wanted to be with my family. I wanted to be with my friends. I did not want to be on our set, it was not a safe place for me. This was such a threat to safety.”
The trio also detailed how they were put against one another, with Lenz saying she was told that Maxim had replaced her with Ackles, who was shooting with her co-stars.
“They told me that they didn’t come to me because I was too fat,” Lenz said, adding:
“I wasn’t a hot girl on the show anymore.”
Burton and Bush said they were told she refused to participate.
“When I said I don’t want to do it, I was like, ‘But Joy’s not doing it! She said no. Why does she get to say no?’ They go, ‘Well she said no, so you have to say yes. She said no first,’” Bush said.
“They scapegoated you to tell the three of us we couldn’t say no… We weren’t mad at you but we were pissed about it.”
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.
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