'One Tree Hill' Star Robert Buckley: Secret Nerd
By Jenna Busch Posted Jan 26th 2010 04:31PM
You've watched him as Kirby in 'Lipstick Jungle' and opposite Heather Locklear in 'Flirting With 40.' But did you know that he started with an economics degree? Or that he was on 'The Price is Right'? We got to chat with Buckley about the show, replacing Brian Austin Green (who had been cast before him), his adventures in hair dye and Bob Barker's dis. Check out our exclusive interview after the jump.
Were you a fan of the show before you were cast?
Well, you know, I have to confess. I actually had seen virtually no 'One Tree Hill' prior to auditioning for the character. I would love to tell you that I was a diehard from day one, but I wasn't. When I was cast, I think I had four days before I had to leave for Wilmington. We had a really quick turnaround. So I spent, I would say, the first week on a 'One Tree Hill' bender, and I think I watched more 'One Tree Hill' in the span of seven days...than most 'One Tree Hill' fans out there.
I know, originally, Brian Austin Green had been cast, so how did this all come about? When did you get the call?
Well, what it came down to was a pushup contest. Just kidding. [laughs] I'm not exactly certain what happened there, but I had gone in and read for it and I had a good time. I met the producers and I really liked them, I got a chance to check out the show and I liked it...then I got the news...I was really excited because I was envisioning myself no longer on unemployment and working with the cast of 'One Tree Hill'. And about a week later I got a call saying they want to see you again and that opened it back up.
I had read that you have an economics degree. Is that true?
So how did you go from economics to acting?
It's funny. Most people don't know this. Total misconception. But a lot of actors get their training in mathematics or economics and then shift into acting. Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, a lot of people have done that. So I don't know if I was much of a trend setter there. [laughs] I emulated those heroes of mine. Actually, I kind of fell into it backwards. I was taking one class of economics in high school and liked it, and so I probably should have given it more thought before I decided to make it my major in college, because how it turned out...I wasn't really crazy about all of the math in economics. I just had a really great teacher in high school. But that didn't occur to me until two years into studying economics...I though, I am not about to be a sixth year senior at this school, [laughs] so I stuck with it and, this proves that God has a sense of humor, got a job...I was an economic litigation consultant, which is every bit as boring as it sounds...I did it for a year and a half and I knew that I was done.
Well, I also heard that you were on 'The Price Is Right'...
Oh boy! Talk about really shining on television. I made a splash with my first experience on television. First of all, that was my freshman year of college and I was, probably about two months in. By that time I had worked up the false courage to try and dye my hair blond, which turned comically orange. Like something out of the 'Archie' comic books. And it was spiky. So not only do I look like a complete dufus, like a deer in headlights with a bad haircut and dye job, I proceed to make the most...I'm going to go ahead and say it, ass of myself. I did so badly on one of the guesses that, I kid you not, after I bid, Bob Barker...the hippie gentleman to my left had bit $420, big surprise there. He did that every round. [laughs] And all I was thinking was, be the lowest bid. Everyone has overbid. Obviously my math training didn't factor into this, so rather than saying $1, I said, '$419!'
It's great if you can ever find the clip. I had this huge idiot grin on my face, because I think I've cracked it. I'm going to be the winner. Even the hippie turned to me and said, 'That's not a good idea.' And I was like, 'Quiet hippie. I got this one.' [laughs] Bob Barker took a time out and he was like, 'The actual retail price is'...and he stopped because he could actually feel the audience turning on me, and he was like, 'That wasn't the smartest bid you could have made, was it?' And he got a hell of a laugh at my expense. I had something to prove with my next appearance on television. I swore to myself that I would not let that happen again.
[laughs] You always think you'd know exactly what you would do if you were on the show, but you wouldn't! You really have no idea! It doesn't work like that.
Let me tell you what. You are exactly right, and you're the first person to call it. That's exactly how it is. Best way I can describe it is, if you've seen an excited dog in a room full of people, and it doesn't know where to look because it's too much stimulation, that's exactly it was like on 'The Price Is Right'. I remember they made a point of saying, 'Don't look back at the audience, don't take too long. We won't make you look dumb, don't make yourselves look dumb.' So what do I do on my first bid? I thought I was bidding on the tea set the woman was holding. I didn't realize until I watched the tapping when it aired, I was actually bidding on the chair and ottoman she was sitting on.
It is sensory overload. I was so unprepared for it. And I have to say, there was one woman who was on the show with me who was actually bragging about how she had done 200 hours of studying up in a grocery store....she did horrible! The moral of the story is...it's like war. You don't know how it's going to go down. You get instinctual and hope you don't bid $1 less than the stoner to your left. [laughs]
So what's coming up for Clay on 'One Tree Hill'?
Well, the last time we left Clay, he was kind of the best he's been in the show, in terms of...his life is sort of under control right now, he's got a love interest, he's got his buddy back, his career is doing well, so Clay's on pretty stable ground. However, I think we've seen that Clay has pretty bad luck [laughs] staying in good standing in Tree Hill. So I think that we're going to see him definitely coming up against some trials and tribulations. As we've seen in the show as a whole...nothing good goes untested very long.
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