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chad michael murray (interview from 2003)

From the minute you meet Chad Michael Murray you recognize that he is nothing like the roles he's played. Dawson's Creek featured him as Charlie, the womanizing, three-way wanting bad boy. On Gilmore Girls he acted as Tristan, a classier jerk. The only thing he has in common with these characters is their charm and sex appeal.

With his God-like good looks, it's hard to believe how humble and human he actually is. A nerd in high school? Though he insists it's true, we can't imagine! Flash forward three years out of high school -- Chad Michael Murray is a passionate, dedicated, and determined actor ready to join the ranks of Hayden Christensen, James Franco, and {{oh yes, I'm going there}} Brad Pitt!

Like these actors, Chad has something I like to call "it." While there's no dictionary description for such a term, it's a quality well known and well sought after within the entertainment industry. Most sum it up as: "I can't describe it, but I know it when I see it." Chad has it. But ask him to describe the "it factor," and he'll give you the most modest response. Because, as we learned, that's just Chad Michael Murray's personality!

As his fan base continues growing by the masses, Chad has forced WB producers to take notice and offer him his own series -- The Lone Ranger, an update of the classic television drama. We caught up with the up-and-comer just after he wrapped the show's pilot.

Lindzi.com: How did things go?

Chad Michael Murray: It was a surreal experience, let's put it that way. We just finished shooting Thursday night at 4:30 am. It was unbelievable -- from the cast to the crew. The story was brilliant. I had to learn how to ride and shoot. I had to learn to be "that guy." I picked up riding in four days. It clicked. I get a kick out of it. I crushed my package a few times, but that's quite alright. I'll have to learn how not to do that. {laughs} I taught myself to spin and shoot. I worked with a trainer for the riding, however.

Lindzi.com: Yeah -- and are you digging the cowboy look?

Chad Michael Murray: I'm growing my hair out. It's down to my nose now. Totally different from what I've had. It's starting to work for me. I haven't known what to do with it until now. It was a little inconvenient at the beginning of the show, but oh well.

Lindzi.com: You have a certain charm that transcends onto the screen. I'd say that's a big aspect of "it factor." What do you think?

Chad Michael Murray: Well... not to say that I do or don't have it... but I guess, if I'm going to describe an "it factor" and, again, this isn't me discussing me... I think that to be in the "it column," you need to have that passion. Whether you're a character actor or a leading man, you still have to work your butt off. Some people don't and they have short-lived careers. Others do and they have incredibly illustrious careers.

Lindzi.com: Who do you think falls into that category?

Chad Michael Murray: James Franco, Hayden Christensen, Brad Pitt... They're incredibly creative. I loved Life as a House. Hayden was great in it. James Franco was my favorite in Spiderman and in [his role as James] Dean. Brad Pitt always comes up with a new character to everything he does. I love those chances that they take. That's what I'm trying to do as well.

Lindzi.com: But what differentiates these actors from others? How large a role do you think appearance plays in the matter?

Chad Michael Murray: Well, we both know that the world kinda revolves around {in a lower voice} sex. {chuckles} Sex appeal or having a certain look is a great factor and you can use that to sell, but in the end it's about artistic ability. Looks only get you so far. When I go to meet somebody, I look for them to just be a human being and prove to me that they know that they're alive. Sometimes you get a large fan base from people saying, "He's a good looking guy." But if you can pull off the challenging part of it... the range and the art... then you've got it!

Lindzi.com: So, what's next? Film?

Chad Michael Murray: There's four or five right now that I'm looking at. I've read a bunch of scripts in the last month while working on set. A lot of the ones I read I wasn't interested in. I want to do something artistic like Life as a House. I want to be able to tell a story. I don't know when those roles will come to me. I'm just looking for what's best for me right now. I just had a whole bunch of meetings this week and I have a whole bunch of more. After that, I'm taking a vacation!

Lindzi.com: What sorts of roles have been coming your way?

Chad Michael Murray: A lot of the Fast & Furious type of movies. That's sort of what's hot right now -- the motorcycle, crazy racing thing. Don't get me wrong, I love watching those types of movies. I thought Fast & Furious was cool, but my favorite kind of film is... like Taxi Driver. I love the character Robert DeNiro played. It was brilliant. I want the chance to create a... what's the word I'm looking for... crazy character. A complex character. When you show up and play a one dimensional character, it feels too easy. This Lone Ranger project was incredibly complex. I made it come to life!

Lindzi.com: Tell me a little about your character.

Chad Michael Murray: He's a 20-year-old guy. He just graduated from Harvard and his parents died six months prior. He's coming to visit his brother in Dallas. He's a strong guy with strong moral values, but he doesn't know how to use them.

Lindzi.com: Which aspect of Luke do you relate with most?

Chad Michael Murray: He has a humanity about him. He loves people and wishes the best for people. That's where I lay. He tries to do the best he can do for people every day. That's how I feel. People should be kind and gracious to one another. I don't think there should be barriers between people.

Lindzi.com: Definitely. People do that with celebrities especially.

Chad Michael Murray: I know they put us on a pedestal.

Lindzi.com: How do you feel about that?

Chad Michael Murray: The thing about it is... we all need role models. I know I do. I loved having role models as a kid. It's made me grow to be the person that I am. That's the gift that we can give. If we can live a good life and be kind people, we set an example for others. I'm not saying that anybody is going to want to listen to what we have to say, but it's not such a bad idea to put messages out there.

Lindzi.com: In researching, I noticed that the media often wants to discuss your physique and gym regimen... is that weird?

Chad Michael Murray: {laughs} Well, I don't go to the gym. I'm just starting now. I've had to put on about twenty pounds for the series. I haven't been to the gym. I eat crap. I have like four coffees a day. Not the best. I'm going to turn my life around. I'm going to eat healthy or organic. I'm going to eat great steaks. I don't know what's good for me. Trust me, I have no idea, but I'm going to try. No more sugar.

Lindzi.com: Do you consider yourself a dreamer?

Chad Michael Murray: I've never considered myself a dreamer. I have goals and I'm going to obtain them. I say, "This is what I want to do," and then I go do it. When I came to town, my first three goals came true -- in the order I set them up. I sat down with my manager the first day. He wanted to know my goals and why I was here. I told him I wanted to be on the WB. I said, "It's great training ground." I wanted to be on Dawson's Creek. I told him, "I think those kids could help me sharpen my teeth. They could teach me a lot." I also told them I wanted my own series. In that order, it's happened! It's really really weird.

Lindzi.com: What was your first thought when you arrived in L.A.?

Chad Michael Murray: My first thought was, "Oh my goodness. I'm alone. What do I do now?" I didn't know anybody. I'd sit at home in a studio apartment that had nothing. I had two channels on my TV. I didn't even have furniture. I slept on the floor. I'd get lonely during the day so I'd pick up the phone and want to talk to people from home. Then, I met my best friend J.D. and after that I was okay.

Lindzi.com: What makes you insecure?

Chad Michael Murray: Where do I start? {chuckles} I try very hard not to be nervous. My insecurities lie in that I don't like to be alone. It's scary being alone. I'm always worried that I'm going to be abandoned or that people won't care for me. I have incredible insecurities every day. I'm also scared that if I don't find the woman in my life now then I'll never find her. You get to a celebrity status and then you don't know if people love you for who you are or what you are. You know? I'm paranoid to fly. I'm going to drive back to Buffalo. I've got all of those insecurities. I think no matter who you are you do. I just heard some of the most incredibly beautiful women that I've met in a long time worrying about those kind of things. I was like, "Woah. Everybody has these insecurities." It's the only thing I could think.

Lindzi.com: How do you deal with your insecurities?

Chad Michael Murray: When I get home, I put them down and use them when I'm alone and go to sleep. It helps me to be creative. I use them to my advantage. I think of what I'm scared of and it tells me a story. It adds more levels to who I am. I write it down. All I ever ask for is health and happiness.

Lindzi.com: I also read you have a whole "no drugs, no drinking" outlook. Where did this outlook come from?

Chad Michael Murray: I grew up and I saw a lot of people lose their lives or fall into a bad place. It really bothered me because I cared for some of those people. I would like to see everyone have a fair shot. I didn't do it. I didn't drink or do drugs. I had the opportunity to give myself a better life and try to be happy.

Lindzi.com: Do you drink at all?

Chad Michael Murray: It's not bad to sit down and have a drink occasionally. I'm not saying don't drink period. Everything in moderation.

Lindzi.com: What have you learned about yourself in the last year?

Chad Michael Murray: A lot. {pauses} Just that I think I'm on the right track and that I'm happy with what I'm doing and I'm happy with who I'm becoming.

Lindzi.com: What's the dating scene like for you?

Chad Michael Murray: It's a process. I've had some great experiences and I've had some not so great experiences. Right now, I'm living the Chad life. I'm taking the time to learn more about myself. Those are words from my best friend J.D. He says, "Take the time and give it to yourself. You'd be amazed what you learn about yourself when you're alone."

Lindzi.com: Well, for starters, you learn to be alone...

Chad Michael Murray: That's the scary thing for me. I lived in a big family and always had someone around. I was in a four year relationship. She came with me to L.A. and then she went home. I didn't have the opportunity to be alone [growing up] because people were always around. I'm taking the time now.

Lindzi.com: What do you look for in a girlfriend?

Chad Michael Murray: I want to find somebody who I can talk to. Someone I'm attracted to in so many ways -- to emotionally have this bond that's different from any bond I've had.

Lindzi.com: How have you changed since high school?

Chad Michael Murray: In high school, let's see... Number one, I had no friends. I was a nerd. I guess I've become more secure with who I am. I always felt like I was a box. I wasn't like the other people. I didn't wear the same clothes because I couldn't afford them. I always liked what I liked and I never understood why that wasn't accepted. Now, I realize it doesn't matter if I am accepted. I am who I am and I like who I am. I like what I wear. And I like that I don't have to get loaded to have fun.

Lindzi.com: What drives you insane?

Chad Michael Murray: Stupid people! They drive me up the wall! They just don't get it. They're the type of people who you see at a restaurant and you notice them for the wrong reasons. Have you ever sat at a restaurant and looked around? You can tell who's alive -- they have a real presence. Others seem to fade into the background. Then, you see that one who sticks out like a sore thumb, but for the wrong reasons? Yeah, I don't like those people. I can't help it! People who throw an attitude! They have nothing good to say. Why do that? Why do that to yourself? And people who fight all the time! I don't know if it's stupid people or ignorant people or arrogant people. Just people who don't know how to be human beings.

Lindzi.com: Is there any question that hasn't been asked that you'd like to answer?

Chad Michael Murray: {chuckles} There are questions that I always love when you guys ask, but I never have an answer for. In the future -- ask me, I will think about it -- who in this business do I find really appealing? Female wise.

Lindzi.com: And pretending that this is the future, your answer would be...

Chad Michael Murray: Mandy Moore, Natalie Portman, Kate Beckinsale, Charlize Theron. They seem so sweet, kind, and talented. I met Kate Beckinsale. I was in Malibu and she was with some people that I knew so I got to say hi. I don't think she even knew I existed.

Not for long, Chad. Not for long.

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