You can take the boy out of Tree Hill, but you can't take Tree Hill out of the boy!
It's been seven years since Chad Michael Murray said goodbye to "One Tree Hill" before its seventh season in 2009, and it seems the 34-year-old actor just can't quit his former castmates or the town where they first met -- which is probably why they plan to reunite at the insideOTH convention in Wilmington, North Carolina, where the cult series was shot, on July 23 and July 24.
"I love that place," he continued. "I've got so many friends there, so when I go, it's just like I'm going home. It feels very much like a high school fieldtrip. So it's gonna be a great weekend. We're all looking forward to it."
In addition to Chad, "One Tree Hill" alums Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, Paul Johansson, Shantel VanSanten, Robert Buckley, Lee Norris, Antwon Tanner, Barbara Alyn Woods, Colin Fickes, Cullen Moss and Vaughan Wilson are scheduled to participate in events during the celebration of the Warner Bros./The CW series.
"Some of us have got kids now, so we just play around with them for hours," said the erstwhile Lucas Scott.
But as much as Chad can't wait to reunite with his former co-stars or see Wilmington again, he has different thoughts about returning to the role that made him a star.
"I for sure have reached closure with [the role of Lucas]," he told us. "It was a great part of my life. It's a piece of who I am. I'm so grateful for it. I'm so grateful that it all occurred. I wouldn't be the man I am today without it. It's been a hell of an experience.
"As far as going back, it would have to be one of those opportunities where the work spoke for itself," he continued. "I would have to feel challenged, and it would have to be some epic, unbelievable storyline that I wouldn't ever feel like, 'Hey, I've done this.'
"Right now, I'm just really trying to find things that I haven't done and really push the envelope, and there's lots of stuff to do out there," he added. "So creatively, I have this thirst and hunger for trying on different hats right now. I think that's my first priority right now in life.
"But if they came up with something just rock solid, like an, 'OK, this can really move mountains' kind of thing, yeah, of course [I would return]," concluded the handsome star.
That's probably not what the folks heading down to Wilmington for the insideOTH convention are hoping to hear -- especially not as shows like "Gilmore Girls"and "Full House" get second leases on life! Still, if "One Tree Hill" fans are half as awesome as Chad thinks they are, they'll surely forgive the disappointment.
"I'm grateful every single time that I see them," says the "Agent Carter" actor. "They're the most kind and loyal fans that you could ever have. They're so, so wonderful to be around. They get it.
"To be there to spend time meeting them and seeing them in the flesh and taking questions and answering what they maybe want to hear, it's an incredible opportunity," he continued. "It's such an experience to go and see all the people who have given me this opportunity to be around for so long. At the end of the day, it's all about that. They're the reason that every single person has a job and the reason why we do this."
Sounds like he gets it too!