Chad Michael Murray Talks Sand Dollar Cove, Stepping Into Ted Bundy's Shoes & More!

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It's kind of crazy that I've been doing this job so long and have never had the pleasure of chatting with Chad Michael Murray.

Hallmark's Sand Dollar Cove changed that, and jumping on the call to chat with him was quite revealing. In addition to Sand Dollar Cove, he's got a full slate of entertainment coming our way.

Please check out our full interview below, and don't forget to read our accompanying piece with his Sand Dollar Cove costar, Aly Michalka. The movie is very charming and perfect entertainment for a summer Saturday.

Chad Michael Murray in Sand Dollar Cove

So how did you get involved with Sand Dollar Cove?

Oh, gosh. Let's see. I have been fortunate enough to have a pretty decent relationship with Hallmark over the last few years. I love bringing wholesome content to the air. I love bringing joy to people's faces. That's why I became an actor in the first place.

That makes me happy. They sent me a few scripts over the course of the last year or so that just didn't work out, timing-wise, for whatever reason. Then this one came down the pipeline.

And one, it worked out perfectly in the timing, but most importantly, I thought Brody is somebody that I could sink my teeth into. And I liked what he stood for. I liked his zest for life. His love for his hometown reminded me very much of my love for Buffalo and just a lot of different things.

Brody and His Trusty Dog

And how would you describe Brody, your character?

Brody is to me, he's the heart of Sand Dollar Cove in a lot of ways. He believes in preserving the memories of so much and the traditions of so much in his hometown, right? He's a little lost, and that fear is overtaking.

And so he's focus so much on preserving the pier and building it that he kind of let go of his dream of opening a practice in town, the fear that he'll never live up to the expectations of his grandfather.

And that's something that I think the world kind of got by with him when his father died; he's feeling he's not living up to expectations that maybe they set, or the success of that they found. I mean, those are big shoes to fill. And so that's a lot of who he is, but at the same time, he's just a big kid.

Elli and Brodi Build a Dream Castle

The whole cast was so good. Can you talk a little bit about working with Aly, Glynnis O'Connor, and Clare Bowen?

Yes. My gosh. First, I just want to say Glynnis is amazing. I love Glynnis. Oh, my gosh. That woman, she's just fantastic. What a light. What a light in this world. She's absolutely amazing.

And Aly and I, we really, really just hit it off. Before we started, Aly and I sat down and went through the whole script, kind of finding anything that didn't necessarily feel organic in the script and tailoring some of the lines to make them fit for us.

We just wanted to deliver them as best and straight as we could. And when you're shooting such an ambitious shoot in such a short timeframe, you want to make sure that you hit the ground running and that any questions that you may have had or thought about, you did before you got on set.

So we really sat down and worked that out, which is fantastic. And then she got to know my wife and kids, and her family's really great, Stephen, her husband, just really, I was surrounded by a fantastic group. I mean, everybody. And Mark [Famiglietti]. What a great guy. I love Mark. And the man really touches everybody. And it's a testament to Hallmark putting together a great, strong cast to tell these stories.

Watching a Concert in Sand Dollar Cove

Brody really loves the Sand Dollar lobster rolls. Is there some food that you love so much that you would bet a friend that they would love it if they've never tried it?

Oh, yeah, a hundred percent. Of course, are you kidding me? Why not? And I got quite a few. I would think if you're a pizza fan. There's this little pizza joint in Vancouver, and it's called Pacifico Pizza, and it's my favorite pizza in the world.

And that's a big thing to say. I love this pizza so very much. I can't really eat when I'm filming because pizza and filming? That's not two things you should probably do at the same time. But when I wrap on a project, I'll do some cheating in there, for like three days in June, I'll have a pie to myself.

I love Pacifico Pizza in Vancouver. I absolutely love it. Love it, love it, love it. So there's that. There are so many haunts. It's just the way it is, right? That's the one that jumps out for me the most because I miss it.

Brody at the Refreshments Table

And Brody also cooks for Elli. Do you cook? And what's your signature dish?

I do. And my signature dish is a pasta. Gosh, I don't know how to go about it, but it's a turkey-based pasta, so it's a meatball. And I do it all at the time. It's a family recipe that my dad would actually make that we all loved growing up.

Every one of our birthdays, my dad would cook the pasta, and we'd go to town on it, and then I took the recipe he gave me, and I doctored it up with a few things that I love, and now my wife and our kids, they all love it.

And that's my go-to, but I'm also a filet madman on the grill. So if you want a good steak, I can try to lead you in the right direction. No promises, but so far, I have none disappointed.

May I Have This Dance in Sand Dollar Cove

TV shows are always getting rebooted or revived. How would you feel about a One Tree Hill reboot? And would you ever consider joining a revival?

I mean, yeah. I don't think... That show hit in such a way that it has affected multiple generations now, and it's so incredibly flattering. It's such an honor to have them on that adventure and to know that so many people around the world have been on that adventure with all of us.

I feel like it makes us feel like family, right, and our fan base, that it will affect them. We all went on nine seasons of slowly coming together, and I believe at some point, I'm sure there will be some new iteration of One Tree Hill.

Who knows? But I think it would have to be taken under new guidance and let out into the world. Who knows? I've always heard things over the years, but nothing ever came to fruition. But hey, you never know.

Brody Emcees in Sand Dollar Cove

And according to your IMDB page, you have a lot of projects in the wings. It looks like you're set to join the ranks of that group who brought Ted Bundy to life. Why did you decide to do that project?

The challenge, genuinely. I spent a lot of time in Arizona, right? I've done a lot of time doing Hallmark films, everything from Tree Hill to Dawson's to Gilmore Girls, all these things that are light fare, and I like that, right? But sometimes, it's nice to make a departure and try something different just to fulfill your creative chops and then just take a chance.

And so, for me, having the opportunity to stand and step in the shoes of someone who is notably one of the most horrific human beings that ever lived and walked on the face of the planet, I liked this iteration due to the fact that it wasn't a love story.

It wasn't a love letter to Ted Bundy, which I feel like so many times has played him up to be an antihero, and there's nothing about him that's heroic. He was an awful, disgusting human being who caused so much tragedy and pain to so many. And so, I didn't want to glorify him. If anything, this was the anti-Ted Bundy film.

Brody in Profile

It's more about what you didn't see. It's about the behind the scenes. Who could this guy have been when the doors were closed, right? What type of little idiosyncrasies could you see on screen that might've seemed like they were charming, but beyond the screen, there were monster flaws and little issues that he had.

So that's really what it was for me, was to take an opportunity to say, all right, let's give it a whirl, and you'll see what you can do with it. And so, it was an interesting undertaking. It couldn't be everything that I dreamed it would be because, at the time, we were one of the first movies coming out of COVID.

So we lost so much time to the original COVID protocols when we first started back. And California was under siege at the time. Oh, it was so much fear. And then we had a COVID scare on set. One of our ADs caught COVID.

And so we lost our AD department, and so scheduling became a disaster. So we lost so much time. We went from about having a 15 or whatever days shoot, and all of a sudden, they condensed it down to like 10. So you were just shooting by the seat of your pants.

So we had to make sacrifices here and there to get it done. But that's why you do what you do because you move to stretch your wings. You want to test out your tool, you know?

Brody Smiles on Sand Dollar Cove

Now I'm excited to see it. I like that it's like a different take instead of making him the semi-charming guy. I think you'll do a good job with it.

Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I mean, Ted Bundy may have been played up in the press, and I think that the legend has become even bigger, but I watched every video that exists about him online, anything that you can possibly see, including his admission right before he was executed.

And you could see the cracks in his armor, from his minute twitches that he had to his very odd and uncomfortable laugh. It was a guttural laugh. And it's disgusting.

And I was nervous about taking on the role, just because you worry about just mentally it getting inside of your body and not being able to separate yourself from something so dark, but a lot of times, I needed my family's support and stuff like that, so it was great.

The Magic of Sand Dollar Cove

I had the chance to meet one of his attorneys once. And he said he considered him to be like the devil. I thought it was really fascinating.

Just a terrible, awful human being. Satan himself. I mean, I believe it. I believe it.

Yep. And I also see you're starring in a movie with Bruce Willis. What's that about?

I've been working with Lionsgate and Randall Emmett and George Furla a bit. And stepping foot into the action role and just enjoying it a little bit, and so I've had the opportunity to work with Bruce now a few times.

And he's Bruce Willis, right? He's been around probably since before I was born, and when you get an opportunity to walk on set with Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson, any of these guys who have done it for so long, right? And some of the biggest-grossing stars of the '80s and '90s.

Toasting to Sand Dollar Cove

You want to see eye to eye, what's their instrument like, how do they work, how they function, how do they see the set, how do they see the plot? So that's a big part of it for me. I'm taking them and taking pieces and borrowing them for myself.

But Fortress is a multi-part series, involves being a monster fortress, and the entire world kind of surrounds cryptocurrency. So a major hack, a large part of cryptocurrency is hijacked, and this fortress is protecting a lot of it.

It's a crazy world with a lot of flashy, flashy crypto speech that you got to really break out the Rolodex to figure out -- what does this mean? All these different terms that now I'm loving and picking up like that.

I'm doing those films, and it's fun, again, to take a departure away from being the moral compass or any of those things to instead, not really having a box that you have to live in, but being able to kind of mold you in our world.

And so I decided I'm a little schizo. I'm a little nutty. I'm schizo. I'm not a schizophrenic, but my guy, he's got big brains, and you'll have to see it. It evolves over the course of two films, and it only goes deeper and darker down the line.

Romance Happens in Sand Dollar Cove

That sounds fun. And do you have your eyes peeled for any other things and perhaps a Hallmark holiday movie?

There may or may not be something on the slate coming up. I can say this.

My year, I literally got back tonight at 1:30 in the morning. We got in from Puerto Rico from finishing Fortress 2 and got up early just got out today. So I'm a little bit out of sorts, but the rest of the year's filled up. We're really blessed, and so the slate is full.

Nothing's been announced, I think, yet. So I don't want to get in trouble with anybody by saying something too soon, but I will say that there may or may not be a Christmas film on that slate, may or may not be an actual film on that slate. There may or may not be a thriller on that slate. But, yeah, that's what's coming up.

Sand Castle Masterpiece at Work

How are you going to spend the rest of your summer?

Getting ready to go back to work. Between Sand Dollar Cove and Fortress 1 and Fortress 2, I haven't been able to go to the gym for like, two, three months.

And so a lot of it's going to be about getting myself mentally, physically, spiritually centered for the next month before I go back to work, getting myself really ingrained in the dialogue for this upcoming feature that's intense.

It's a really intense feature I'm really looking forward to, something I'm very excited about. And so it's getting close. It's going to be ambitious, and it's going to take a lot out of me. So I want to take as much off my plate for the next month I'm doing some work.

We are planning to take a trip to see more of our family, and then we're going to do a little camping trip for probably two, three days with the kids. But outside of that, the majority of this is going to be me just working, getting myself ready, spending some time with the kids, and building a playground all at the same time.

Building a Dynasty in Sand Dollar Cove

That sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today, especially with that busy schedule ahead, and I can't wait for everybody to see all these projects.

Oh, thank you. Thank you. Look, I love to work. And as long as I get to bring some joy to people's faces, then you know what? I did my job. So that makes me happy. So I just hope that that is the case.


Sand Dollar Cove premieres on Hallmark Channel as part of their Summer Nights series on Saturday, June 26 at 9/8c!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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