Interview: Chad Michael Murray | THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA

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Debuting in the US back in early 2013, the UK release of The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is finally here. Starring Chad Michael Murray, Abigail Spencer, Katee Sackhoff and Emily Alyn Lind, the movie has a similar theme to 2009’s The Haunting in Connecticut but tells a completely unrelated story. Starburst got the chance to catch up with Murray to talk Ghosts of Georgia, horror movies and real-life spooky goings-on…

Starburst: What attracted you to The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia?

Chad Michael Murray: I just thought it was a great opportunity to play a southern security guard and play a father for the first time; I really embraced the opportunity to play a blue-collar worker. I really liked that.

For those who are only familiar with the first Haunting in Connecticut movie - this one isn’t directly tied to it - how would you describe the sequel?

Basically there were three documentaries; Haunting in Connecticut, Haunting in New York, Haunting in Georgia. They took Haunting in Connecticut and adapted it to a feature film, and the movie was incredibly successful – I think they made something like $100 million. Great film! Now all of the stories are aside from each other but all part of this series. The most popular of the three documentaries was A Haunting in Georgia, which is the film that we shot. They don’t link to each other; they’re just two tales of people who have had supernatural occurrences in their lives and documented it.

Most people would be familiar with you as a heartthrob, but in this you play a father. Emily Alyn Lind, who plays Heidi [the daughter of Murray’s character] in this movie, was brilliant, and your character has an obvious strong bond with her character. How was she to work with?

Well I tell you something, they made it really easy on me. Little Emily was actually the first baby I’d ever held. Back when I was on One Tree Hill Season 1, Barbara Alyn Woods had a baby, and I remember I was sitting in a hair and makeup chair and it was the first time that I ever held a child – and it was little Emily. Her mother played Nathan’s step-mother in One Tree Hill, so, sure enough, there we are, 8 years later, and she’s this little, unbelievably talented actress and now she’s playing my daughter. It was one of those unbelievable opportunities in life where I just felt very at home because I already knew Emily; I’d seen her grow up, so it wasn’t too far-fetched to say go ahead… have a caring nature towards her.

How is it for you now transitioning from the heartthrob role to more mature roles?

Y’know, I think that’s what we work for. This last year I played everything from a racist redneck with a speech impediment to a homeless heroin addict, and I’ve finished the show Chosen, which is incredible. There’s some really meaty roles and the opportunity to just really let go, to really frighten yourself with the material. The hardest part is taking your work home with you, where you get home and you’re still kind of in that headspace. But I’m really, really enjoying branching out into a variety of things. It’s more fulfilling for me than just doing the everyday go to work, check-in and be the “heartthrob.” These are opportunities to really learn and work and really just put everything you have into it.

Honestly, we’ve never really seen that much One Tree Hill, so films like this put you out there for a whole new audience.

Yeah, I think that’s what it’s about. It’s about putting your stamp of approval on different types of stories. There’s stories and scripts that I read and I go “you know what, I could watch this.” That’s really what it’s about, and, for me, I just really like the opportunity to see what else there is; seeing what you’re capable of and testing yourself. I’m sure there’s going to be times when I fall down flat on my face, but there’s going to be other times where the work speaks for itself; it’s beautiful, it’s seamless because you connect so much with the character. It’s just a really fulfilling thing to have the opportunity to be diverse in choices.

You appeared in House of Wax back in 2005 and now in Ghosts of Georgia. Is the horror genre something you’d like to work in more in the future?

I figure it’s gotta start with the script. But if there’s something really, really rad with a great script with different sci-fi elements to it, a thriller element to it, I’d absolutely be… it’s funny, you guys should check out the show Chosen; it’d be right up your ally. It’s a really, really dark thriller with a lot of blood, a lot of action, a lot of fantastic things. Excuse my language when I say this, but it’s pretty fucked-up. It takes a lot out of you but at the same time… I tell you, when you watch it, it’s so much validation because the story and the script and the human elements that come all together. If they give you human elements and the more supernatural, horror genre… you’ve got a winner. You’ll dig it; it’s something that’s fun. It’s one hell of a joyride.

Sold! So with the horror genre, were you a fan of those types of films as a kid?

I was. I was a Halloween-obsessed fan. I love the first Michael Myers tale with Jamie Lee Curtis. It was beautiful. I remember there was a time in the 2000s when the Saw films came out. I would watch them all, see how they would piece together all of these stories that were going on at the same time. I thought that was inventive. I like that genre. Now, I do stay away from psychological horrors – they freak me out! I just can’t get my head around… the poltergeists, the exorcisms… I’ll leave them for someone else’s pleasure.

Well Poltergeist is essentially a Disney movie…

Absolutely! I can’t wait to put the kids down and let them watch it [laughs].

Aside from Chosen, what’s up next for you?

I have a premiere soon for a movie I did called Cavemen that is a rom-com with Camilla Belle, Skylar Astin and Kenny Wormald. That’ll be fun. Then I get Left Behind with Nic Cage, and that’ll be out mid-June is what I’m hearing. It’s been a busy year, man; it’s been fun! I’m waiting for word on this movie called Other People’s Children, where I play a homeless heroin addict. I lost 25 lbs for the role… still haven’t put that weight back on.

Ghosts of Georgia is a fairly freaky film. Yourself, have you had any particular real-life spooky incidents that you can recall?

Oh, man, yeah. I’ve had a few. I’m pretty much a rationalist, so I’m always trying to figure out “ok, why did that happen?” There’s gotta be a reason, right? This one time, I was in North Carolina, and I had a buddy staying with me. It was the middle of the night and I hear something above my bedroom, running around… it sounded like a kid running around, jumping up and down. So I went upstairs, thinking “ok, my buddy’s fucking with me.” But he’s in bed; he’s sleeping. I kinda froze and said, “Hey, I think someone’s in the house.” So we both got up, and there was no one in there. It was kind of a large house… and he said “what are you hearing?” And this was the one room in the house that was kinda freaky; it was always cold in that room, I never put furniture in, I never painted it. It was the one room that I just didn’t pay attention to. Anyway, we went back downstairs and he said “tell me what you heard?” And boom, we hear it again. So we run upstairs, we take the dog up there, we’re searching every closet, every cabin, everything in the entire house… and couldn’t find anything. We literally just tried to rationalise where this is coming from… could it be pipes, could it be air-conditioning… what the hell is it? We went back downstairs again and just stood there waiting… and all of a sudden we hear drawers opening and slamming from that room. He just looks at me, says “is that it?” I said “yeah.” We hear running around, jumping up and down, slamming down, then it stops for a second. What is that? Then we heard this ungodly moan… we had no idea where it came from. His skin, my buddy, who doesn’t believe at all in ghosts, period, his skin turned white and he said that I’d gotta move. He spent the night on the couch, downstairs. I just remember I called my buddy and asked if he knows anybody; what am I supposed to do? I’m pretty sure my house is haunted, who am I gonna call? He goes “Ghostbusters?” And that was it. Couldn’t figure it out. We actually had my buddy come over the next day to try to recreate the sound, and he did it! He recreated the sound by banging the drawers and jumping around upstairs. That was the sound but we never found out where it came from. It was bizarre, it was out of this world, and I didn’t know what to make of it. Up until that point in my life, I’d never experienced anything so I was, not a non-believer, but I just wasn’t thinking about it. That changed everything.

THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA is released on DVD and Blu-ray March 3rd.

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