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— by Larry Carroll

Righteous-eyed rebel Chad Michael Murray turned himself into a TV star with "One Tree Hill," moved to the big screen while romancing Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan, and will soon be taking his career to the next step with the starring role in the horror flick "House of Wax." Before he does, however, the self-professed "alpha male" will be turning into a reality star, thanks to the new MTV show "Movie Life," premiering Thursday at 11 p.m. ET/PT, which captures the "Wax" stars in all their unpolished glory. Taking a break from the set of "Hill" recently, Murray waxed candidly on his lopsided dog, watching Paris Hilton try to act, and why he just had to shove those "Movie Life" cameras out of his face sometimes.

Ever wonder what it's really like to be in a movie? Go behind the scenes with Chad, Elisha, Paris and Jared in "Movie Life: House of Wax."

MTV: So, Chad, what made you want to be a part of "House of Wax"?

Chad Michael Murray: Just the opportunity to work with [producer] Joel [Silver] and kind of get one of the genres out of the way that might frighten you or maybe you don't think you could do. I've never been a huge fan of the teen-slasher horror genre, but I thought this was a great script and we had a great cast.

MTV: A lot of people think a horror film would be easier to make than other types of movies. True?

Murray: It's a lot of work. But I had a great character, so I got to enjoy the character alongside all of the gore as well.

MTV: Tell us about your character, Nick.

Murray: He's very much an enigma. He's the kind of guy who probably could do whatever he chose; he could go to college and be a doctor or he could go and play sports. He pretty much has the gift to do what he wants to do, but he's always just been one point of a grade below his sister, who Elisha [Cuthbert] is playing. So he just got sick of being second best and gave up, became a rebel and started jacking cars and drinking and going that way.

"Movie Life" Exclusive clip: The cast arrives in Australia and heads directly to the breakfast buffet

More "Movie Life" moments you won't see anywhere else ...

MTV: What was your initial reaction when you heard that "Movie Life" would be filming you guys?

Murray: I think fear. You question having some of your privacy invaded. It's definitely a terrifying thing to think a camera crew is going to be around to see you. You don't always know when they're around. You cuss when maybe you shouldn't be, or all sorts of stuff.

MTV: How long did it take to get used to the "Movie Life" cameras?

Murray: They got sneaky, they got really sneaky. A lot of the time I didn't know they were there. There were times you were just sitting down having a conversation and you would have no idea they were there or they would crawl on the ground. So a lot of the time, I had no idea.

MTV: Paris Hilton appears opposite you in the film and on the show. What were your expectations of her heading in?

More Cast Interviews ...
Paris Hilton
Jared Padalecki
Elisha Cuthbert

Murray: I think the obvious stereotype of who Paris is is what we all expected. She wasn't like that at all. She really impressed all of us. I figured I'd give her a chance, and it was well worth giving her a chance, because she ended up being a really sweet person. I think that we just get little bits and pieces [of her]; you don't get the whole package.

MTV: Were you impressed with her acting?

Murray: You know, Paris tried as hard as she could, and I think that is what impressed everybody. She wanted to do a good job. She worked her butt off.

MTV: What were you expecting when you met the film's producer, Joel Silver, who worked on movies like "The Matrix," "Lethal Weapon" and "Die Hard"?

Murray: Oh my God. I looked forward to learning. I wanted to take the opportunity and learn as much as I could from Joel, because he's just got one hell of a track record. He's made really great films, and I got to be in one of his, so I'm happy about it.

MTV: Did his famously gruff demeanor intimidate you?

Murray: I think that you are always nervous in a business situation in that you don't want to step on anyone's toes.

MTV: How has the "House of Wax" experience differed from other films you've made?

Photos: On the set of "House of Wax"

More "House of Wax" photos ...

Murray: It's a little bit more adult. Obviously, it's an excuse to get a different audience, and I had an opportunity to continue to learn. I got to travel on this one, which was awesome, going to Austria. I got to work with some new actors and work with Jared [Padalecki, his former co-star on "Gilmore Girls"] again. I just felt like I got to see the inside and the ins and outs of making a horror film.

MTV: Have you seen the film you're remaking, 1953's "House of Wax"?

Murray: Yes, and it was a great film, by the way. I thought that the concept of people in wax is very eerie. It's very creepy, and that's why I wanted to involve myself with it.

MTV: Should your fans go out and rent it to get ready for the new version?

Murray: It's probably too dated for them. A lot of people want special effects and [actors] that they know. A lot of people don't want to watch a movie unless there's someone they know in it.

MTV: On an episode of "Movie Life," we see the terrifying day when a real fire broke out on the set and burned some of it down. What was that like?

Murray: It was intense. Something that you really didn't see coming — unexpected. It really kind of changed the feeling on set, so it was tough.

MTV: Were you close enough to feel the heat?

Murray: I was the closest. It was pretty freakin' hot.

MTV: "Movie Life" also shows us how you adopted a dog so you wouldn't be lonely on location. It bothered you a bit when you went to the vet and found out the dog only had one testicle. Is it funny now when you look back on how you reacted?

Murray: Oh, dude, it was hilarious. It was funny. I still to this day think it's funny. I don't think I was traumatized, I think it was funny as hell.

MTV: With cameras all around you, on set and off, how much time do you spend thinking about how you're perceived by people?

Watch the "House of Wax" trailer

Murray: I don't think you have the chance of sculpting your image. I really don't. Having a camera in your face 24-7, it's not as easy as you think that you could sculpt your image. You worry about not wanting people to be let too far in, but you do your job. I think ["Movie Life"] will interest the audience because the audience is going to get to see our cast and then they are going to want to see exactly how hard we worked and if the work paid off and what the final product is.

MTV: What will your fans be most surprised to learn about you?

Murray: That when it comes to my work, I'm really serious. They'll notice that when I'm off work, I like to goof around and have a great time, but when I'm at work I'm just very much in my own space and I just do my job. Other than that, I'm a complete goof and nothing really gets to me.

MTV: We do see you pushing the cameras away a few times.

Murray: Like I said, sometimes they'll sneak up on the floor when you're in your trailer and I think that you should have private space. You've got to be able to sit in your trailer and talk to your boys, just relax, call your girl, do whatever you want to do without having a camera on you.

MTV: Did they ever bust in through the bathroom door?

Murray: Oh my God, that would have been it. That would've finished it off.

MTV: What's next for you after "House of Wax?"

Murray: I'm finishing up "One Tree Hill" ... and then I'm trying to figure out what exactly I'm doing for the summer right now. I think this is the week where I finally figure it out.

MTV: Last question. You often refer to yourself as an alpha male. What exactly does that mean to you?

Murray: It's Mel Gibson in "Lethal Weapon." It's Bruce Willis in "Die Hard." It's a guy's guy with a sense of humor, but he'll protect his girl. He doesn't spend too much damn time in the mirror, you know what I mean?



Check out everything we've got on "House of Wax."

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