‘One Tree Hill’: Everything Paul Johansson Has Done Since Playing Dan Scott

One Tree Hill was a high school drama that ran on the WB/CW for nine seasons. But not everyone in the cast was playing a teenager. Paul Johansson played “everyone’s favorite Bad Dad, Dan Scott,” the series’ original villain.

Johansson was a regular member of the cast from the pilot episode until season 7. Then, he returned for special guest appearances in seasons 8 and 9 until his character was killed off. What is Paul Johansson doing today? Here’s what we found out.

One Tree Hill star Paul Johansson arrives at the "Get Lucky For Lupus!" Fundraiser at Andaz Hotel on February 25, 2010 in West Hollywood, California
Paul Johansson | Michael Kovac/FilmMagic

Paul Johansson has a long list of credits post-‘One Tree Hill’

Johansson officially ended his run as Dan Scott on One Tree Hill in 2012, and since then he’s stayed very busy. The 58-year-old actor has appeared in TV shows like CSI, Mad Men, Van Helsing, Bones, and NCIS. He’s also starred in a few TV movies, including 2014’s A Daughter’s Nightmare, 2015’s Love, Again, and 2016’s The Stepchild

Fans will soon get to see Johansson in the new series The Nostradamus Descendants playing the character of Jeffrey the Freemason. It is currently in pre-production and scheduled for a 2023 release.

Johansson also has four films currently in post-production — Dyad, God Is a Bullet, The Death That Awaits, and Bad Hombres.

His co-stars love to talk about him on their podcast

Sophia Bush (Brooke Davis), Hilarie Burton Morgan (Peyton Sawyer), and Bethany Joy Lenz (Haley James Scott) reunited for their Drama Queens podcast in the summer of 2021. And rarely is there an episode where the trio doesn’t rave about Johansson’s acting on One Tree Hill. 

In September 2021, Johansson joined them for the episode “Dan the Man,” where he talked about “the drama of being Dan Scott.” He also shared how he got the part and what he really thought of his character. 

During the conversation, Johansson joked that when he read the script for the One Tree Hill pilot, he told the producers, “I would have rather been Keith!” But right away, he “wanted to be more than just a bad guy.”

When approaching his character, Johansson said that he decided “Dan’s biggest secret is that he deeply loved both Nathan and Lucas” (James Lafferty, Chad Michael Murray). 

The actor explained that adding that dimension to his character made it easier for him to cross boundaries and be tough with them because he felt he was doing it in their best interest. That also paved the way for the character’s eventual redemption.

The ‘One Tree Hill’ star is a talented basketball player in real life

Johansson also revealed during his podcast appearance that he never thought about being an actor growing up. Instead, he wanted to play basketball for the USA Olympic team. And it was his skills on the court that landed him the role of Dan Scott.

The actor recalled that he was playing in an entertainment league with producer Brian Robbins and future co-star James Lafferty. He admitted with a laugh that “everyone kind of hated” him because of his basketball abilities — and because he was cocky. 

George Clooney threw the ball at my head!” Johansson revealed.

However, it was that “hyper-competitive streak” in the actor that led to Robbins offering him the part. The rest is One Tree Hill history.

All nine seasons of One Tree Hill are available on HBO Max and Hulu.

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