‘The O.C.’: Chad Michael Murray Nearly Played 1 Lead Role

A popular teen drama from the early 2000s was The O.C. There are a few moments that fans still remember from the show, such as Marissa and Ryan sharing a kiss on New Year’s Eve. Some of the cast included Kelly Rowan, Rachel Bilson, Mischa Barton, and Adam Brody. 

Chad Michael Murray is an actor with a long list of acting credentials. One of his early works was a recurring role on Dawson’s Creek and the teen drama stud of the early 2000s nearly had a lead role in The O.C..

Chad Michael Murray smiling in front of a white background
Chad Michael Murray | Lilly Lawrence/Getty Images

Chad Michael Murray starred in various TV shows

Murray is an American actor, writer, and a former model. According to TV Guide, he enjoyed reading and playing football growing up. He moved to Hollywood in 1999 and started modeling for different brands while he was still a teenager. Some of his clients included Sketchers and Gucci. 

The actor soon moved away from modeling to pursue acting. He began his acting career by making guest appearances on shows like CSI. Some people may know him for his role on Gilmore Girls. Murray played Tristan Dugray, who left in the second season to attend military school.  

In 2003, he starred in One Tree Hill as Lucas Scott. Lucas is the main protagonist in the show and learns to bond with his half-brother. Murray landed a recurring role in Riverdale in 2019 when he decided to return to teen dramas. He played a cult leader named Edgar Evernever. 

Murray also worked on plenty of films. He was a supporting character in the Disney film Freaky Friday. Other film roles include A Cinderella Story and Left Behind

Ryan is one of the main characters of ‘The O.C.’

RELATED: This Is How Chad Michael Murray Feels About Returning to Teen Dramas and ‘Riverdale’

The O.C. is a teen drama series that started in 2003 and ran for four seasons. The show focuses on several characters, particularly Seth, Summer, Ryan, and Marissa. The teens have to navigate high school while they deal with things like crushes, economic class divides, and mental health struggles.

Ryan Atwood is one of the key figures on the show due to being the main protagonist. He moves to Newport Beach at the beginning of the first season after his new family takes him in. He comes from a poor and broken home and has to adjust to an affluent lifestyle. 

When Ryan meets Marissa at the start of the series, they become love interests and eventually have an off-on romantic relationship.

Chad Michael Murray almost played Ryan

It is quite common for actors to almost appear on a show only to turn it down for one reason or another. When it comes to The O.C., there were other actors considered for the part of Ryan. According to Screen Rant, creators thought about picking teen heartthrob Garrett Hedlund, known for Friday Night Lights, for the role. There also was the chance that Murray would have gotten the part. 

However, Murray turned the offer down. According to Marie Claire, he declined the part in favor of playing Lucas in One Tree Hill. The two shows started airing around the same time, so it is possible that there would have been scheduling conflicts, and Murray’s role on One Tree Hill turned out to be a solid choice: the series lasted for nine seasons, where The O.C. ended after season four.

The person who ended up playing Ryan was Ben McKenzie. This was McKenzie’s first big role, and the actor later went on to act in other television shows. He starred as Ben Sherman in Southland in 2009. The actor is still active and recently played James Gordon in a superhero series titled Gotham.