Chad Michael Murray is back on our TV screens in tonight's series premiere of CMT's Sun Records, and he's got one very important goal in mind: "We're bringing sexy back from the '50s," the One Tree Hill alum dished exclusively to ET.
Set in Memphis during the tumultuous early days of the civil rights movement, Sun Records tells the untold story of the the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Murray plays legendary record producer Sam Phillips, and the 35-year-old actor confessed that his role in this latest series has been a complete "labor of love."
"Everybody knows the icons -- the Jerry Lee Lewis, the Elvis, the Johnny Cash -- but to now see it kind of through Sam's eyes [is new,]" he explains. "He's the man that found all of this and that started rock-n-roll and he was kind of the man behind the curtain that no one knows. It's going to be an incredibly exciting time. I'm excited to see how people respond."
Murray stressed that Sun Records, which chronicles these young artists’ often jarring and sudden meteoric rise to fame in the face of sweeping political change and social unrest, will transport viewers back in time and reintroduce them to a unique era of music.
"I think when you step onto a set, the set designs and the costumes really do half the work for you and you really time travel back and you're in the era and you feel a part of the world," the soon-to-be father of two says. "But for me, the best part is the music. Getting to sit and record Darius Rucker, who comes in and he's playing Johnny Bragg on the show, and record him – what an opportunity! What a moment to work with icons and unbelievably talented human beings and musicians. It's exciting."
Murray, who last appeared in the canceled-too-soon ABC series Marvel's Agent Carter, has played a number of fan-favorite roles over the course of his career including bad boy Tristan Dugrey on Gilmore Girls. But when Netflix revived the long-running WB series with the four-part special, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, last November, many fans were shocked to see another actor standing in the halls of Chilton as Tristan.
"I heard [it was happening] and I wasn't available at the time. I'm pretty positive I was having a baby – my first child." Murray says referring to his almost two-year-old son when asked if he had been aware of the recasting. "It just did not work into what we were doing at that moment, so I know that somebody went out and was Tristan, but it wasn't me."
"But I hear strong work, good job, man!" Murray adds with an appreciative round of applause. "You know, Tristan's secret was be that guy that every girl wants to be next to, but just isn't sure they should be and I heard he did it well."
We're sure that all true Gilmore Girls fans are feverishly disagreeing right now, but at least there's no hard feelings!
For even more exclusive scoop from Murray on the first season of CMT's Sun Records, his growing family and whether or not the cast of One Tree Hill would ever reunite, press play on our full live interviews above.
Sun Records premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CMT.