If you’ve been watching the adolescent hyper-drama that is the CW’s “One Tree Hill,” you must notice something different this season. The addition of Jana Kramer as a series regular, playing troubled actress/model/screenwriter Alex Dupre, has given the series new life. I had a chance to speak with Kramer about her role, and discuss Alex’s dramatic suicide attempt.

“I was shocked because we don’t get our scripts until a few days before we shoot the next episode,” Kramer recalls. “I knew my character was having some trouble, I thought something along the lines of going to rehab. But when I was reading it and saw that I was slitting my wrists, I was like ‘Oh my gosh!’”

The role is not Kramer’s first as a drama queen, but it’s hardly her usual casting. Given her positive disposition, most typecast her as the girl next door. But recently, with her roles on “Entourage” and “One Tree Hill,” she’s exploring new territory as the bad girl – which is fine by her.

“With Alex, as a character, I get to have so much fun,” Kramer explains. “And I get to have so much range and get to explore with acting.”

Even though she plays the part well, the real-life Jana Kramer still likens herself more to wholesome than party girl.

“Let’s see, am I anything like Alex Dupre?” Kramer ponders. “Well, here’s one thing: I was reading the audition with my boyfriend, and I was like ‘I don’t like this. I can’t do this. I’m so not right for it.’ And he looks to me and was like, ‘You are perfect for this part!’”

Anecdotes like that make it easy to fall for the charming Detroit native. She’s the kind of actress who would “love to do a period piece,” and intends to keep working and doing things she’s inspired to do.

New episodes of “One Tree Hill” return Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. on the CW.