Mischa Barton Says There Are Ways to Reboot 'The O.C.' (Exclusive)

Mischa Barton isn’t ruling out an O.C. reboot! ET’s Katie Krause spoke to the 34-year-old actress, who revealed a number of ways she thinks the teen soap could return. Barton played Marissa Cooper from 2003 to 2006 in the series, before it came to an end the next year. The beloved teen series also starred Ben McKenzie, Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody.

“I think there are ways it could happen for sure. I mean in this industry there’s a way to do everything. If you really wanna get The O.C. back, of course we could, of course there’s a way,” the Spree actress said. “Characters can slightly change or diverge or come back as a cousin. Like, who cares?”

“There’s so many million different ways to rewrite something and retell the same story in a slightly different way,” Barton continued. “I definitely don’t think that that story is dead either because… there’s definitely room for an O.C.-esque drama.”

Barton’s comments are likely to be a welcome perspective for fans who have long assumed that any reunion involving the actress would be impossible, given her character’s death at the end of the third season. While Barton said she hopes “the fans were satisfied” with Marissa’s conclusion, she also thinks it was time for her to say goodbye.

“There was so much drama on that set that I feel like it had kinda reached its end. Also with Marissa herself as a character, we had done a lot of storylines with her… and that felt like it was doing the character justice,” she said. “But I do understand people wanting her to maybe come back and be raised from the dead so that she could be back up to her old antics. In that sense, like, I can relate to people’s like need for that. I get it.”

As for that on-set drama she alluded to, none of that happened at the beginning of the show.

“We were having so much fun. I mean we really were. The beginning of that show was super easy,” Barton recalled. “The ends of all those shows is where it gets complicated. The beginning was fun and free and carefree and I was new to Hollywood.”

“I just didn’t know much. I literally left high school and came straight to California and was cast in that role. I had to fight really hard for it too,” she continued. “It was an interesting time and place in pop culture. It was a good time.”

According to Barton, the atmosphere on set eventually changed because “there was some dating going on, and everybody was young and newly famous, and there was a lot of different storylines to fulfill there too.”

“I think bizarrely sets have a lot of drama, especially those big TV shows… There’s always gonna be stuff going on. That’s just the way it is. People date, people have their own things in their lives going on, and you try not to bring that baggage to set and you try to leave it behind. But that doesn’t always work,” she said. “You could definitely write a show about the making of the show. That would be plenty entertaining.”

In addition to on-set drama, as Barton’s time on the show came to a close, her fame had, and continues to have, consequences on her mental health.

“I’ve spoken before about feeling really detached and [about] what fame did to me in my 20s and feeling really agoraphobic about things,” she said. “It caused some depression and some anxiety and things like that. I’ve dealt with that my whole life. I like to be quite open about it.”

“I do a lot of work with people. I talk to a PTSD counselor. I talk to a lot of people about this kind of stuff,” she continued. “I think it’s all about being honest about the way that you feel about things. That’s how you heal. When you’re trying to hide things, it gets worse.”

During the coronavirus quarantine, though, Barton said she’s “strangely been doing very well,” largely because she’s been out of the public eye.

“It’s given me a lot of privacy and calm, a lot of time to concentrate on myself and stay at home and be with family and friends,” she said. “Sometimes I’m so busy running around and working that I don’t get to do that, so it’s been nice to see the planet take a little bit of a reset and… see people care more about each other.”

“I think one of the good things about this pandemic — if there’s any good things at all about it — is that people are kind of talking about that more, talking about mental health,” Barton added. “I think that’s a good part about it.”

Despite the positive impact staying out of the spotlight has had on Barton, she said she thinks “it would’ve been cool” if she and other teen stars in the aughts had been able to use social media to give themselves “more of a voice.”

“The press at the time were really able to run with it. We were constantly being paparazzied anyway, so I felt like we never really got to direct our own narrative when it came to things. Just a lot of speculation,” she said. “The one  good thing about social media I noticed now is you can really speak your truth… so it’s not just left in the hands of people who don’t know you and don’t know what’s really going on on set.”

Barton’s positive feelings toward social media are likely because of her “die hard loyal” fan base.

“I’ve been lucky because… I got a really international, sweet fan base of people who generally behave themselves on my social media, which I think is great. That makes it easier to engage,” she said. “But I have a lot of actress friends who don’t feel that way and don’t completely understand. I would get why that would turn you off.”

The topic of the dangers of social media is one that’s explored in her new flick, Spree, which hits theaters, VOD and digital on Friday.

“It’s about just wanting to be liked for the sake of it,” she explained of the movie, which also stars Joe Keery, Lala Kent, David Arquette and Frankie Grande. “Going viral saying contentious things just to get a rise out of you and just to get attention.”

“Acting is my first love obviously, and so it was nice to be back on set,” she added of making the flick.

Spree will be available in theaters, VOD and digital on Aug. 14.

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