“Possibly some folks simply get misplaced.”
From the second viewers met Marissa Cooper when The O.C. premiered in 2003, it was apparent that she was far out of your common spoiled wealthy woman. Performed by then-17-year-old Mischa Barton, Marissa was a tragic determine, one which by no means actually appeared like she belonged despite the fact that she was lovely, rich and privileged. Over the course of three seasons, she skilled an overdose, her guardian’s divorce, being held hostage (Always remember Oliver!) and capturing her boyfriend’s brother, to call just some.
Trying again, it actually should not have been all that shocking that Marissa met a fiery finish within the season three finale contemplating how a lot residing she packed into these three years. For weeks main as much as the episode, Fox had teased a significant loss of life was coming. However for it to be Marissa, the present’s feminine lead? No approach.
A least that is how I felt. When Ryan (Ben McKenzie) pulled Marissa from the wreckage on Could 18, 2006—as Imogen Heap‘s haunting cowl of “Hallelujah” performed—I used to be 17 years previous and, paradoxically, a wreck. I did not see it coming and I could not perceive why the Fox hit was breaking apart my core 4 (the group title for Ryan, Marissa, Seth and Summer time). I used to be a highschool senior residing on Lengthy Island, hundreds of miles away from the sound stage, unaware that issues behind the scenes of a TV present can usually be much more dramatic than what’s occurring on display screen.
Within the years since, although I’ve grown nearer to Hollywood each actually and figuratively, I’ve remained curious as to what the true story was behind Barton’s exit from the present, particularly as a result of she was the breakout star. She was on journal covers. The paparazzi documented her each transfer. She was a burgeoning trend icon. To me, she had all of it.
Over time, there have been a handful of interviews which have tip-toed across the choice to kill off Marissa, however a definitive motive has by no means been revealed.
Sequence creator Josh Schwartz informed The Daily Beast in 2017, “It was born out of quite a lot of points: Inventive, forged chemistry, scores.”
And when requested if Barton needed off the present, he stated, “Mischa did not need off the present any greater than any of the opposite youngsters needed off the present. It was an advanced chemistry with the forged…however she actually wasn’t actively in search of to go away the present.”
For her half, Barton, now 35, hasn’t actually addressed her stunning exit from The O.C. in-depth…till now.
As a result of 15 years after Marissa’s loss of life aired, I stay simply as inquisitive about what the hell occurred as I used to be sitting in entrance of the TV in my childhood bed room with my jaw on the ground. Positive, the present went on for yet another season sans Marissa, however that episode really felt just like the sequence finale for me, a farewell to my favourite present as I knew it.
So, on a whim, I reached out to Barton, not likely realizing if she would need to speak about her time on The O.C. And I used to be admittedly stunned when she not solely agreed, however opened up in such an sincere and susceptible approach whereas on a lunch break.
“I’ve all the time felt ashamed in a method to actually speak about what went on behind the scenes as a result of I’ve all the time been a really non-public individual and really conscious of individuals’s emotions,” Barton informed E! Information in that Could 14 telephone interview. “Now that we’re residing on this period the place we do converse out about our experiences and girls do come clear about what was actually happening behind the scenes and the way they have been handled, it is a barely completely different factor.”
(E! Information has reached out to Warner Bros. TV they usually declined to remark. Fox didn’t reply to our request.)
Whereas she is engaged on a couple of tasks to, as she put it, “actually speak about” what she skilled throughout her three years on the present, Barton answered all of my questions on saying goodbye to Marissa Cooper and the way she actually felt about leaving The O.C.
E! Information: There have been so many rumors about why Marissa was killed off, so I needed to listen to, immediately from you, when did these conversations about you leaving The O.C. begin?
Mischa Barton: It’s kind of sophisticated. It began fairly early on as a result of it had loads to do with them including Rachel [Bilson] in final minute as, after the primary season, a sequence common and night out everyone’s pay—and form of normal bullying from among the males on set that sort of felt actually s–tty. However, you recognize, I additionally cherished the present and needed to construct up my very own partitions and methods of getting round coping with that and the celebrity that was thrust particularly at me. Simply coping with like the quantity of invasion I used to be having in my private life, I simply felt very unprotected, I assume is one of the simplest ways to place it.
I used to be working so exhausting, the longest hours most likely out of all of the characters. It wasn’t a simple character for me to play as a result of it wasn’t me, which is why I believe folks favored it or thought Marissa was humorous and latched on to her. They felt like that is entertaining as a result of she’s in every single place and who is that this woman? It is like as a result of this New York woman was making an attempt to play this ditzy L.A. wealthy child, you recognize?
E!: There was a tragic high quality to her, a darkness nearly. I believe that is why folks linked to the character.
MB: Nicely, I believe they began to jot down extra critical stuff for me as a result of I wasn’t good on the, like, “Oh my god, let’s buy groceries or get our nails performed!” sort of stuff. So then they added her first kiss with a woman and her getting drunk at her dad’s occasion or the scene the place any person will get shot. They wanted stuff that performed into extra of my critical aspect. I will be very sincere, everybody’s obtained their strengths and their weaknesses and coming from a theater and indie background, my weak spot was being ditzy. It wasn’t for me, however what I may get pleasure from was the fashions, the ridiculousness of all of it and making it bigger than life.
E!: So when did issues begin to disintegrate?
MB: So midway via season two I might say, once we began doubling up on episodes and capturing [became] a lot tougher, and once more plenty of that was an excessive amount of for me. I did not know the place the character was going. I look again on it fairly fondly, however there’s stuff I believe folks did fallacious and the way in which they dealt with it. So, I simply did not really feel I may hold going.
This has been stated earlier than, however they sort of gave me an choice. The producers have been like, “Nicely, would you like your job and to sail off into the sundown and probably you possibly can come again sooner or later in some weird TV state of affairs or we are able to kill your character off and you’ll go on along with your profession that you really want and what you need to do?” I used to be getting gives from massive movies on the time and having to show them down. I had all the time been supporting in The Sixth Sense and any of these issues. My dream was to be provided these lead roles, so that is what occurred. It simply felt prefer it was one of the best factor for me and my well being and simply when it comes to not likely feeling protected by my forged and crew at that time.
E!: And also you had 27 episodes for the primary season, which is nearly unparalleled. After which seasons two and three have been nonetheless 22 episodes every.
MB: And I am not complaining about any of that. No one loves their job greater than me. For me, appearing is a ardour and one thing I genuinely love and it was one thing that I tremendous get pleasure from, but in addition I can all the time see issues for what they’re within the enterprise. I used to be raised with fairly clear imaginative and prescient as to the workings of the business and the trimmings of it and my dad and mom all the time made that very clear to me. Actually, 15 years on, I do suppose it is unhappy that there wasn’t a greater approach that it may’ve been dealt with.
However I additionally do actually love that she had this epic loss of life and that it ended like that as a result of it is memorable and it is not simply one other flash within the pan. Individuals nonetheless come as much as me to at the present time they usually’re like, “I keep in mind the place I used to be when your character died!” And so they’re nonetheless emotional about it, prefer it was actually me. I believe that that is cool that individuals truly took one thing away from it. There have been classes to be discovered from Marissa, for higher or for worse.
E!: Had been you conscious of simply how massive of a deal Marissa’s loss of life was?
MB: Probably not. They made me really feel just like the present goes to go on with or with out you and it’s what it’s. So I used to be simply, like, OK, cool, then let’s exit with a bang. I keep in mind pondering it will be actually humorous once we have been doing the scene after the automotive crash and, you recognize, taking the blood [from] the make-up artist and I used to be similar to, “Squeeze it throughout me!” I needed it to be as gory and as bloody as attainable. I under no circumstances need to glorify this accident or the ending of this, so I used to be similar to, “Exit with a bang!”
E!: How did you are feeling about her loss of life whenever you learn the script? Had been you stunned they killed her off in that approach?
MB: No. It is tragic, it is poetic. I knew they might discover an amazing track to place it to as a result of music was such an enormous a part of the present and I do know her, as a personality, she had actually battled to maintain it collectively and was unable to take action. She was simply looking for herself and he or she was all the time put into these very sophisticated conditions from a younger age to be an ideal society woman. I felt prefer it was truly an amazing ending after I learn it.
E!: So after you filmed your remaining scene, how have been you feeling? Relieved? Unhappy?
MB: It was a little bit of each. I used to be actually unhappy I used to be going as a result of that was like my household, however there had additionally been some issues that weren’t so cool and I might be mendacity to say I wasn’t slightly bit relieved that I used to be going to extricate myself from that scenario. For no matter causes, years later, sure folks, after they see me from the present they’re so excited to see me they usually solely keep in mind the great instances. So it is a bit of a blended bag how all of us really feel about it. I used to be younger, however I used to be excited to attempt to get to do new stuff, too, and did not know if I may hold dealing with the stress of that surroundings that I used to be put in.
E!: I keep in mind on the 2016 reunion on the ATX TV Pageant, creator Josh Schwartz stated he hadn’t anticipated simply how indignant and upset folks could be over Marissa’s loss of life at the moment.
MB: [Laughs.] I believe that is the inner wrestle. There have been folks on that set that have been very imply to me. It wasn’t, like, essentially the most preferrred surroundings for a younger, delicate woman who’s additionally been thrust into stardom to need to put up with.
E!: I am unsure should you stored up with The O.C. after your exit, however season 4, which ended up being the ultimate season, felt like a very completely different present in some ways.
MB: Actually, no, as a result of I used to be so busy working and in addition it wasn’t one thing that I sat down and watched on a weekly foundation anyway. I heard rumblings and rumors that it was a really completely different present. It took a flip in a special course. However I do not know a lot about it, to be sincere.
E!: Nicely, did producers ever method you about returning for the sequence finale and even for a flashback? They did do an episode the place Ryan noticed the again of Marissa’s head, however clearly, it wasn’t you.
MB: No. No. Nope. They did not.
Not like she minded. Right now, she’s searching for no. 1: Mischa Barton.
The O.C. is streaming on HBO Max.
(This interview was been condensed and edited for readability.)
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