In a parallel universe, there is a Ryan Atwood and a Marissa Cooper with faces very different from those you know!
The two characters from The O.C. were played by Ben McKenzie and Mischa Barton, but the creator of the series just revealed that two actors were very close to getting the parts.
Josh Schwartz talked about it with two other protagonists of The O.C., Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke (Summer Roberts and Julie Cooper in the series), who opened a podcast called Welcome to The O.C., Bitches.
For Ryan’s role, Garrett Hedlundwas in the running – you’ve seen him in movies like Troy or Pan – Journey to the Island That Isn’t There and he’s Emma Roberts’ partner and father of their son.
But when Schwartz met Ben McKenzie, he realized that only he could play the character: “I was walking to the casting office and Ben was out there, I think he was smoking… He didn’t greet us warmly. And I told myself that boy was interesting. It was different from how we had imagined it but so good and so full of feeling.”
Olivia Wilde had been very close to playing Marissa: “Olivia Wilde had just moved to Los Angeles, that had been one of her first auditions and had been super convincing.”
As a matter of age, Mischa Barton was eventually chosen, who is two years younger: “It gave her a more tragic look” said Josh Schwartz.
If you followed The O.C., you know that in the end, Olivia Wilde was still part of the series: she appeared in the second season as Alex Kelly, Marissa cooper’slove interest.