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Mischa Barton talks about returning to TV for ‘The Beautiful Life’

We all know that “The Beautiful Life: TBL” star and embattled tabloid fixture Mischa Barton had bad dental work done this summer and that it may or may not have landed her in a psych ward. We also know that said dental work may or may not have made her face temporarily puff up.

What we don’t know is why she decided to come back to television. After playing Newport Beach’s most tragicomic teen, Marissa Cooper, for three years, she famously left “The O.C.” — her character perishing on-camera after she’s run over by a crazed ex-boyfriend — to pursue a career in film full time.

The good news is that Barton, 23, was only too happy to talk to Show Tracker at length about her reasons for coming back to prime time — Her new character? A famous, troubled, jaded model — and why things are different for the actress this time around.

What made you decide to return to television?

The fashion world is something I don’t think anyone’s ever examined in a really realistic way, and I thought this show would be a good fit for me because I get to play a real character, and a lot of people associate me with fashion like I’m a fashion icon already.

Mike Kelley [a writer on “The O.C.”] wrote the pilot and wanted me to play this model, Sonja, who is a pretty interesting girl. She’s a little bit bitchy but also kind of nice. I’m having a lot of fun playing her.

Were you actively looking for TV projects?

Yeah, I was reading scripts. I was checking out what was going on, and this project seemed really interesting for a major network. It’s edgier. It’s not a show that’s being remade, again …

Ha! [‘The Beautiful Life’ is airing on the CW, also home to the ‘90210’ and ‘Melrose Place’ reboots.]

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! (Laughs) But for me this was new material. And Sonja’s a good character. There’s a lot you can do with her. I think if she’s well written and we’re lucky enough to keep Mike, then we’ll be good. We can make a cool show.

You left TV to do film. Did anything change that made you want to come back?

Well, yeah. There are a few things. For starters, I think a lot of people associate me with television. Since I left “The O.C.” I worked a lot in film, and none of it, even the movies that I really liked, like “Assasination of a High School President,” they never came out. Everybody said I wasn’t working or I wasn’t doing anything. That’s something that really [upset me] because I was doing nothing but working.

So I really felt like it was a good idea to go back to television because it’s a steady job. And it feels so good to wake up every day and know you’re going to make a good paycheck and have a job and get to actually act and not just sit around while you figure out if the next movie you make is even going to come out. It started to get infuriating.

Mischa talks about how things have changed, how playing Sonja is therapeutic, and why she didn’t participate in the show’s naked ad campaign … after the jump …

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The Beautiful Life: TBL airs TONIGHT

MISCHA’S RETURN TO TELEVISION IS TONIGHT. Make sure to tune into The CW at 9/8c – TBL airs after an all new America’s Next Top Model.

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The CW – TONIGHT – 9/8c

Tell your friends, parents, neighbors, shop assistants, bus drivers etc. to watch the show!! The CW has done very little promotion so its up to word of mouth to get people to tune in. Tweet about it. Blog about it. Text about it.

What Goes Around Comes Around Party

Mischa attended the Style360 Fashion Week Closing Party hosted by What Goes Around Comes Around. Mischa’s been looking particularly stunning the last couple of weeks. What Goes Around… is one of Mischa’s favourite vintage stores, she talks about that place pretty regularly.

Alexa Chung Candids

Candids of Mischa visiting MTV’s ‘It’s On With Alexa Chung’ at MTV Studios have been uploaded. Still hoping a YT clip comes out of the appearance for people unable to see the MTV video below.

The Beautfiul Life Premiere Party

Check out this video of The Beautiful Life cast being interviewed at the premiere party:

Welcome Home, Mischa

Mischa Barton appeared from behind the blue door, labeled “M. Barton,” wearing a leather jacket covered in studs, a gray sweatshirt with the hood pulled over her freshly styled hair, leather boots (also covered in studs) and dark makeup around her eyes. This was last week, at Steinway studios in Astoria, Queens, where the actress was filming the CW’s The Beautiful Life: TBL, in which she plays Sonja Stone, a has-been, pill-popping fashion model trying to reclaim her place on top. Her two miniature dogs, Charles Dickens and Ziggy Stardust, darted out ahead of her and circled at her feet.

“She can come in if she wants, but I’m going to smoke,” she said to no one in particular, though she was addressing The Observer, and retreated back into her dressing room.

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Ms. Barton has a reason to be on the offensive, if for no other reason than to get a break from having to be on the defensive lately. She has had to repeatedly explain and apologize for a DUI arrest last year; a series of roles in independent films (remember You and I, the t.A.T.u. biopic?) that haven’t gone as she hoped; an alleged involuntary psychiatric hold at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in July; accusatory tabloid headlines screaming “Cellulite!”

In her dressing room, where a plate of bacon sat on a table (for her dogs, presumably) and a window was cracked for the cigarette smoke, Ms. Barton introduced herself politely this time and with a smile.

“I’m getting sick of answering questions about it,” she said, regarding her hospital stay, as she lit her cigarette and placed an ashtray on the couch. “I just had a bad time of year and now it’s all over and done with, and I’m just very happy to be feeling happy again and back on top of it and not so worried about everything. It was just too much to handle for me at the time.”

Ms. Barton is 23 years old, which, when you think about it, is kind of absurd. She has appeared in 23 films, eight TV shows, four theater productions and two music videos. Born in London and raised in New York City (she attended the Children’s Professional School on the Upper West Side), she began acting at age 8. At 17, she moved to Los Angeles and was cast as Marissa Cooper on Josh Schwartz’s The O.C., which made her famous.

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It’s On with Alexa Chung

Here is the video of Mischa on MTV’s “It’s on with Alexa Chung”.

EDIT: Here is the YT video, with a big thanks to Maz!

And another MTV News article:

‘The Beautiful Life’ Star Mischa Barton On Her Return To TV: ‘I’m Just So Happy At Work, I Love My Job’
Marissa Cooper left ‘The O.C.’ behind back in 2006 when she was killed off the series, but she’s since been reincarnated as the “bitchy but sweet” model (and mommy!) Sonja Stone on The CW’s new Wednesday night series about beautiful people, “The Beautiful Life.” “I like playing a character that’s a lot closer to my personality. Marissa was a little more of a stretch,” Mischa Barton told MTV News about her return to the small screen.

She also shared how grateful she is to be back working. “It’s just nice to do it a second time after the success of ‘The O.C.,’ which was so crazy. It’s just nice to do it and know what’s going to come and sit back and relax and enjoy it this time.” We’re not quite sure how leaving the sunny beaches of SoCal for the hustle and bustle of NYC is more relaxing, but the actress says she embraced the idea of shooting “TBL” in Manhattan. “I grew up in the city, so for me, it’s just great to be back and have an apartment here and be near my best friends,” she said. “I’m just so happy at work. I love my job. We’re having a lot of fun filming, and the stress of the summer is over, which is nice.” By stress, we assume she’s referring to her hospitalization in Mid-July, so we’re happy to hear she’s recovered. Press play below to hear more from Mischa.

Rachel Bilson comments on Mischa

As we know, Rachel and Mischa attended an event together last week and Just Jared has just put up a short quote from Rachel:

The 28-year-old star of the TRESemme Steal the Show campaign told me exclusively that she very much enjoyed the Dior Homme dinner last week. “I was happy to see [my former O.C. co-star Mischa Barton],” Rachel told JustJared.com. “I hadn’t seen her in a while, so that was really good. The [Cooper Square] hotel was really nice and so was the dinner.”

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