Mischa Barton’s latest film, indie I Will Follow You Into the Dark, is a romance-meets-scary movie that costars the very handsome Ryan Eggold as her supportive boyfriend who suddenly goes missing, causing Mischa to go searching for him in…you guessed it, the dark. It’s a lighter scary-movie fare for those who are scaredy cats this October. I caught up with the original Marissa Cooper to talk about what it’s like on set, her favorite OC moments, and more:
Tell me a little bit about the movie. What attracted you to the role?
Mischa Barton: Well, I thought it was just a really sweet character, and she had some interesting depth to her. I just liked the idea of the role and the director’s passion for the project too. It was a story he wanted to tell about faith and all these questions in life: “Where do we go when we die?” And the match with Ryan was really good. I thought that he was great. The whole thing really depended on the chemistry between me and the guy. When we got Ryan, I just thought it would be a really good cast.
What is it like filming a scary movie? Is there a different vibe on set?
Mischa: It depends. The bit that gets scary is the whole end of it, but then you have this whole other portion that’s not scary at all—the romantic stuff between me and Ryan. It was two different atmospheres. The scary bit gets filmed pretty quickly and some of it was really intense, especially toward the end it’s quite intense, the acting. But it’s just a small portion of it, so it’s like being in two different movies. We had a good time on both sides of the film.
How did you prepare for that role and the inspiration behind it?
Mischa: Well, it was based here in L.A., so it was all shot in downtown mostly. It was a lot of these questions of “Where do we go when we die?” and shrugging off faith, a lot of that. So a lot of the preparation was digging into her layers about what her backstory is, where she’s been, why she feels the way she does, where she is when she discovers love, and all of that—and literally running smack into Ryan. That is a really interesting, sweet moment. The bulk of the character work was really on where she’s coming from and what’s happened with her parents—losing both of her parents in such quick succession, what that’s done to her, and how she’s reacting to that and faith. It was nice because I rarely shoot in Los Angeles, so for me it was interesting to do something that was based in downtown L.A. You know, that has a whole vibe to it itself. I like the idea that it was actually set in L.A. and that downtown has this really city feel to it, so that added another flavor that we really enjoyed doing because it’s a whole different world down there. It’s like a real city, you know? It’s the backdrop for all of that.
How is the vibe different shooting a small indie movie like this, as compared with a big-budget movie or a TV show?
Mischa: Well, this is really collaborative. It’s you and two other actors, basically, and you kind of bang it out together. First of all, it’s a really intense shoot because we don’t have that long to be working on it. We’re all just adding whatever you can to it, and it’s over before you know it. It’s an intense amount of work in a quick space of time, and you just do your best to make it creative. But there was a really good creative vibe from the director, he was really sincere about this project, so I think we all kind of went off of that.
So, we still write about The OC all of the time on the site and there’s something about the show that still really connects with our readers. What are some of your favorite moments from the show?
Mischa: I’m not the best at that. It’s been years and years and years. I never really watch the show back. From what I remember at the time, some of my favorite moments were like, the Christmas episodes. I remember thinking that was a pretty well done episode. For me, it was really so long ago. When you’re doing a show you’re not watching it like other people are, so I don’t feel the same way about the scenes. There was such a big difference from what we shot on set and what was out on the beach. It was a bit of torture and a bit of fun as well to be down on location on the beach. The big party scenes were always a pain in the ass to shoot, but then turned out really well. I kind of liked the stuff that we did on location a lot. It gives it a lot more vibe than what you have to shoot in the studio. So even though it was a bit grueling, I liked to be out there on the beach at two in the morning. I think I hold a lot of memories of the lifeguard scenes because I went through so much to film them out there in my bikini and my jacket, and it was just you and the crew all in.