Ten years ago, the hit TV series The O.C. made 17-year-old Mischa Barton an instant “it” girl. Within a few years, however, she was the talk of Hollywood for a different reason as her partying grew out of control.
“We thought, ‘Work hard, play hard,’ ” she says of those years. In 2007, she was arrested for DUI. Then in 2009, shortly after her parents attempted an intervention, she blacked out under the influence of a sedative and landed in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center psychiatric ward under an involuntary 5150 hold after she threatened to kill herself.
“It was a full-on breakdown,” she tells PEOPLE, speaking about the events in detail for the first time in this week’s cover story. “I was under enormous pressure.”
The terrifying episode forced the actress to slow down and finally focus on getting healthy. But even that led to criticism when body bullies attacked her for gaining weight. When she first shot to stardom, “It was always, ‘She’s too skinny, she must be sick,'” says Barton, now 27. “Then it was, ‘She’s too big.’ I was never the right weight.”
Today, she’s focusing on the positive. In addition to her new supernatural thriller I Will Follow You Into The Dark, she filmed a TV pilot with Frankie Jonas, The Gutsy Frog, in which she plays a crush-worthy schoolteacher. She also has a London boutique, which carries her new makeup collection, a handbag line and some her favorite clothing styles. “I’ve learned a lot,” she says, and she’s proud of her choice to finally speak out about her struggles: “I’m stronger now.”
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her “terrifying” breakdown and how she recovered, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Follow Mischa on Twitter @MischAmazing
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.
After weeks of lead up, I Will Follow You Into the Dark has now hit cinemas and VOD in the US. I hope some of you have been lucky enough to watch this on the big screen, but for the rest of us, you can access the movie On Demand right now. Visit iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, VUDU or the Blockbuster On Demand App to rent the movie. Please support Mischa and this indie release romantic horror.
Photos of Mischa at the premiere of ‘I Will Follow You Into the Dark’ in Los Angeles have been added. Mischa was jointed by writer/director Mark Edwin Robinson and co-stars Melinda Cohen and Jaz Martin.
I Will Follow You Into the Dark hits cinemas in the US this Friday – October 11th. The movie will also be made available On Demand on the same day – visit Amazon Instant Video to pre-order.
London-born Barton says she was flummoxed by life in L.A. during the Fox melodrama, and that she prefers
working in indie films and theater
It’s been a long strange trip from “The O.C.” for Mischa Barton.
The classically trained, London-born, New York-raised actress — whose range of credits in theater and indie films barely survived her brush with teen stardom on the hit Fox network melodrama — says she’s much happier to be flying under the radar.
“That was a foreign world to me, and I didn’t particularly enjoy it or feel much at home there,” says Barton, 27, of the show that aired from 2003 to 2007. She now stars in the dark, brooding and cerebral romantic ghost story “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” opening Friday.
The actress, who got her start in heavy dramas (including the critically lauded “Lawn Dogs,” with Sam Rockwell) and drew critical attention for a scary turn in 1999’s “The Sixth Sense,” was thrown into a reality show-like world as “The O.C.” made her a star. Her character, Marissa Cooper, was a prototype of teen angst in the new millennium.
Just one week to go until I Will Follow You Into the Dark opens in US cinemas on October 11th.
I’ve harped on about this film for ages now, but it really is a beautiful movie. Mischa is FLAWLESS in both appearance and performance and her chemistry with Ryan Eggold is exceptional. If it is screening near you, please take the opportunity to see it on the big screen.
You can also ‘like’ the Facebook page which currently has over 9,000 fans.
Check out the poster for Mischa’s upcoming role in American Beach House.
Photographer Tyler Shields has a new book coming out in November called The Dirty Side of Glamour and Mischa’s going to be featured. The Huffington Post shared some photos from the spread. We’ve already seen two of the shots as they were used by GQ magazine a while ago, but featured below are the two previously unreleased photos. You can check out the pics used by GQ magazine here.