When FOX’s pop culture smash hit The O.C. premiered on August 5, 2003, not even its creator, Josh Schwartz, could have possibly predicted how much of an international television success story the show would become. The O.C. not only reignited the California dreams of people around the world, it also hit the nail on the head of a turn-of-the-century zeitgeist that had never been captured quite like this before. The brilliantly-cast show also used music to its enormous advantage in fresh new ways, introducing us to such up-and-comers as Death Cab For Cutie, The Killers, The Walkmen, and many more. Without The O.C. there would never have been MTV’s Laguna Beach, or THE HILLS, and so many others.
Marlow Stern of The Daily Beast recently sat down with Schwartz to recollect his memories of the show’s beginnings. Among the surprising tidbits we learn is that the two main leads of the show were nearly cast with two now-very-famous faces: “The two finalists for the Marissa role were Mischa Barton and Olivia Wilde. Olivia had just moved to L.A. and she was terrific, but she has such a strong persona that she didn’t need rescuing. Chad Michael Murray read for Ryan, and Garrett Hedlund was going to go in and test for Ryan, but then he got Troy. So we were like, “Shit, where are we going to find Ryan?” And Ben [McKenzie] had just read for like the fifth lead on a UPN show, but they told us to check him out.”
You can learn much more about the show’s genesis, including the fact that Schwartz was none too impressed by Adam Brody during the first audition. Buried in a long string of TV pilot auditions, Brody had no time to memorize his lines, which was more than off-putting to Schwartz. It wasn’t until the show’s casting director stepped in and advised “I’m telling you, this Adam Brody is very special,” that Brody was given a second shot, eventually landing the role. You can read the full interview by visiting TheDailyBeast.com.