Then + Now: The Cast of ‘The O.C.’
‘The O.C.’ captivated audiences with its mash-up of soapy drama and cute comedy. It went off the air six years ago, so we decided to catch up with some of your favorite cast members. Californiaaaaa, here we come!
Benjamin McKenzie (Ryan Atwood)
Then: Benjamin McKenzie played Ryan Atwood, a wayward bad boy adopted by the Cohen family in the hopes that they could give him a better, more privileged life. We watched him fall in love with Marissa — how could someone from the wrong side of the tracks be oh so right?
Now: After ‘The O.C.’ ended, McKenzie went on to star in the critically-acclaimed TNT drama ‘Southland,’ which was sadly recently canceled. Since then, McKenzie has guest-starred on a season two episode of ‘Men at Work.’
Mischa Barton (Marissa Cooper)
Then: Mischa Barton began acting at a very young age, and you might remember her as the puke-y ghost girl in ‘The Sixth Sense.’ On ‘The O.C.’ she played Marissa Cooper: privileged girl-next-door, object of Ryan’s affection, and source of annoyance for many fans — most of whom were quite pleased when her character was killed off in season three.
Now: Barton’s had some very (unfortunately) public ups and downs, including a DUI, but continues to act in smaller movies. She recently appeared in the made-for-TV movie ‘Cyberstalker’ and has a few films on the horizon.
Adam Brody (Seth Cohen)
Then: Adam Brody played the adorably geeky and clever Seth Cohen — a good boy from a nice Jewish family and the main source of much-needed comedic relief for the show.
Now: Brody is one of the more successful ‘O.C.’ graduates. His impressive film resume includes ‘Thank You for Smoking’ and an amazingly dark and hilarious turn in ‘Jennifer’s Body,’ plus work in ‘Scream 4′ and ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.’ You can see him next in ‘Some Girl(s)’ and ‘Lovelace.’
Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen)
Then: A successful actor long before he began his run on ‘The O.C.,’ Peter Gallagher brought his experience and wisdom to the role of Sandy Cohen, aka Best Dad Ever.
Now: Since the show ended in 2007, Gallagher has starred in films like ‘Burlesque’ (with fellow former ‘O.C.’-er Cam Gigandet) and ‘Step Up Revolution,’ and has made appearances on ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and the now-defunct ‘Whitney.’
Kelly Rowan (Kirsten Cohen)
Then: Kelly Rowan’s credits prior to the show included ‘Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh’ and several guest appearances on television shows like ‘Growing Pains’ and ‘Dallas.’ On ‘The O.C.,’ Rowan played Kirsten Cohen, wife to Sandy and mother to Seth. And then there was that whole season when she became an alcoholic, which was pretty hilarious.
Now: Rowan’s work has mostly consisted of appearances on TV shows (‘Flashpoint’) and in made-for-TV movies (‘Cyberbully’).
Rachel Bilson (Summer Roberts)
Then: Rachel Bilson played Summer Roberts, a sweet but sort of ditzy girl and the object of Seth Cohen’s affection. She was also Marissa’s BFF, even though we’re not quite sure why.
Now: Bilson stars on the CW series ‘Hart of Dixie,’ and can be seen in the upcoming film ‘The To Do List’ with Aubrey Plaza and a whole bunch of other amazing actors. She dated on-screen boyfriend Adam Brody for a few years before moving on to Hayden Christensen. (For the record, Seth Cohen would so hate that she dated that guy from the bad ‘Star Wars’ movies.)
Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper)
Then: Former ‘Days of Our Lives’ star Melinda Clarke fit right in on the series as Julie Cooper, gold-digging and materialistic socialite next door — mother of Marissa and wife of Caleb, Kirsten Cohen’s dad. No wonder Kirsten ended up with a drinking problem.
Now: Clarke has appeared on numerous TV shows, including ‘Chuck,’ ‘Vegas’ and ‘The Vampire Diaries.’ She also played herself on a few episodes of ‘Entourage.’ She hasn’t appeared in a film since 2004.
Tate Donovan (Jimmy Cooper)
Then: Dreamy Tate Donovan had already made a name for himself with roles in movies like ‘Love Potion No. 9′ and a recurring guest spot on ‘Friends,’ where he met Jennifer Aniston (the two dated for several years). On ‘The O.C.,’ Donovan played Julie’s first husband and father of Marissa, Jimmy. Jimmy gets himself in quite a bit of trouble and has to disappear, though. Bye bye, Jimmy.
Now: Donovan had a three-year run on the hit drama ‘Damages,’ and most recently appeared in the Academy Award-winning film ‘Argo,’ directed by and starring Ben Affleck.
Alan Dale (Caleb Nichol)
Then: New Zealand actor Alan Dale played jerky Caleb Nichol, wealthy father of Kirsten and husband to Julie after Jimmy conveniently “disappeared.” He taught us a lesson about why you should stay the heck away from Julie when he drank a margarita by the pool one night, making him Julie’s second hubby to exit the picture.
Now: Dale went on to play Charles Widmore on ‘Lost’ and Senator Eaton on ‘The Killing’ — he definitely has a character type: rich white dudes with snotty attitude problems and sketchy plans.
Autumn Reeser (Taylor Townsend)
Then: After Marissa died, the show had a hole to fill, and they did it with adorable actress Autumn Reeser, who played the part of perky and punctual Taylor Townsend, new BFF for Summer and love interest for Ryan.
Now: She’s acted in some questionable direct-to-DVD movie sequels like ‘Lost Boys: The Tribe’ and ‘Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassin’s Ball’ (Really? That’s the title they went with?). As for TV, she’s appeared on ‘Entourage,’ ‘Royal Pains,’ and had a recurring role on ‘Hawaii Five-0.’
Chris Carmack (Luke Ward)
Then: Oh, Luke. He was Marissa’s jock boyfriend when the series began, and then he went and had an affair with her mom and somehow turned out to be an okay dude, even though he punched Ryan in the face in the very first episode.
Now: Chris Carmack starred in the hilariously schlocky horror flick ‘Shark Night’ and currently has a recurring role on the hit ABC drama ‘Nashville,’ where he’s hopefully not having sex with anyone’s moms.
Willa Holland (Kaitlin Cooper)
Then: Like Autumn Reeser, Willa Holland was part of a plan to replace Mischa Barton’s Marissa after she was killed off. Holland played Kaitlin Cooper, sister of Marissa, who conveniently comes home from boarding school before her sister dies. Kaitlin was a bit of a troublemaker like her sister, but eventually came around to being a well-adjusted teen.
Now: Holland stars on the CW series ‘Arrow’ and can be seen next month in the movie ‘Tiger Eyes,’ based on the novel by Judy Blume.
Samaire Armstrong (Anna Stern)
Then: Samaire Armstrong was only supposed to appear in one episode as Anna Stern, but after proving to be a hit, she was asked to stay on a bit longer. Anna was a comic book nerd and a romantic distraction for Seth Cohen.
Now: Armstrong went on to star in eight episodes of ‘Entourage’ (a popular show for former ‘O.C.’ stars, it seems) and had a lead role on the short-lived series ‘Dirty Sexy Money.’ In 2011, she had a recurring role on ‘The Mentalist.’
Cam Gigandet (Kevin Volchok)
Then: Cam Gigandet played Kevin Volchok, a surfer dude and all-around sleazy guy who gets Marissa into drinking and drugs, and is basically totally responsible for her death when Ryan tries to rescue her from his skeeziness.
Now: Gigandet co-starred with Peter Gallagher in ‘Burlesque’ and also starred in ‘Twilight’ and ‘Easy A.’
Logan Marshall-Green (Trey Atwood)
Then: Logan Marshall-Green (aka American Tom Hardy) played Trey Atwood — Ryan was from the wrong side of the tracks in an unfortunate lost puppy dog sort of way, while Trey was from the wrong side of the tracks in a rabid junkyard pit bull way. Trey attacks Marissa, Trey and Ryan fight, Marissa shoots Trey, and one of the most amazing moments in television history was born.
(Check out the video below to see what we’re talking about. The song choice was so perfectly-amazingly-hilariously timed with the incident that it went on to inspire an incredible sketch on ‘SNL’ called ‘Dear Sister.’)
Now: Marshall-Green has starred in ‘Devil’ and ‘Prometheus,’ and his latest role is in ‘As I Lay Dying’ — a movie directed by and starring James Franco, based on the novel by William Faulkner. Marshall-Green also appears on the TV series ‘Dark Blue.’