Anyone Want to Read an Interview With O.C. Star Rachel Bilson and Creator Josh Schwartz?

     October 23, 2006

Once again I will admit I have never seen an episode of The O.C. While many friends have told me that the first season of the show is brilliant on so many levels, I just never found the time to tune in. But based on how many people emailed me for this contest I know a lot of you still care. That is why when I got sent the transcript from a recent telephone interview that Rachel Bilson and show creator Josh Schwartz did I figured some of you would want to read it.

I would love to write more but I am seriously not qualified with this show. If you are looking forward to The O.C. returning on November, 2nd then I am sure you will enjoy what is below.

Josh Schwartz

Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the Josh Schwartz and Rachel Bilson conference call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, and I’d like to turn it over to Mr. Josh Schwartz.

J. Schwartz Hey, everybody, thank you for doing the call. Rachel is just wrapping up a scene and will be with us in like two to five minutes.

Moderator Mr. Schwartz, are you ready for your first question?

J. Schwartz Sure thing.

Moderator Okay, and that will come from the line of Valerie Greenberg of Life &amp Style Weekly. Please go ahead.

V. Greenberg Hi, Mr. Schwartz, how are you?

J. Schwartz I’m good. Call me Josh.

V. Greenberg Oh, Josh, okay, thanks. So how is it now with everybody, without Mischa on the set?

J. Schwartz I think it was certainly weird initially and she is definitely missed, but everybody understood the creative new direction that the show is headed in. I think everyone is having a lot of fun. But she was important part of the show and her character is an important part of the show and her character is honored I think in the beginning coming of this season. So she’s missed but everybody is moving – is back at it. The show must go on.

Moderator Thank you and our next question will come from the line of Brian Cantor of Headline Planet. Please go ahead.

B. Cantor Hey, Josh, How’s it going?

J. Schwartz Good, how are you?

B. Cantor I’m fine, thanks. I guess speculation suggests that the fourth season is probably going to be the final one. I know that’s not official but that’s what most people assume, and you know Grey’s Anatomy’s success in the timeslot is certainly not helping at all in terms of a potential ratings rebound. So I’m curious how that sort of pessimism affects you as a producer on the show. Does it allow you to take more risks? How exactly does that impact what you do with the show?

J. Schwartz It’s actually proved to be totally, creatively liberating. I think last year the show creatively was – decisions were made that weren’t necessarily creative, but that were made in the sort of defensively, so as to not get cancelled. I think promotable events were dictating characters, plus the other way around. This year we’ve gotten very Zen about the fact that we are perilous to control those ratings, and out of that actually is real creative liberation. We’re having a lot of fun, anything goes, and we’re really doing the show that we are excited to do and that we think our fans will be excited to see.

Moderator Thank you, our next question will come from the line of Megan Cherkezian of TV Guide Online.

M. Cherkezian Hi, Josh.

J. Schwartz Hey, how are you?

M. Cherkezian Good. I was excited to see that Chris Pratt is a guest star.

J. Schwartz Yes.

M. Cherkezian I’m a big fan of his. I’m just wondering, is he going to stay on the show and become a possible love interest for Summer?

J. Schwartz Well yes – well I don’t know about a love interest but he’s definitely going to stick around. We had him originally slated for a handful of episodes and we just all enjoyed working with him so much and he’s so much fun. He’s really, “I think I’m the newest character,” a lot, that we decided to extend it and bring him back for a few more. His character right now is really just as a Svengali, sort of a spiritual guru to Summer at college. I think if he was to have a romantic story somewhere further on in the season, it would be with someone you might not expect.

Moderator Thank you. Our next question will come from the line of Ann Oldenburg of USA Today. Please go ahead.

A. Oldenburg Hi, Josh.

J. Schwartz Hey, Ann, how are you?

A. Oldenburg Fine. I have a question about Sandy and why you felt the need that he should have a guy friend. Why does Sandy – why does that bother Sandy?

J. Schwartz Why does it bother Sandy?

A. Oldenburg Or why does he feel he needs to have a man friend I think…?

(Overlapping voices)

J. Schwartz Well I think there comes a time in a man’s life where he looks around and he realizes, “you know, I don’t really have any guys to hang out with,” and I think that can become a complicated thing as you become a dad and you’re working a lot, the sort of the idea of just having like a friend, especially when you’re Sandy Cohen and you’re often solving people’s problems. You know you’re a great dad, a great husband, but like what about just having somebody to hang out with and have a beer with and watch the game. We thought that was sort of a smaller, more relatable kind of side to Sandy that we wanted to explore.

A. Oldenburg Will that, his friend, the character, become more of a bigger character or is it just sort of…?

(Overlapping voices)

J. Schwartz Well I think he’s somebody that we can now fold into the show you know? He’s a buddy for Sandy to have. They work together. It’s a place to go in the show, and it was a story line that Peter was really excited to do as well and had a lot of fun with.

Moderator Thank you, and next we’ll go to the line of Daniel Fienberg of Zap2it.com. Please go ahead.

J. Schwartz Oh-oh.

D. Fienberg How you doing, Josh? So in the past you’ve had sort of different sort of five or six episode roadblocks for Sandy and Kirsten, over the seasons – you know, Bill Campbell, Bonnie Somerville, Jerry, Ryan, etc., but that’s sort of happy at the beginning of these episodes.

J. Schwartz Yes, I think it should be a roadblock free season for Sandy and Kirsten.

D. Fienberg Well can actually give them enough to do while keeping them from being on the verge of divorce or alcoholism at all times?

J. Schwartz I think we can. I think that they work best when they’re working together and they’re on the same team. Certainly Ryan is going to keep them busy in the beginning of the season. As we get further on, Julie Cooper will keep Kirsten more than occupied.

(Loud background noise)

Moderator Thank you and next we’ll go to the line of Brian….

J. Schwartz Oh, sorry, getting some feedback.

Moderator Yes, probably from your phone.

J. Schwartz Yes, okay.

Moderator Next we’ll go to the line of Brian Cantor of Headline Planet.

B. Cantor Actually I re-queued to ask a similar question to Rachel. So I mean if you want to go to somebody next and I’ll re-queue again, that’s fine.

Moderator Okay, thank you. We’ll go to a re-queue from Megan Cherkezian of TV Guide Online.

M. Cherkezian Hi, Josh. I was wondering where the show will go with Kaitlin and Luke’s younger brothers, and if she will at all kind of replace Marissa in a way?

J. Schwartz The idea was not to have her replace Marissa. The idea was just that she actually – especially in the beginning of the season, she really serves as a reminder – she serves as like a life raft to Julie to come back to reality. That when Julie is so despondent with grief over the loss of one daughter, that Kaitlin is there to say, “You still have another daughter. I’m still here. I’m still alive.” She really helps to kind of bring Julie back and they work really great together as Mother and Daughter. The idea is not have her replace Marissa in anyway. She will not – Eric and Brad Ward, who are Kaitlin’s – they’re almost like her lap dogs I guess really, but she will have a romantic storyline in the second half of the season with Chris Brown.

Moderator Thank you, and next we’ll go to the line of Emily Christianson of Celebrity Week. Please go ahead.

E. Christianson Hi, Josh.

J. Schwartz Hi.

E. Christianson Hi. I was just curious, what are the chances that Marissa will be back as either a ghost or a flashback or something like that this season?

J. Schwartz You’ll have to watch and see, but like I said, her character will be very much in the fabric of the show, whether she herself is not back.

Moderator Next we’ll go to the line of Valerie Greenberg of Life &amp Style Weekly.

V. Greenberg Hi, Josh, how are you?

J. Schwartz Good, how are you?

V. Greenberg So what is ahead for Summer and Seth?

J. Schwartz Ah, well I think they’re in a place where I believe a lot of couples have been in, in high school going into college. We were trying to do the long distance thing. Seth is left behind, where like, he’s hanging out with the…. The highlight of his day is he had a turkey sandwich and his Dad wanted roast beef, and meanwhile Summer is 3,000 miles away at college reinventing herself completely. I think that’s a struggle that all kids go through at some point in their life. That they’re trying to take the high school girl friend with them to college. It’s part of Summer’s growth and it’s part of Seth’s growth to be happy for her, to be excited for this change, and just to make sure that she’s changing for the right reasons, and not because she’s trying to escape Newport or her past.

Moderator Thank you and we have a follow-up from Megan Cherkezian of TV Guide Online.

M. Cherkezian Josh, will Ryan hunting down Volcheck be a big storyline for a while or does he go in a different direction?

J. Schwartz I think the sort of the aftermath of the season finale will play itself out in just a couple of episodes in the beginning of the year, about the first three episodes. Then Ryan will start to move into a new direction as he tries to heal himself.

Moderator We’ll go to the line of Brian Linder of IGN.com.

B. Linder Hey, Josh, how are you doing?

J. Schwartz I’m good. How are you?

B. Linder Good. Are we going to see any old familiar faces popping up on the show this year like maybe Jimmy Cooper coming back or the nanna?

J. Schwartz You definitely will. We’ll definitely be bringing back some characters from previous seasons and maybe some you’ve forgotten about. Yes, you’ll definitely see some, and Jimmy Cooper will be back for sure.

Moderator Thank you, and next we’ll go to the line of Paulette Cohen from ETOnline.

P. Cohen Hey, Josh.

J. Schwartz Hey.

P. Cohen Is Autumn going to be a love interest for Ryan? It sort of looked that way at the end of the fourth episode.

J. Schwartz Well, Autumn is going to – Taylor will play a big part in the show this year. I think before she can be love interest for Ryan, first they have to become friends, but she is the ideal person, we believe, to help pull Ryan out of the darkness and towards the light. That she’s just such a sort of force of nature and she brings out a really different side of Ryan. So their scenes together are a lot of fun and the actors are having a lot of fun doing them.

Moderator Thanks and next we’ll go to the line of Daniel Fienberg of Zap2it.com.

(Difficult to understand)

D. Fienberg …Josh … in.

J. Schwartz Hey. Sorry, hold on a second. I don’t why this keeps going on. Okay.

D. Fienberg Probably because people are trying to call you.

J. Schwartz I guess. I thought I turned it off, but these darn new phones. Yes, so go ahead, sorry.

D. Fienberg So given – as much as they made about sort of Willa’s similarities to Mischa and sort of younger sister and all, are you conspicuously or consciously going to be avoiding having her go through any sort of similar downward spiral type arcs? Like is she going to find herself drinking soon?

||SPLIT||

J. Schwartz Yes, well she’s a very different character than Marissa. I mean I think she’s definitely Julie Cooper’s daughter. I think Marissa always had a little bit more of the Jimmy Cooper side to her and Kaitlin is much more the strong, not so easily manipulative, not quite tragic figure. I think she’s a very, very different character. She’s much more innovative, a young Julie. So, no, I guess to answer your question.

Moderator Thank you, and next we’ll go to the line of Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald.

J. Schwartz We have Rachel Bilson. Sorry, Glenn?

G. Garvin Yes, hi, how are you doing?

J. Schwartz Good, how are you?

G. Garvin What is Taylor doing there anyway? I thought she was going to Stanford? Do I recall that incorrectly?

J. Schwartz Taylor is actually headed to the Sorbonne in Paris. Something big happened to Taylor while she was in France and she might – she’s back now with a secret, hiding out, which will slowly reveal itself over time. Rachel is now on the phone.

R. Bilson Hi.

Moderator We’ll go to the line of Ann Oldenburg of USA Today.

A. Oldenburg Hey, Josh.

J. Schwartz Hey.

A. Oldenburg What big events can we expect to happen since we went through graduation and lots of big events last season? Is it going to be about big events again?

J. Schwartz It’s not really as much about big events. I mean not to say that exciting things aren’t going to be happening and every episode is going to leave you wanting more, but this year – I felt like last year, to some extent, big events were dictating character. I really want the stories this year to come and arise organically from the characters and have the characters really driving the story, so big things will be afoot. I don’t think it’ll be like necessarily milestones in people’s lives. Although, Chris Micka will be back but – or these crazy tragic events occurring. It’s more the stuff that hopefully will feel like life.

Moderator Thank you and next we’ll go to the line of Zack Barangen from TeenPeople.com.

Z. Barangen Hi, Rachel.

R. Bilson Hi.

Z. Barangen Now that Mischa has moved on, do you feel any extra pressure as the show’s primary leading lady so to speak?

R. Bilson I’m sorry, who?

Z. Barangen Mischa.

R. Bilson I’m just kidding. No, we definitely have a lot of strong single characters on our show. I would never think that my character is in that position because everyone does their fair share and has interesting story lines. We have a really good female cast, as well as male of course, but yes, I think everyone shares the limelight so to speak.

Moderator Thank you and next we’ll go to the line of Megan Cherkezian of TV Guide Online.

M. Cherkezian Hi, Rachel.

R. Bilson Hi.

M. Cherkezian How are you?

R. Bilson Good, how are you?

M. Cherkezian Good. I’m just wondering how you feel about Summer this season and how she changes?

R. Bilson I think it’s really cool. I really like the direction they sort of pointed her in. Dealing with her best friend’s death, she turns into sort of a tree hugger, which I think is nice to see on a TV show, especially with such a young audience that it might raise awareness and if they’re not aware of these things, it brings it to their attention and maybe they want to get involved. So I think it’s cool that it’s that way as opposed to cage fighting or something like that.

J. Schwartz Hey, easy on the cage fighting, Bilson. We talked about a Summer cage fighting sequence but….

R. Bilson Didn’t fly.

J. Schwartz Didn’t quite fly.

Moderator Thank you, and next we’ll go to the line of Valerie Greenberg of Life &amp Style Weekly.

V. Greenberg Hi, Rachel, how are you?

R. Bilson Good, how are you?

V. Greenberg Excellent, thank you very much. So do you anticipate being in Rhode Island the whole entire season or do you think you might make it back to see Seth some time?

R. Bilson Well, O.C. is just a plane ride away, so she definitely manages to do her share of visits. So I don’t know. Hopefully she’ll get her experience at Brown and just come home when she needs to and he’ll come visit her.

J. Schwartz Unless something happens.

R. Bilson Of course.

Moderator Thank you. Next we’ll go to the line of Emily Christianson of Celebrity Week.

E. Christianson Hi, Rachel.

R. Bilson Hi.

E. Christianson I was curious, how does having a relationship with somebody off-screen impact your dynamic on-screen?

R. Bilson I don’t know. I can only imagine it would be hard, who knows.

Moderator Thank you. Next we’ll go to the line of Brian Cantor of Headline Planet.

B. Cantor Hi, Rachael, how are you?

R. Bilson Hi, good, how are you?

B. Cantor Okay, so I’m basically going to redirect the question I asked Josh to you. You’ve heard – there’s the pessimism. You’ve heard people talking about how this will be the final season. I’m curious, as someone whose big break was this show, how does that affect your morale on the set? What was filming like, knowing that this could be the final season you work with the various cast members you’ve grown to become family with?

R. Bilson No, we don’t know that it’s the final season. We’re just having a lot of fun and trying to make the best season we can and go from there. No one thinks it’s over and doesn’t want it to be over, because we have a really great thing and why would you want something like that to end? So we’re just doing the best we can and having fun doing it.

Moderator Thank you. Next we’ll go to the line of Glenn Garvin of Miami Herald.

G. Garvin Rachael, when you guys shot here – I guess actually you weren’t in that episode, but when you shot here in Miami a couple of years ago, the guys made it pretty plain to me that they were very anxious to be graduating from high school. I wondered how you felt about that. Did you care or are you glad to…?

R. Bilson No, I don’t care, because it’s fun to go back to high school and revisit it, but you don’t have to stay there, which is nice. I look really young and I use it to my advantage and as an actress I think it can be very beneficial. So it’s fun to do those high school situations because it’s not real so I have fun doing it.

Moderator Thank you, and next we’ll go to the line of Valerie Greenberg from Life &amp Style Weekly.

V. Greenberg Hi again, Rachel.

R. Bilson Hi.

V. Greenberg How will you find yourself necessarily distancing yourself from Seth? Do you find yourself doing that at all?

R. Bilson My character distancing myself?

V. Greenberg Yes.

R. Bilson Well I think because dealing with the death of her best friend, she sort of distances herself from everybody attached to that or related to it, just because it’s such a constant reminder. So in that way I think she is, but when it comes down to it, he’s her boyfriend and they are going to have to deal with those issues eventually. So, yes, you know—

||SPLIT||

Moderator Thank you and once again we’ll go to the line of Megan Cherkezian of TV Guide Online.

M. Cherkezian Hi, Rachel.

R. Bilson Hi.

M. Cherkezian I’m just wondering, without Marissa and also the end of high school, the core group seems to be breaking apart. So I’m wondering how you think fans will find another way to connect with these characters, even though they’re not all together.

R. Bilson Right, well you know, it’s funny because on set, they’re like, okay, the foursome. Now you know Autumn Reeser has really stepped in and she’s done such a great job and we’re all having fun doing it. It’s different, but we’re just doing the best we can and having a lot of fun. So in a way it is different but it’s also evolving and it’s fun. So in a way – it’s just a new exciting thing for everyone.

Moderator Thank you and next we’ll go to the line of Jamie Etkin of U.S. Weekly.

J. Etkin Hi, Rachel, how are you?

R. Bilson Hi, how are you?

J. Etkin Good, thank you. I was just wondering how you feel about – when you first signed-on to do the show, obviously your character was pretty one-level. Kind of the materialistic California girl and now that she’s developed into a more deeper character, how has that challenged your acting and approach towards doing the show?

R. Bilson That’s a good question. You know what, I am so thankful to Josh Schwartz who is on the phone, because I was a guest star and didn’t have that much to do. He just kept writing me great stuff and I had the opportunity to do that. It was honestly the best thing that could happen to me and it was definitely life-changing for me personally and professionally. So I’m just grateful for it all and I’ve had so much fun with the character. I love everything she gets to do and especially the comedic stuff. It’s nice to practice your comedic skills once in a while, and so I think I’m very fortunate.

J. Schwartz I think this year you’ll get to see the best stuff Rachel’s done comedically, but also dramatically.

R. Bilson Thanks.

J. Schwartz No problem.

Moderator Thank you. Next we’ll go to the line of Daniel Fienberg of Zap2it.com.

J. Schwartz Watch out for this guy, Bilson.

D. Fienberg Hey, Rachel, how are you doing?

R. Bilson Hi, how are you?

D. Fienberg You just booked a major film role the other day. When are going to start doing double-duty and have you figured out how your schedule is going to work?

R. Bilson I actually already have started, and my schedule is pretty crazy, but I am so grateful that the show has given me the opportunity to do so. I’m going to work my butt off, but I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Moderator Thank you and next we’ll go to the line of Brian Linder of IGN.com.

B. Linder Hi, Rachel.

R. Bilson Hi.

B. Linder How are you?

R. Bilson Good, how are you?

B. Linder Good. I’m wondering if any of these new convictions of Summer’s – if any of them are drawn from your own interests and causes that you might be interested in raising awareness about. Like caged chickens and stuff?

R. Bilson Oh yes. Yes, definitely. I am a big believer in all of this stuff and I think that they’ve done such a good job with everything that she believes in. I have a pet bunny on the show, so that helps the awareness of cruelty to animals. I don’t eat pigs because I love them, so there are definitely some similarities.

Moderator There are no further questions at this time – I’m sorry, we’ll go to the line of Sarah Haas of MSN. Please go ahead.

S. Haas Hi, guys.

J. Schwartz Hey.

S. Haas This is kind of for both of you.

R. Bilson Cool.

S. Haas I’m wondering if there are any sort of specific teasers that you might be able to pass along, in that, you said it wasn’t really events-driven this season. So if it’s more character-driven, what sort of things will you be highlighting?

J. Schwartz Well I think in the beginning of the season, it’s really a battle for Ryan’s soul. I think you’ll see the Cohens kind of all realigned, trying to help pull Ryan out of the darkness. At the same time, Summer has gone off to college to completely reinvent herself and to kind of escape from everything that reminds her of Newport and how that’s going to play on the Seth/Summer story line. So I think those are probably the two major things to watch for in the beginning of the season. Then it will be about evolving relationships. How Taylor comes into Ryan’s life and Che as Summer Svengali complicates her life with Seth and….

(Overlapping voices)

R. Bilson Julie Cooper also….

J. Schwartz Julie Cooper has a lot going on.

R. Bilson Yes.

Moderator Thank you and….

(Overlapping voices)

J. Schwartz Four words: Julie Cooper, Urban Cougar, that’s all we’re saying.

Moderator Thank you, once again we’ll go to the line of Brian Cantor of Headline Planet. Please go ahead.

B. Cantor Okay, once again to Rachel: throughout the course of the show we’ve seen a few characters greatly change and a few characters have been relatively consistent.

R. Bilson And die…. Yes.

B. Cantor Obviously I’m curious if the evolution of the Summer character to you has been realistic or if you feel it’s been a little over-exaggerated over the past few seasons.

R. Bilson No, I wouldn’t say over-exaggerated. Maybe in the comedic area but that’s fun and you want to do that that way, but no, it’s been pretty realistic. She actually – I think it’s nice because she became more human as the seasons have gone on. So in that sense it’s very relatable and I liked how she sort of handled every situation and I think she’s come the furthest. In this season, you get to see here really deal with real life situations and life in general and the comedy’s there, but it’s also the honest reactions to life itself.

Moderator We have time for two more questions, and we’ll go to the line of Megan Cherkezian from TV Guide Online.

M. Cherkezian …Chris Pratt being on the show, I’m just wondering how….

J. Schwartz We lost – sorry, we missed the beginning of the question.

M. Cherkezian Oh, Rachel, earlier I was asking Josh about having Chris Pratt on the show and I’m just wondering how you like having a story line with him and working with him.

R. Bilson I absolutely love it. Chris is so much fun to work with. He’s hysterical and I’m just so lucky that I get to be able to do these scenes. With him, it’s honestly it makes work so much fun because he’s so great and he’s so great at the character and I hope he stays around forever.

Moderator Thank you, and our final question will come from the line of Brian Linder of IGN.com.

B. Linder Hi again, guys.

R. Bilson Hi.

B. Linder I was hoping both of you guys could just give a quick rundown of what you have coming up next. I know, Rachel, you’ve got Jumper with Doug Liman going on. Josh, are you developing anything else right now?

J. Schwartz Yes, I have a couple of pilots I’m working on. One for NBC, one for the CW, and a movie – I work for Paramount, but called basically The Book of Looking for Alaska. Right now our focus and our commitment are to the O.C. season four.

R. Bilson Well put, like you said.

Moderator Thank you, and Mr. Schwartz and Miss Bilson, I’ll turn it back to you for any closing comments.

J. Schwartz Thank you, guys, so much for doing the call with us. We’re incredibly excited about this season and proud of these episodes and hope you guys all get a chance to look at the first four episodes and see what we’re up to this year.

R. Bilson Yes, tune-in to FOX on Thursdays at 9:00.

Moderator Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. That does conclude your conference for today. Thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect.

R. Bilson Thank you.

J. Schwartz Thanks.

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