Hollywood royalty Mischa Barton is set to join the cast of Neighbours in a bizarre casting decision nobody saw coming.
The OC actress, 37, who was famed for her portrayal of Marissa on the hit series from 2003 to 2007, will be moving to Ramsay Street for the upcoming series revival of the Australian soap.
Amazon, the company that picked up Neighbours after it was axed on Australian TV in 2022, announced the news, revealing Barton will be playing an American character named Reece.
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“With Neighbours launching on Amazon Freevee in North America, we are beyond excited to have an actor of Mischa’s calibre join us for the beginning of this exciting new chapter,” Neighbours executive producer Jasion Herbison said.
“Mischa’s character is dynamic and unpredictable, and will have an instant presence on Ramsay Street. Our loyal viewers are going to love her, locally and abroad.”
Barton also addressed the casting in a statement, revealing she is excited to be relocating to Australia to film the soap’s new season.
“I’m excited to be part of this iconic show’s next chapter, and I am really looking forward to being back in Australia, a place I know and love!” she said.
“I think the character of Reece is going to be a great role for me to explore and play with.”
Barton first rose to fame as a child star in The Sixth Sense and Notting Hill before earning her status as TV royalty on The OC in the early noughties.
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The actress has kept it low-key since leaving the series in 2007. Her last major film credit was in 2020.
According to IMDB, Barton is starring in at least one episode of Neighbours.
Filming for the revived season began in Melbourne yesterday and is set to premiere on Amazon later this year.
The revitalised series will premiere for free, exclusively on Amazon Freevee in the UK and U.S and will also stream on Prime Video in Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
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Network 10 will retain first-run rights in Australia and episodes will be available ad free on Prime Video in Australia a week later, according to Amazon.
A number of old stars are set to reprise their characters on Neighbours, including April Rose Pengilly, Ryan Moloney, Ian Smith, Georgie Stone and Jane Harris.
Neighbours veterans including Stefan Harris and Jackie Woodburne were announced as returning cast members earlier this year.
The show was officially axed in Australia in March 2022, however just months later, it was revealed Neighbours would be revived through a streaming service.
Nine Entertainment Co (the publisher of this website) owns and operates the streaming service Stan.
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