The O.C. Secrets: Fox Wanted Seth Cohen Aborted
The O.C. | Photo Credits: Warner Bros. TV/The Kobal Collection
"Welcome to the O.C., bitch!"
It's hard to imagine it's been 10 years since The O.C. premiered and changed all our lives for the better. But would it have had the same effect without Seth Cohen? Or without band Death Cab for Cutie, for that matter?
Whether he feels The O.C. was responsible for making indie music mainstream: "I don't know if I feel responsible. I guess I'm happy that all these bands are making a nice living. I think that there are definitely times that I hear songs that are on shows or in movies and I think 'Hey, we used that on our show years ago.' ... And we didn't have a lot of money, so it was fortunate that there were a lot of indie rock acts, because they were easier to license. And also they had an appetite to be licensed because at that moment there was no iTunes, there was no internet radio, really ... so if you were an indie rock band this was kind of the only way to get your music heard for a while."
On indie artists turning him down: "The one band I remember turning us down was Arcade Fire early on because they didn't want to license anything back then. But I did not choose to go to war with them in a Glee vs. Kings of Leon-type throwdown. And I still managed to love the band, despite them saying no."
How the show's commercial success affected the music: "There came a moment when even Death Cab was like, 'Maybe we won't license this song and we'll start to separate our identity from the show a little bit' because they were so tied to the identity of the show. The coolest thing that started happening was bands that we'd never have been able to afford or who never would have given us permission were coming to us to ask us to world premiere their songs."
The characters he wished had stuck around: "Well Luke, Anna, Jimmy Cooper in the first season. Olivia Wilde's character Alex in the second season. There were a lot of different character permutations and connections that we didn't do. We always talked about, 'Oh, there's a Summer-Luke shape that could be interesting, or Luke-Anna originally, that we talked about at one point. Or Seth-Marissa, what would that look like?'"
Why the show burnt out so soon: "I think shows like this that tends to happen no matter what. That's what's fun about the shows. They really capture a time and a moment and they burn really, really bright but they burn really fast ... So part of it is just inherent in the genre but I do think part of it was how quickly we moved through those stories. And how hard it was to kind of get that back."
On Fox hating Seth: "That was a challenging character to get everybody to sign up on. Because in the beginning Fox was saying, 'Well if Ryan (Ben McKenzie) is our Luke Perry who is our Jason Priestly? That was the question that kept getting asked. And I was like, 'We're not doing that show.' So the idea that our second male lead was going to be a nerdy, comic book-loving Jewish kid was a bit scary. When we cast [Adam Brody] he was somebody who had so much charisma and was so funny and obviously adorable for the ladies, and the network felt much more at ease with him in the part."