Neighbours: Mischa Barton says joining 'fast-paced and crazy' soap was serendipity

The OC star says the Australian soap had been wooing her for a number of years

Watch: Mischa Barton talks to Yahoo about joining Neighbours

Mischa Barton says her new role on rebooted soap Neighbours was "serendipitous".

Speaking exclusively at a recent press event, the star explains how she came to join the iconic Australian soap, in which she plays intriguing newcomer Reece.

“They approached me with [the news that] they were doing the reboot, and I read the character, and actually just really liked the role of Reece. I thought that she was pretty well-written for me,” says Barton.

“I read a lot of things where I’m like ‘Ah, I don’t know if I can play that’. And actually Neighbours had approached me way in the past, and that was not the right kinds of roles or time; and this just was like, serendipitous.

Mischa Barton - Neighbours. (Freevee)
Mischa Barton as Reece in Neighbours. (Freevee)
Xavier Molyneux (as Byron Stone) and Mischa Barton (as Reece Sinclair) in Neighbours. (Freevee)
Xavier Molyneux (as Byron Stone) and Mischa Barton (as Reece Sinclair) in Neighbours. (Freevee)

"It was like ‘I really think Reece is a cool character’ and I think Jason [Herbison, executive producer] and the writers actually really kind of developed her with somebody like me in mind, and it just seemed to work.

She’s just the kind of character I feel like I can play, so I feel like I know Reece Sinclair. I kind of like getting to play around with her.Mischa Barton

As an actor, this is certainly what you want from a role. “It is, yeah, exactly,” Barton agrees. “Especially in something as fast-paced and crazy as Neighbours and television, you want something that you feel like ‘Oh, I know Reece Sinclair, I can do this, this’ll be fun.”

Just days after Neighbours premiered on Amazon Freevee, Reece’s secret has been exposed. Far from simply being a guest at Lassiters, she is the daughter of the hotel’s new investor.

Tim Kano - Neighbours. (Freevee)
Tim Kano returns as Leo in Neighbours. (Freevee)

The star can’t share what her alter ego will do next, but confirms that Reece shares several more scenes with one Ramsay Street favourite. “That’s all kind of top secret, there’s a lot to come. I do get to do quite a bit of work with Stefan [Dennis, who plays] Paul.”

Co-star Tim Kano, who is back as Paul’s son Leo, joins Barton to discuss all things Neighbours. Asked about his role in this particular plot, Kano promises the show will keep us guessing.

Stefan Dennis (as Paul Robinson) in Neighbours. (Freevee)
Mischa Barton's character Reece will be sharing the screen with Paul Robinson. (Freevee)

“Leo’s always wanting to look out for Paul, and support him — but also keep him in line. And he’s a bit of a confidant for Paul, obviously being his son; so there’s a lot of crossover throughout the journey. But it’s really exciting, I think it’s pretty intriguing.

“There are a lot of different kind of cliffhangers and loose ends that you want to figure out what’s really going on. A lot of crumbs, a lot of crumbs."

There are a lot of things on the horizon that are definitely going to lead to some really intense twists and turns, good and bad. So it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, but I think it’s definitely not a quiet time for Leo at all. There’s a lot coming up.Tim Kano

Meanwhile, Barton is central to some rather passionate scenes, with Reece currently in the midst of an affair with hotel worker Byron (Xavier Molyneux). “I was a bit surprised about all the steaminess with the boy,” she laughs.

“I had read a lot more of her kind of dramatic stuff and the more serious stuff, so I didn’t realise she was going to get quite so passionate with the bellboy. But what can you do, it’s Erinsborough! So that was, I guess, the most surprising thing for me.”

Xavier Molyneux (as Byron Stone) and Mischa Barton (as Reece Sinclair) in Neighbours. (Freevee)
Mischa Barton was surprised by her character's steamy scenes. (Freevee)

But how does Reece really feel about Byron? “She comes from this much more fast-paced, corporate, very wealthy world, more international. And he’s obviously this Australian, happy beach boy.

“So I think he falls quite hard for her, and in the end, her feelings are very genuine,” reveals Barton. “I think she’s a bit taken aback and surprised by how much she likes him.

"That’s where a lot of the drama comes from, is the push and pull of that, how much is she going to commit to that? And then she surprises herself a little bit. So there’s a lot of ups and downs there.”

Neighbours airs every Monday to Thursday at 7am on Amazon Freevee.

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