Hollywood star Mischa Barton to join rebooted Neighbours

Mischa Barton

Hollywood and The OC actor Mischa Barton is to join the rebooted Australian soap Neighbours, which is returning to screens later this year.

Barton will appear as Reece, an American “who’s not quite who she appears to be”, the show’s producers say.

Streaming giant Amazon is relaunching Neighbours after the series came to an end in 2022 after 37 years on air.

Filming resumed in Melbourne on 17 April, Variety magazine reported.

“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!” Barton said in a statement.

“Mischa’s character is dynamic and unpredictable, and will have an instant presence,” executive producer Jason Herbison said.

“Our loyal viewers are going to love her, locally and abroad.”

British-born Barton is best known for her role as Marissa Cooper in the teen drama The OC from 2003 to 2006, and has also appeared in a string of Hollywood films including The Sixth Sense and Notting Hill.

Neighbours staged a much-heralded finale last year after UK broadcaster Channel 5 said it could no longer fund production.

The “final episode” brought back a host of stars who made early career appearances on the show, including Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce and Jason Donovan.

Pearce later wryly commented that coming back was “a painful reminder that the things we love can be snatched away, never to return… unless Amazon comes in to save the day, and makes our finale look like a rather expensive exercise.”

The revival will include old regulars including Rebekah Elmaloglou (Terese Willis), Tim Kano (Leo Tanaka), Georgie Stone (Mackenzie Hargreaves) and Annie Jones (Jane Harris), while veterans like Ian Smith (Harold Bishop), Melissa Bell (Lucy Robinson) and April Rose Pengilly (Chloe Brennan) will return for guest roles.

The new Neighbours will be shown on Amazon’s Freevee service in the US and UK, and in Australia on Channel 10 and Prime Video.


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