Mischa Barton aiming for more mature roles
Updated Tue. Dec. 25 2007 11:19 AM ET
The Canadian Press
REGINA -- It's -35 outside with the wind chill -- the kind of Saskatchewan weather that usually prompts a serious case of hat head -- but Mischa Barton is perfectly coiffed as she sits in a Regina soundstage.
The brunette actress is well-known to TV viewers as spoiled socialite Marissa Cooper from the teen drama "The O.C.,'' but she's about to show a new side of herself in the psychological thriller "Walled In.''
"She's much tougher and more of an 'action-y' girl and much more boyish,'' Barton says of her character, Sam.
"That is different from the other roles I've played which tend to be, you know, much prettier and more put together. So it's nice to get to be someone who's just got her hair in a ponytail and is like, you know, a tough girl.''
Barton recently spent six weeks shooting the project in the Saskatchewan capital.
The film, about a demolition expert who uncovers the secrets of a building and its past inhabitants, is adapted from the "Les Emmures,'' a novel by French writer Serge Brussolo.
Barton says "Walled In'' is a chance for her to take centre stage.
"This is the first time I've done such a physical role and it's a huge lead for me, I'm in every scene,'' she says. "It's a bit more of a responsibility in that way.''
"I was attracted to it because it's well written. It's such a smart script and it's got something about it.''
The role also required some stunt work, which Barton found to be a challenge. Canadian actor Cameron Bright, who co-starred with Barton in the film, says he faced hurdles as well.
"I get to drive in this movie and I'm 14 so I can't drive yet, so I had to learn,'' says the Victoria, B.C., native. "I was pretty good at it. It was cool.''
"It was challenging for the first couple of minutes when I was learning, but other than that it was fun,'' he says, grinning.
In "Walled In,'' Bright plays Jimmy the son of the building's caretaker. He describes Jimmy as "a dark child'' who is cut off from the world.
The role adds to an already impressive resume for Bright.
He starred in "Godsend'' with Robert DeNiro, opposite Nicole Kidman in "Birth'' and was the child who could "cure'' other mutants in "X-Men: The Last Stand.'' Barton is one of the younger actresses he's worked with.
"Normally in my movies I'm the only kid under 40,'' he jokes. "She's more like a friend than anything else.''
For her part, Barton says Sam is a more mature character than she's played in the past. The actress is using the experience to make the leap from high school type roles to adult ones.
She also becoming more involved in the filmmaking process by producing on her next project, "Homecoming.''
"I'm just kind of transitioning out of those younger roles,'' says Barton.
"I've been working really hard, so in that way the transition takes a lot because I feel the need to prove myself a little.''