Being Cast on ‘The Hills: New Beginnings’ at First Seemed Like a Joke to Mischa Barton

Mischa Barton, the original It Girl of Orange County, California, thanks to her role on The O.C., at first thought the idea of her being on The Hills: New Beginnings, MTV’s reboot of The Hills, the network’s highly successful reality show — we’re using the term “reality show” loosely — was a joke.

In an interview with The New York Times last month, Barton told the publication she thought MTV was playing a joke on her when they told her they were considering her for a role on the reboot of The Hills

Mischa Barton | Instagram

“Plus, she initially thought the idea of her being scouted for the show was a joke,” the article read. 

MTV spent three months convincing Mischa Barton to join ‘The Hills: New Beginnings’

Barton, 33, explained in the interview that MTV approached her during the summer of 2018 and that she didn’t immediately agree to the role on reality TV. After all, she’d never worked in the genre before. 

And at the time, Barton lived in Hudson Valley, New York, far removed from the spotlight that would follow her if she lived in New York City or Los Angeles. 

Mischa Barton | Instagram

“I really thought it was time to take a step back from L.A., but you can’t do that forever,” Barton said. 

She described agreeing to take on a big or long-term role as a “process.” She didn’t just say yes. 

“Obviously, I’m a working actor, so I do take jobs in general,” she told the publication, “but when it comes to things I know are going to be big endeavors, it’s always kind of a process with me.”

Mischa Barton
Mischa Barton attends the 70th Anniversary of the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 23, 2017, in Cannes, France. | Laurent KOFFEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

For Barton, it took her approximately three months to agree to join the cast of The Hills: New Beginnings. Since she signed on for the role, she’s revealed very specific things she hopes to get out of the series. 

Why did MTV want Barton on ‘The Hills: New Beginnings’?

To MTV executives, Barton made the perfect addition to the cast of The Hills: New Beginnings

According to Nina L. Diaz, the president of entertainment at MTV, VH1, CMT, and Logo, Barton “was experiencing that sort of life of Hollywood and entering that world at the same age as ‘The Hills’ cast and going through a lot of the same experiences,” she told The New York Times.

In a different interview, Barton’s co-star and The Hills alum, Whitney Port, gave a similar explanation but confessed she didn’t quite fully understand why the actress joined the cast.

The Hills: New Beginnings | Instagram

While on the podcast, That’s So Retrograde, Port explained what producers of the reboot told her about Barton. 

“They think she is like the original Lauren [Conrad] because she was the cool girl on The O.C.,” Port said. “She was famous around the same time [and] all of her scandals were around the same time of The Hills scandals so they [the series’ producers] think she has a relatable story to tell — a ‘new beginning,’” she explained. 

“I don’t know, I can’t really explain it fully because it’s a little bit confusing to me but that’s what they tell me,” she added. Catch Barton, Port, and the rest of the cast on The Hills: New Beginnings Monday nights at 10 p.m. EST on MTV.