‘The O.C.’: Ryan and Kevin’s Feud Had More Tension Behind-the-Scenes

The O.C. was a popular drama series for teenagers when it aired on Fox in the mid-2000s. Viewers enjoyed watching the drama unfold on the screen, but there was also plenty of drama to be found behind-the-scenes when cameras weren’t rolling.

Part of that drama involved life imitating art; Ryan and Kevin were rivals on the show, and the actors who portrayed the characters weren’t always friendly with each other off-camera, either. It’s been well over a decade since the series ended, though, and there are no hard feelings between the two actors anymore.

Benjamin McKenzie and Mischa Barton arrive at 'The O.C.' kickoff party
Benjamin McKenzie and Mischa Barton arrive at The O.C. kickoff party | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

‘The O.C.’: a soap opera for teens

Brittanica.com summarizes The O.C. as being about a group of teenagers and their families in the wealthy community of Newport Beach, Calif., which is in Orange County — from which the show gets its name.

Ryan Atwood was the main character, a teenager of modest means who was thrust into the fast-paced Southern California lifestyle when his mother kicked him out of the house, and he was taken in by the Cohens, a wealthy couple with teenage son Seth.

Ryan and Seth would become good friends as the series went on. The series was essentially a soap opera for young adults, so there were always romances forming — and ending — among the group of attractive young men and ladies in the exclusive O.C. community.

Ryan wasn’t friendly with everyone

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Ryan quickly befriended Seth when the boys met, but that wasn’t the case with everyone who Ryan encountered in Newport Beach. One peer who Ryan was usually at odds with was Kevin Volchok.

As is often the case among teenagers — especially on TV dramas — the bad blood between Ryan and Kevin was largely formed around a girl. In this case, the girl was Marissa Cooper.

Kevin started dating her shortly after arriving on the show during its third season, but the couple eventually broke up because he cheated on her. After the breakup, he found out that she was dating Ryan, and Kevin felt that she left him for Ryan; Kevin would eventually — and unintentionally kill — Marissa.

She wasn’t the only person who experienced Kevin’s violence. He and Ryan got into some physical altercations when the friction between them grew to levels that they couldn’t handle anymore.

Behind-the-scenes rivalry between Ryan and Kevin

Cam Gigandet, who portrayed Kevin, did an interview with Elle in which the publication asked the actor what it was like working on The O.C. and if he still keeps in touch with any of his co-stars from the series.

His rather blunt answer to the query was “no.” He expanded on that answer to give readers an idea of why that is. To put it simply, and in Gigandet’s words, “Ben McKenzie was kind of mean to me.”

McKenzie, who played Ryan, “was a little bit of an ass,” according to Gigandet, who insists that he hadn’t done anything to deserve that kind of treatment from the show’s star. But Gigandet doesn’t harbor ill will against McKenzie at this point.

After calling McKenzie “a little bit of an ass,” Gigandet made sure to say that he loves him. He went on to praise McKenzie, saying he thinks “he’s a great actor,” Gigandet even continued on by saying “I love Southland,” the police drama McKenzie starred in after The O.C. ended.

It wasn’t just McKenzie who gave Gigandet bad memories of working on the show. When asked if he had any good memories from his work on the series, Gigandet didn’t say no but that was the vibe he gave off in his response, which included saying “those kids were fucking miserable” and that he doesn’t “talk to anyone [he’s] ever worked with.”