Finally, I've got some good news for all you heartsick
The O.C. had the Bright idea (c'mon, I
had to!) to cast
Chris Pratt - aka
Everwood's lovable blockhead Bright - for a multi-episode arc this season. He'll play Che, an environmentalist that Summer (
Rachel Bilson) befriends while away at college. Unfortunately, we have to wait a few months before we see Pratt in action. His first air date coincides with the show's fourth-season premiere on Nov. 2. You don't, however, have to wait that long to read my exclusive Q&A with him, since Mr. Pratt just called me while driving around in New Mexico to discuss
The O.C., adjusting to life after
Everwood and the perils of dating your TV sibling.
Ausiello: How's everything?
Everything is very well, thank you. I'm out in New Mexico of all places.
Ausiello: What are you doing in New Mexico?
Visiting my lady. She's out here working on a movie, so I just came out to give my moral support and play some golf.
Ausiello: Is this lady's name Emily VanCamp?
Ausiello: How's she doing?
She's doing really well. She's working her butt off out there, but she's happy and challenged.
Ausiello: What movie is it?
I believe the working title is Carriers, but it was the Untitled Pastor Brothers Project. It's an end of the world thriller-type thing. It's pretty cool.
Ausiello: Tell me about your O.C. character, Che.
He's a lot different than any character I've ever played. He's a college-aged kid, who comes on the scene to stir things up between Seth and Summer. He's a left-wing liberal, environmentalist, vegan-type of save-the-chickens character that's a little over-the-top, but he's completely earnest. He's kind of a hippy. It's a very funny role.
Ausiello: How does he meet Summer?
We come into the season having already established some sort of friendship. They go to school together and Summer has, as you'll see, changed from her original personality. She's less O.C. and more into the environment. You're going to see "Greenpeace Summer."
Ausiello: Are you and Summer romantically involved when the season starts?
No, no, no. I don't think this is a love triangle. Summer has no interest in the Che character, from what I've read so far. There's probably going to be that imminent threat looming, but she's pretty clear about not liking him in that way. I think she's just clinging to something different from where she came from, because she left the O.C. under such tragic circumstances, losing her friend and all that stuff. She's trying to find an identity outside of who she really is, and I think she just happened to cling on to this left-of-center character.
Ausiello: How many episodes are you doing?
I think I'm doing six episodes.
Ausiello: Anything else going on?
I'm producing a movie with John Beasley, who played Irv on Everwood. I can't really say what it is right now because we haven't fully secured the rights to it. But we've been working on this project for about eight months now, and that's really turning into something that could be really cool. ( He gets distracted by something while driving) Hey, there's a hitchhiker! Should I pick him up?
Ausiello: No. Drive right past him. And don't make eye contact.
Oh, man, he's an old guy.
Ausiello: Let him go. You're doing an interview.
( Laughs) Yeah, I'll let him go.
Ausiello: Let's talk about Everwood. You'd probably be back on the set right about now had the show been picked up. Miss it?
Yeah, I do. I really started to enjoy living in Utah. It has everything that I like to do there: fishing and hunting and camping and hiking and skiing. I kind of fell in love with Utah, but I also fell in love with my girlfriend, so it's a trade-off. I get to take her with me to Los Angeles. ( Laughs) I think everybody feels pretty good about it. The fact that we were able to go as long as we did, it's such a positive thing that it's hard to look back on it with any negativity. It's just television. Shows get canceled and people move on and you hopefully can see that the glass is half-full and be like, "Wow, that was a great experience." And for me, it totally was.
Ausiello: Did you hear about Project Ferris Wheel?
I did. That was pretty amazing.
Ausiello: I rode the Ferris wheel!
Did you? Mike, no way! That is so cool. I wish I would have been able to make it out. I was stuck in Utah. That was really touching. It just goes to show that our fans really liked our show. Unfortunately, there just weren't enough of them.
Ausiello: I have to ask: Do fans ever come up to you and Emily and go, "No! You guys can't date - you play brother and sister!"
( Laughs) Yeah, we've pretty much gotten used to the response of, " Eww, that's weird. That's creepy." The people who know us are happy, and probably expected it to happen eventually. But yeah, every once in a while we get that one person that's like, "That's really creepy. You just kissed your sister."
Ausiello: Did you two think it was weird in the beginning?
We thought it was weird for [first] six months, but it had more to do with just trying to hide our relationship from the set. I don't know why, and looking back on it, it was foolish. But we were trying to stay secretive and didn't want it to get out there. It never really weirded us out that we played brother and sister, because, you know, it's all fiction.
Ausiello: You mean you're not really brother and sister?
( Laughs) In real life we're actually not! We tried to hide it from everyone that wasn't dear and close to us, and then eventually it just felt very good to kind of just come out with our relationship. "Ah, f--k it. We're together. We love each other, and if you don't like it, you can kiss our ass - our collective brother and sister kissin' ass."
Ausiello: Why did you feel you had to keep it a secret?
Obviously, they can never tell you not to date anybody on set. But it's always looked at as being a bit, "You should be a little apprehensive about getting involved with somebody that you work with." But we weren't apprehensive at all. We just said, "F--k it. Let's just go for it, because it's important to us." But, that being said, other people may have had doubts or suspicions about us being able to last and this and that. Basically, once we get on set, we really just kind of became our characters and left our relationship behind. We would sneak a kiss here and there, but we would try and stay as professional as possible so no one would get uncomfortable. We certainly would never bring any arguments to the set or anything like that.
Ausiello: Any wedding bells in your future?
Man... I think I'd have to... Um... ( Laughs) I've never been able to Ah, shoot, I don't know how to say this without... um... I think Emily and I are very much in love and often people who are very much in love get married. But we're both still young so who knows?