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The OC star joins the cast of Neighbours: 'Beyond excited'

Mischa Barton is heading to Australia.

Neighbours began filming on Monday this week, after the iconic Aussie soap was saved by Fremantle’s new partnership with Amazon. While many of the core cast members were blindsided by the return announcement, including Georgia Stone (Mackenzie Hargreaves), Matty Wilson (Aaron Brennan) and Takaya Honda (David Tanaka), the soap has snagged a major Hollywood actress to add some star power.

Mischa Barton, who shot to fame as Marissa Cooper in teen drama The OC, will be arriving in Erinsborough as guest character Reece. The US star is playing an American character with a secret, joining returning actors such as Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy) and Alan Fletcher (Dr Karl Kennedy) on Ramsay Street.

Rachel Bilson, Adam Brody, Mischa Barton and Ben McKenzie
Neighbours has landed The OC's Mischa Barton as a guest star. Photo: Getty

The star was quick to share her love for Australia with fans, teasing that her character will be an interesting addition.

“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!” she said.

“I think the character of Reece is going to be a great role for me to explore and play with.”

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At this stage, information about Mischa’s role has been kept largely under wraps, but executive producer Jason Herbison says that her presence will elevate the show.

“We are beyond excited to have an actor of Mischa’s calibre join us for the beginning of this exciting new chapter. Mischa’s character is dynamic and unpredictable, and will have an instant presence on Ramsay Street. Our loyal viewers are going to love her, locally and abroad,” he added.

Neighbours cast on day one of filming
Neighbours began filming on Monday. Photo: Supplied

When the show announced Mischa’s casting on social media, fans were stunned by the major news.

“Pulling out all the stops! Loving the announcements. We want more!” one fan exclaimed.

“So excited for all the news updates. I have a feeling Neighbours is going to be back bigger than ever. The soap everyone will want to be on,” another added.

“Ummm what?!!! Omg bringing the star power,” a third chimed in.

“Wow!! I didn’t expect this new casting,” another wrote.

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April Rose Pengilly, who plays Chloe Brennan on the soap, also shared her excitement.

“So excitedddddd,” she commented, before sharing the post to her Instagram story.

The soap’s new deal with Amazon gives the show potential to reach even more viewers. For Aussies, the show will continue to air on Channel 10, but will be available to stream on Prime Video a week after being released. The show's launch date is still unknown, but it is believed to be happening later this year.

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