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October 9, 2015

Autumn Reeser: The TV Squad Interview

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 18th 2006 10:33AM

Autumn ReeserIt's always a nice change of pace to interview someone and not have it feel like you're doing your job during the conversation. For some, that's a tall order and others make it easy. Autumn Reeser made it too easy. I could have talked to her for hours on end glossing on just about any topic and I'm pretty sure she could have matched me in conversation no problem.

Despite the fact that she had been up doing phone interviews and radio spots since early in the morning, she was still just as bubbly and energetic as ever when she called me last Wednesday morning from California. A welcome surprise since I was just starting to adjust to being awake and had barely downed a cup of coffee when Ms. Reeser called me almost 20 minutes ahead of our scheduled appointment. Now maybe it's just me, but that's impressive. You've got to respect someone who shows up to work early and with the way her career is going, you can tell that phoners and radio interviews aren't the only thing that she's putting effort into. With her recent bump to series regular on FOX's The OC, things are looking mighty bright for Reeser. Also bright? Our conversation, which as I said, was far too easy to be called work.

Jonathan Toomey: Hello?

Autumn Reeser: Hey, Jonathan. It's Autumn Reeser. I'm totally calling you early... I hope you don't mind.

JT: Hey that's fine. I've been sitting at my desk for about half an hour, just having some coffee.

AR: OK, good. Wow... where are you?

JT: I'm actually in New York, so yeah, I'm on the other side of the country.

AR: Oh my god, I got worried, 'cause yeah, here's it only seven.

JT: I mean... you woke me up. How dare you! (slight pause) So how are all the phoners going for you this morning?

AR: (laughing) Good, it's really good. I did a bunch of radio. A radio tour. So yeah it was good. I love doing radio.

JT: OK, so have you been doing a lot of promotion for your new film coming out, Palo Alto?

AR: It's actually, I've been doing a lot of promoting for the new Chrismukkah episode.

(To hear what Autumn had to say about last week's episode of The OC, check this out.)

JT: Well I guess we might as well get all the obligatory OC questions out of the way then. So I mean, the biggest one I have then is how has it been for you transitioning from a minor player on the show to one of the featured cast?

Reeser, with her co-star Adam Brody, in a scene from 'The OC.'AR: Um, I mean, I think it's an actor's dream to have that happen to them. I think that that's the wonderful part. It's been wonderful but it's also been very hard. It's a lot more work than I expected. That's all. It's just a lot of work, but luckily, you know I like to work.

JT: Your expanded role, you know, it happened in the wake of a very popular character's death when Mischa Barton was killed off at the end of last season. So after her exit from the show, I know from fans, there was a lot of outrage. There was a lot of negativity. Did any of that affect how you tackled Taylor's expanded role?

AR: No, but you know I think I'm playing her differently this year than last year for a number of reasons. One, because she's more of a leading character and you need people to follow your character as opposed to when you're playing a smaller part, you know a real side-barred character. Your job is to affect the main characters, is to make things happen in their lives. Whereas when you're one of the main players, you want the audience to follow along with you as things happen to you. So you play them slightly differently. And then it worked out also because Taylor went away to France, went and got married and kind of had a lot of hard things happen to her in her life. So she is different because of that.

JT: So do you think with the way you're playing the role slightly different, as you said, do you think you're winning over those fans that had some negative feelings about the loss of Marissa?

AR: You know, I'm certain there's people who never came back, you know they were so angry they never came back to watching the show. But overall, the fan response seems to be that if you're not coming back to watch then they were never a real fan to begin with. You know, if you were just watching it for one person. So I think the response has been really good from fans actually.

JT: Well speaking of the response, because this is a good segue to this question, has the cast heard anything from FOX regarding the season length? Because we're still sitting at sixteen episodes, ratings have just been kind of so-so, but they're going up even though you're still in the tough match-up with Grey's Anatomy. And FOX even started an online petition to gauge fan's support. So do you think a full season order is on the horizon for the show?

AR: I know we're only doing sixteen this year. I mean they had to tell us because the writers had to able to write a conclusion to the show.

JT: Right, they need to know so they can wrap it up properly.

AR: Exactly, so we're only doing the sixteen and who knows what's going to happen because it's kind of something I have no control over. I'm taking meetings on other things, um, it'd be great if it went another year. But you kind of like have to just let things go how they're going to go. So often it has nothing to do with what you're doing as an actor, you know, because they put us up against Grey's Anatomy which is a tough spot for any show to be in.

JT: But that's something that you're used to rolling with by now. I mean you've been an actor for a while now.

AR: Yeah exactly. I don't really pay attention much to that side of it because it's not something I have control over. I have control over doing the best work I can do and that's it.

JT: Right, so why let it bring you down?

AR: Yeah.

JT: Alright well let's move on here. I know you've developed quite the resume when it comes to sitcoms especially. You've had roles in George Lopez, Grounded for Life, and more recently Complete Savages. So with so much experience in that department, did you find the role of Taylor, when you joined the cast of an hour long drama, to be a challenge?

AR: Yeah it was because I really wanted her to be funny, you know? And she's written funny and to incorporate that to an hour long show is different than doing a sitcom. But I actually really, really enjoy comedy in an hour long format because I like the idea that you can be more subtle with it...

JT: (interrupts) Right, you can stretch it out, play jokes out.

AR: Yeah exactly, I really like it. So the format of the show was kind of my ideal to work on at this point in life in my career. It's exactly what I wanted to do. So I was so happy when it [The OC] came along.

Reeser, in a scene from the indie flick 'Our Very Own.'JT: Now you've been doing indie films lately too. So is film something you prefer over TV? Or is hour long drama what you want to stick with for the time being?

AR: I would love to do more films. I really like the whole process of doing that. I like how close you become to everybody. I've got a film airing this month actually. I think you know about that?

JT: That's Palo Alto right?

AR: Oh no, Palo Alto I shot over the summer and I don't know when that'll get distribution. I have a film airing on Starz called Our Very Own. I shot that about two and a half years ago and it's just a great little small town drama. So that will be on for the next couple of months. We actually got an ensemble acting award for it at the Saratoga Film Festival.

JT: Very cool, congrats. Um, before I forget, I have to ask you another sitcom question that I've been dying to hear about. You had a guest-starring role in the second episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The episode, "Charlie Wants an Abortion," you played a pro-life activist. You got involved with Mac in it. It was absolutely hilarious.

AR: (laughing) Oh thank you.

JT: You're very welcome. Now two seasons of that show are done though. It's known for being edgy. Nothing is really off-limits. But you were a part of it in the very beginning, at that very experimental stage. So what was it like being there, when FX had just given that show a shot?

AR: It was so much fun. I mean those guys created this show, wrote it, are starring in it and it was just suddenly like boom: they are on a set, doing their work. You know what I mean? It was just such a cool experience and they had like no money. So we were all in these like itty-bitty little trailers and I got horribly sick at one point. But it was so much fun because that character is so nutty.

JT: Oh she was crazy and that show is built on such a small budget and what they do with it is just amazing.

AR: It's great. They're such talented guys [Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, and Rob McElhenney] and I loved it.

JT: The scene where you started throwing eggs? It was just fall out of your chair funny.

AR: I was so excited when I read that because I was like, "Oh my god! I'm a scream! This will be great cause she'll be vicious." (laughs)

JT: Are there any other shows on TV that you wouldn't mind guest-starring on or having a one or two episode stint? You know? What are you watching right now that interests you?

AR: Oh my gosh, I would love to guest star on Entourage.

JT: That'd be great.

AR: Totally, I think that would be such a fun show to guest-star on. But it hasn't been on in a while.

JT: To play a fake reality of yourself?

AR: Yeah or I'd rather just play like a character other than myself. I'd rather play, I dunno, some kind of crazy yoga chick. Or a girl who works at The Coffee Bean. What else though... I love Heroes. It's not really a show that you could just, I dunno. They don't have that many guest stars.

JT: And they'd have to come up with a power for you. So you're really into that show?

AR: I like it a lot. I like the guy that plays Hiro [Masi Oka]. He's funny. And Hayden [Panettiere] is brilliant. She's just so compelling to watch.

JT: Agreed. She's a fantastic actress and the whole not being able to get hurt thing? Well that's just fun.

AR: Oh my god, exactly. But yeah, I like that show a lot. Um, but what else. (long pause) I used to watch a lot of reality shows like America's Next Top Model and Top Chef.

Reeser strikes a pose in her recent Maxim spread.JT: Speaking of models, you were recently ranked #57 on the Maxim Hot 100. (Autumn starts to laugh hysterically) You're laughing! Were you surprised by that?

AR: It was just this whole other kind of weird side that's come up to my career, with "Maxim" and "Stuff." It wasn't something that I ever expected because I was always the skinny, kind of awkward girl. It was kind of like I spent all of junior-high being like, "Why don't I have boobs?" I feel like I didn't grow up until I was 25, so I kind of feel like I've hit puberty. (laughs again) It was weird. It was kind of like this whole thing, "Really? Really." Plus I had such a great time doing the photo shoots.

JT: We'll you've certainly been busy. But what about your dog Gatsby when you're doing all this work? I've heard you two are pretty attached and that you've, let me get this straight, thrown him a party?

AR: Yes... I am. He came to work with me yesterday. He's so cute and I just love dogs. I'm such a dog person. I dunno, I just feel like it really enriches your life, to have something to care for.

JT: And the party?

AR: When he turned one, I threw him a doggie birthday party. I invited eight of his doggie friends and it was a Great Gatsby theme. It was called "An Afternoon Lawn Party" and it was all decorated in green and daisies which is very Great Gatsby-esque. The dogs were running around and everyone got a doggie bag (laughs) when they left. It was really fun and I think I'm going to do it again this year.

JT: Here's a question. You hold the distinction of being the person who got murdered in an episode of CSI. What was it like being a dead person? Especially because those shows, all three of the CSIs -- they always looks so realistic. So what was the process you went through to you know, look dead?

AR: It was so cool. I totally took pictures of it. I had three giant stab wounds in my chest. Actually shooting the murder was a lot scarier than I thought it would be. I was so freaked out of my mind the whole next day. Serious. I was really, really disturbed by it. I guess because I had never shot a death scene before.

JT: I remember reading somewhere that you like scrapbooking and have a few pages dedicated to that episode you were in.

AR: I do. I scrapbooked a page. There's pictures of me lying on the autopsy table. My mother is not happy about that. She just passes right by that page.

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Princess Sparkle

The OC has been fantastic this last season. I mean I was so sad that Marissa left but this new thing with Taylor and Ryan has me intrigued. I really want them to be together. And Summer becoming more of a person concerned with what is happening in the world around her is cool too. So yes I love the current season and don't want it to end. I agree with the other people too who said that if you gave up on the oc when marissa left then you aren't really an oc fan your a mischa fan!! The OC rocks with or without Marissa. Also people you have to remember that Mischa Barton wanted to leave the show!!

love to you all...

ps autumn you are totally awesome!!!

January 02 2007 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is sad, because all the teenage kids who adore Micha and her So-So acting and good look's.They will bge the ones posting and petitioning against the show, even though they dont watch it????

Idiots like this dont like how a show goes, and because they have little maturity and cant accept things they dont like they "hate" a show.When to begin with, if a show was exactly like you wanted it to be, youd be bored.

The O.C. Season 4 is by far the BEST yet.Season one was good but didnt have enoug info to work with.As a grown MAN(yes men love the OC too) Its kinda sad that my fav show gets killed by imature kids who have a crush on some flat chested so so actor.


O.C.> everything else on TV

Atleast i had a friends sub for a few years.=*(

December 30 2006 at 6:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Killing her was the best move the show ever made."

i thought the reason she was killed off was that she wanted to leave the show...
i do agree marrisa was the backbone in the past 3 seasons, but i personally dislike her charater. I know she created drama in the story and actually made the show kinda flow, but her terrible acting and the save-me-ryan like every week was a bit much.. cant they do something better than that?
well, despite how annoying she was, thats what sells on telly... Drama drama drama.. and im still watching it.. i guess im just a su*cker for annoying tv drama

btw, i didnt really like Taylor in Season 3, but i have started to grow on her and perhaps she needs to watch what she says

December 29 2006 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"You know, I'm certain there's people who never came back, you know they were so angry they never came back to watching the show. But overall, the fan response seems to be that if you're not coming back to watch then they were never a real fan to begin with. You know, if you were just watching it for one person. So I think the response has been really good from fans actually."

The point a lot of people seem to be missing is that Autumn herself is not questioning what comprises a "real fan", she is saying that what fan response that she has heard seems to be that if you were just watching for one person, you must not be a fan, she's not questioning the fan base at all. I'm sure she's fully aware of the opportunity she's been given being bumped up to a regular, why would she take cheap shots at the fan base? Some people are just looking way too deep into the words themselves and not what and where they are being attributed to. As a fan of the show, personally I couldn't stand the character of Marissa and was happy to see her killed off. Hard to believe the character survived as long as she did before Atwood showed up...

December 27 2006 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't believe I went to the trouble of commenting, but... I didn't know anyone liked Mischa Barton. "She got the show free press" by boozing it up with other celebutards, gee, that's great. She is a terrible actress and dragged down every scene and every actor she had to act with. I would hope people left the show because last season was practically unbearable. I came back to the show because Mischa left and Josh Schwartz came back as the main creative force. He's done a fantastic job, this season has been great, and I think Autumn a fun and fresh addition to the cast.

December 27 2006 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

omg she is so pretty !!! she looks like she should be ranked number 1 not 57 on that hot chart thing !! so yeah i just wanted y say she roxs !!! lol

December 26 2006 at 5:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i love The OC i'm such a fan of this show and i was kind of sad when Mischa Barton was killed off but i think this new season is great i actually think it's gone better..i love that taylor has a larger role and i love the role of willa rowland too. i thought the oc wouldn't as good as before but i really think it's better.. i love the oc 4e and ever!

December 24 2006 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

FUCK MARISSA, im glad boney face is gone, too bad she didnt die for real.

December 23 2006 at 11:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For those of you that think that the ratings for this season reflect the actual entertainment of the show, you are sorely mistaken. This season is far superior to that of two and three; the first season is, of course, still the best, but I wouldn't put it past Schwartz to make this one even better. As a character, Marissa weighed down the potential of every other character; now, the promise for more character involvement is shining through, and a spread of storylines is realistic instead of focusing on one delusional bitch in Marissa.

December 22 2006 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pete Fetzer

I enjoyed your interview with Autumn Reeser,she is gorgeous,much prettier than Mischa,and she doesn't look anorexic like Misha did. I am really happy that she is getting together with Ryan. They make a much better match than Ryan and Misha,she was such a downer.

December 21 2006 at 8:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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