As street-tough Chino transplant Ryan on "The O.C.," Benjamin McKenzie has shot his fair share of fight scenes. So could he be headed toward a career as an action star?
"Yeah ... maybe a buddy cop movie with me and Adam Brody," the actor said, smiling. "We'll see about that."
Brody, who plays Ryan's best friend Seth Cohen on the hit FOX series, would have to see if he can fit that into his schedule.
After "The O.C." finishes filming its second season next week, Brody will join up with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," about husband-and-wife assassins who are hired to kill each other. "Swingers" and "The Bourne Identity" director Doug Liman, who executive produces "The O.C.," is directing the movie.
So far Brody is the only "O.C." kid to line up a project for the off-season, although his co-stars are hot on his heels.
"I have a few things that may or may not come together, but nothing definite," McKenzie said. "I think the challenge for me is to sort of distinguish myself as an actor, not just the character on the show, to show that I have some range, that I can do other parts. And I want to work with directors, writers, producers that I've always wanted to work with. There's a lot of easy choices to make, yet those usually aren't the right ones. So it's better to sort of just wait for the right project to come along."
Mischa Barton, who plays (literally) the girl next-door, Marissa (see "Mischa Barton Of 'The O.C.': 17 Going On Famous"), and Rachel Bilson, who plays Seth's girlfriend, Summer, are taking similar approaches as they read scripts.
"Not anything like teeny bopper," Bilson said of the kinds of projects she'd be open to. "Something like a cool independent drama."
"I actually want to try something that's completely different from my character on the show, which is why it's been such a challenge to actually commit to a role this summer," said Barton, who had a small role in "The Sixth Sense." "I love to work, but after you do so much work in a season like this, you definitely want the next role to be something different."
Barton said she might do a couple of supporting roles instead, but whatever happens, she promised not to meander from acting.
"I can [sing], but you're not gonna see an album anytime soon," she said. "I'm not switching over, that's for sure."
As for what's in store on "The O.C.," Barton said the season ends on a huge cliffhanger.
"It definitely ties together everything that's been happening the whole season and it's a throwback to the pilot," she said. "So much stuff that starts in the pilot is brought up again."
McKenzie explained, "Basically Ryan's gonna face a decision that's gonna call into question everything that he's learned and all the people that he's met in the O.C. in the last year. His past life is drawn into conflict with his present life. He's got to decide whether he's gonna stay in the O.C. or whether he's gonna return home."