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Rachel Bilson Recreates Summer Roberts in 2024: ‘The O.C.’ Character Would Be an Obsessive Swiftie (Exclusive)

2024, ew? After bringing back Summer Roberts for a new campaign with The O.C ‘s Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, Rachel Bilson took things a step further with Us — breaking down the trends and pop culture that Summer would be into two decades after she was introduced on the iconic drama. (Spoiler alert: Summer is a Swiftie who is on Bennifer watch.)

“I always say I would do anything with Josh and Steph if they asked me. So when Josh approached me with this, I was like, ‘Are you kidding? Absolutely.’ And the timing of it is so amazing because it is 21 years [since The O.C. premiered] and it’s 21Seeds. It could not come at a better time,” Bilson told Us Weekly about appearing in three ads for the cocktail brand, which are filled with references to the teen drama.

“It was so weird how easy it was to step back into Summer’s shoes, so to speak. It felt really good. It was really fun and it didn’t feel like any time had passed, which is super bizarre,” the actress explained.

Speaking of Summer’s shoes — would the fashionable teen character be more into the return of the ballet flat or the Mary Jane in 2024? “My natural [response is] I’m like, ‘Oh, Mary Jane’s. But I feel like Summer would be more into ballet than Mary Jane,” Bilson told Us.

After confirming Summer would be on TikTok — “Absolutely!” — Bilson named Rhode Beauty as the celebrity brand the character would be using in the present day. “She would love Hailey Bieber’s line. I feel like she [still] really likes to stay on trend,” she noted.

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Fans of The O.C., which ran for four seasons on Fox from 2003 to 2007, may remember Summer’s favorite TV show was called The Valley — and yes, Bilson has heard that Bravo now has a reality show by the same name.

“I haven’t seen it, but it’s really funny because I grew up in the Valley, so when you say The Valley, I know it was on The O.C., obviously, it’s Summer’s favorite show, but also that was a play on [my life] because Josh liked to bring real life stuff into the show — hence Summer loving Golden Girls, The Valley, like, those were paralleled with myself,” she said. “But yeah, I’ve heard of The Valley and I heard it’s really good.” (Bravo’s The Valley stars Vanderpump Rules alums Jax Taylor, Brittany Cartwright, Kristen Doute and their friends attempting to navigate adulthood.)

Bilson believes Summer would be watching Bravo. “I feel like she’s probably obsessed with the Real Housewives,” she told Us. “But then she likes to get serious, you know, and she’s [watching] Baby Reindeer.”

Like the rest of Us, Summer would “of course” ship Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. “Summer’s obsessed with Taylor. She totally took the kids and their friends to her concert. She tried to throw a bracelet at Taylor with her number on it to be best friends. I mean all of it,” Bilson said.

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Summer is also keeping up to date with the latest on Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s marriage woes like it’s 2003 all over again. “She’s definitely all up in it and Bennifer was a big deal when The O.C. was on, so she’s totally invested,” Bilson recalled. “Actually, myself and Adam Brody dressed up as Bennifer for Halloween for the first or second season we did the show.”

Brody, who played Seth Cohen on the show, and Bilson dated IRL for the majority of the show’s run. While their character, Seth and Summer, tied the knot in the finale, the actors went their separate ways. But what would a Bennifer costume look like in 2024? Bilson joked that Brody would probably ditch the “Daredevil figurine” to portray Affleck now.

Getting to the inevitable, natural follow-up question, did bringing Summer back via 21Seeds (and rewatching the show on the “Welcome to The O.C., Bitches” podcast with costar Melinda Clark) make Bilson ready to sign on for a reboot?

“You watch it and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, this is like a magical time.’ It was an amazing thing and people are still discovering it or rediscovering it. So it’s like, how do you touch something like that and go back?” she wondered.

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The O.C. also starred Ben Mckenzie, Mischa Barton, Peter Gallagher and Kelly Rowan. “But then talking to everybody and being around everybody, it’s like, ‘Oh, but we had such a great time together, how cool would it be to be able to do it again?’ So I go back and forth — do you touch it? Do you leave it?” Bilson continued. “I mean, I would be up for anything. Let’s just put it that way.”

When asked about a story line she felt like the show missed out on at the time, Bilson’s answer might surprise you. “There should have been a musical. I just feel like that goes without saying and that should happen in every show. And I feel like that’s what was missing,” she said. “I need to talk to Josh and Stephanie about this. I’m thinking we do our own version of The Bait Shop and, like ,what goes down there, but we sing the really cool indie songs at the time.”

For now, fans will have to get their fix by enjoying the 21Seeds ads and sipping on Bilson’s favorite: the Cucumber Jalapeno Tequila. “It makes a really good spicy marg. You just have to add soda, water, and lime if you want and it’s done. So for me, first of all, not having the time, second of all, not being able to make any kind of cocktail, it made my life easy, enjoying something just so good this summer,” Bilson said, “And the campaign’s really fun. And we do get to see Summer again even if it’s brief. It was a really good time.”

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