Chris Pine Opens Up About Missing The O.C. Role Over "Bad Acne"

Exploring the Unseen Hurdles of Hollywood Casting Decisions.

by Nouman Rasool
Chris Pine Opens Up About Missing The O.C. Role Over "Bad Acne"
© Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Chris Pine has revealed his moment of truth early on in his career on Josh Horowitz's "Happy Sad Confused" podcast. The actor was about to land the role of Ryan Atwood on the iconic teenage drama series "The O.C.," acting alongside Mischa Barton, just over 20 years ago.

However, a personal issue ultimately cost him the part: his struggle with severe acne. At the time of "The O.C." premiere on FOX, Pine was just 23 years old and fresh out of college—an age when physical appearance can heavily influence casting decisions in Hollywood, especially for shows targeting a youthful demographic.

Pine reflected on how his skin condition didn't align with the show’s aesthetic, which he described as centered around "pretty people doing pretty things." His bad skin, he remembered, was "emotionally crippling" and provided a huge impediment to landing parts cast for perfect teen idols.

Though he considered it a setback, Pine used this experience to reach out to others who suffer from acne, empathizing and encouraging them. "I get you. I hear you. I've been there," he said to those currently suffering from acne.

"I know how depressing it can be and the depths of sorrow it can drag you to. But there is a brighter day."

Pine's Casting Challenges

These details of Pine's audition and his struggle to be cast also appeared in Alan Sepinwall's 2023 book "Welcome to the O.C.: The Oral History." Casting director Patrick Rush told Sepinwall that, while Pine did an audition that was very impressive, his acne was so bad at the time that he thought it was "insurmountable." Rush was also deeply sympathetic to Pine's plight and noted that making the decision was hard on an emotional level but that Pine's current career success is proof that he was a resilient and talented performer.

Although Pine did not land the role, which instead went to Ben McKenzie, the career of the young actor didn't bear the consequence. He debuted on the screen in an episode of "E.R." in 2003, the same year of the premiere of "The O.C." His success waited him pretty soon when he was already offered the role of Nicholas Devereaux in "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" with Anne Hathaway.

Today, Pine continues to widen his scope, having just recently taken a directorial role with his new film, "Poolman."