Best known as The O.C.’s Marissa Cooper, Mischa Barton’s last series was 2009’s ill-fated The Beautiful Life. But a peek at her IMDB page reveals she’s been a lot busier than you might be aware, with recent turns in films like Cyberstalker, as well as the upcoming L.A. Slasher and Zombie Killers: Elephant's Graveyard. Now Variety has announced that Barton has landed the role of blonde icon Jean Harlow in the upcoming (and unfortunately named) biopic By Love Reclaimed.
Before Harlow’s untimely death from kidney failure at the age of 26, she had become a scandalous screen sensation in films like Red-headed Woman, Platinum Blonde, and Libeled Lady. Harlow had also already been married three times and was engaged to her prospective fourth husband, Thin Man star William Powell. By Love Reclaimed—which, honestly, sounds like a romance novel on top of the reject pile at Harlequin—will focus on the scandal surrounding Harlow’s second marriage, to studio exec Paul Bern, who was found dead of a gunshot wound only a few months into their marriage. Although the death was officially ruled a suicide due to a note Bern had left, the story has always been mired in controversy. Some theorists claim that Bern’s note refers not to killing himself but to an unfortunate bedroom incident (read: impotence). Also, a previous Bern paramour also committed suicide by diving off of a steamboat soon after his death, which some say suggested her possible guilt over his murder.
You may be wondering what kind of new details would be available about a suicide case from 1932, and how one would go about procuring such information. The movie is based on the recent book By Love Reclaimed: Jean Harlow Returns To Clear Her Husband's Name by ”modern-day intuitive Valerie Franich and renowned psychiatrist Adrian Finkelstein,” who are both executive-producing the movie. (Finkelstein is also writing the screenplay). The authors say they have examined the case “through the use of hypnotic [past-life] regressions and extensive research,” so there you go. A previous book by Finkelstein, Marilyn Monroe Returns: The Healing of a Soul,claimed that Marilyn Monroe was reincarnated as a Canadian pop singer. (Note: We are not making any of this up.) Mischa Barton has her work cut out for her, to say the least.