‘Veronica Mars’ Takes the Stage at Dolby Theatre

Veronica Mars Movie

A long time ago, we used to be friends…

Those opening words to the theme song of the fan favorite and acclaimed series Veronica Mars always evokes a lot of emotions from the devoted fans of the three-season long series that made history last year with its Kickstarter campaign to fund a big-screen movie.

In salute to the opening of the much-anticipated film as well as the series, the cast and creative mind behind the series hit the stage at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland in the heart of Hollywood on Thursday, March 13. The panelists included cast members Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Percy Daggs, Ryan Hansen, Enrico Colantoni, Chris Lowell, Tina Majorino and Francis Capra as well as series creator and executive producer Rob Thomas.

Before the moderated panel got underway, the audience was treated to the behind-the-scenes documentary “By the Fans: The Making of Veronica Mars”. This documentary was written and directed by Viet Nyugen, who is a former student of Rob Thomas from his days as a high school teacher, that included interviews with backers, Comic Con attendees, the cast and other creative minds involved in the whole production.

The cast was on stage for well over an hour sharing their memories of the series as well as the making of the movie that has made history; and will, hopefully, perform well enough at the box office that perhaps the studio will consider more Veronica Mars in the future. In fact, more Veronica Mars is already in the works with the first book entitled “The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line” (written by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham) set to be published on March 25 with more on the way as well as a planned online series set to focus on none other than Dick Casablancas himself.

As for the Paley Fest panel, here are the top subjects for which the panelists discussed:

Background on making the film possible – Rob shared that early on Warner Bros. had second thoughts, forcing them to put their plans on hold. But, thankfully one executive at the studio backed them and they were “back in the thick of it”. And when Rob went to Kristen about wanting to do a movie via Kickstarter she thought “perfect” and was on board immediately. Chris even joked that he was surprised that his character Piz was given a place in the movie. “I was ready to accept that I would not be in the film,” he said, further sharing that “to have the opportunity to work with these guys (has been) the greatest thing in the world”.

Kristen was the number one choice for Veronica by Rob – When they were casting for the lead role of Veronica Mars, Rob shared that he saw 100 actresses for the role with Kristen being the first one he saw. Over the course of three to four weeks of auditions, Rob kept thinking, “Was that first girl as brilliant as I thought she was?” And, as we all know by now, yes she was. Rob even elaborated that in the scene where Veronica wakes up the morning after Shelly Pomeroy’s party, finding her underwear on the floor, “I (watched Kristen) from the monitor, and tears start streaming down her face and I (said) ‘Holy sh-t! We have a star!” [Of course, the audience and the rest of the panelist erupted into an exuberant round of applause in agreement!]

Logan and Veronica as a couple was a very unexpected surprise – It was never the intention of Rob or the creative team on the show to pair Logan and Veronica; and that season one kiss that took the fans by complete surprise was took the creative team by surprise too. Rob commented that Jason was hired to play the “obligatory psychotic jackass”; but when they would watch the dailies, it became obvious that “we want to watch that; we want to watch those two onscreen together”.

Wanting to make the fans, especially the Kickstarter backers, happy – Rob and the cast all agreed that it was very important to get the movie right for the fans. Kristen shared that “the fans were (our) main priority because they were how and why this movie was made”. And, when it came to spending time with fans who would visit the set during filming, Kristen said it was “f*cking radical” and that it was a “no-brainer to take the extra time” to come off set to visit and take pictures with them. “It didn’t matter if we didn’t have the time, (the fans were) the priority”.

All too soon the panel had to come to an end with nearly a dozen audience questions being fielded by the panelist followed by a rush of fans hitting the stage to get autographs from their favorites.

‘Veronica Mars’ opened in theatres (and video-on-demand) across the nation on March 14. Join the backers in making this movie successful so that the world can have much, much more Veronica Mars in the future. Oh, what a beautiful, amazing place that would be.

[Photo Credit: Dominick Dusseault]