Jason Dohring Talks VERONICA MARS Movie, Following the Show from Television to Film, Interactions with Fans of All Ages, and More

     February 23, 2014


As far as epic television couples go, you can’t get much more tortured and star-crossed than Veronica Mars’ Veronica (Kristen Bell) and Logan (Jason Dohring). While their romance did only occur during their later high school and early college years, the two definitely saw their fair share of obstacles: murder, court trials, a different alleged murder, deaths of friends, kidnapping, and a medley of other fun things. Still though, their deep and heartbreaking romance was one the center pieces of the series, and will hopefully continue to be so in the upcoming movie. If the trailer could be any indication, it looks like some sparks could definitely still be flying between them, despite their time apart.

Dohring was more than willing to spill about Veronica and Logan’s relationship during our recent set visit, but he did leave a little mystery as to whether or not they walk off into the Neptune sunset together. Also up for discussion were his feelings on how Logan has changed in the ten years since the series left off, working with the Kickstarter backers on set, and how he prepared for a pivotal fight scene in the movie. Hit the jump for more.

veronica-mars-posterFrancis [Capra] has been telling us rehearsal is very important to you.

JASON DOHRING:  Oh yeah, well, you get to figure it out.  On TV you don’t get a lot of time.  You work it out, then they light it for twenty minutes, and then you shoot it, and it’s on film forever, you know?

Has your preparation been similar for doing the film as it was with the show?

DOHRING:  Yeah.  I watched all the episodes through to find out where you with each character and stuff like that, and there’s also some thing you’ll find out in the script, like what they’ve done for the last seven to ten years that influenced that character.

Can you talk at all about where Logan is when the movie picks up, or how he’s changed or not changed?

DOHRING:  He’s definitely more disciplined in his life, which is cool, because I don’t think he could sustain being a good track for very long, and he winds up in a good place when it starts, and then he goes to a bad place, obviously, because it’s a movie and then he meets up with Veronica for a case, and they work together to see if they can get his life straightened out.

How is the dynamic between Veronica and Logan now?

DOHRING:  It’s cool.  When the show starts out, they’re not together.  They haven’t talked or whatever in nine years.  So it’s a bit rough, and I think despite his trying to reach out to her, she hasn’t been very receptive necessarily, because of the way things ended in season three, and how it’s all done, as far as she’s considered.  In season three she says, “That’s it.” That’s where we are, and we have to rebuild from there.

At the end of season three, it’s shown that Logan still does have feelings for Veronica.  I mean, obviously he those inside, but is that continued that continued throughout these ten years, or has he moved on?

DOHRING:  Both of them have obviously moved on in their own ways, but I think when you have that kind of hard relationship, it always stays.  And whenever I even look at Kristen [Bell], I just start feeling that way.

How is Rob [Thomas] as a director?

DOHRING:  Fucking horrible.  Let’s be honest here.

veronica-mars-kristen-bellDoes he let you have input and collaborate?

DOHRING:  Yeah, totally.  Anything you want, you can always run by him.  He’s a really cool cat.  I guess he also knows, because he wrote everything, so he’s spent weeks in preparation, so he knows exactly what each shot is, and what he wants it to look like, and we do our best to try to surprise him whenever we can.  But he’s obviously very responsive, and anything that adds to making the finished product better, he’s all for.  He’s very particular also.  Like, I remember he wasn’t on set all the time when we were shooting the show, and I’d get these calls — I think I got two in the whole three years — but where he’s like, “How could you possibly do that?”  Not to me, but there was this scene where my sister Trina and I, she goes to bop me on the nose, and I go, “Don’t do that.”  He’s like, “Why would you slap her hand away?  I didn’t write that.”  But out of all the actor things, you have to make it you, you know what I mean?  So for every thousand things I did, there was a couple he was questionable on, but we’ve worked our things out.

How necessary is it for you to go over the nine years, even if we didn’t see them?

DOHRING:  You don’t go through all the nine years, because that would take you a while to get into.  We didn’t have that long to get ready for the film or whatever it was, but the script provided some kind of clue, and then you could do a little bit of research and start to get the idea of what discipline would be like and how he’d carry himself maybe a little differently now than a teenage guy, who was a scrappy, fight-y guy.  So I think there’s maybe more confidence, a little more maturity to start out, but with that in mind, you still have to be that character who’s vulnerable.  So you have to join the two in a way that’s still the guy, but you can’t be fake about it, with the experiences he’s been through in the last ten years.

Has he gotten more mature?

DOHRING:  Yeah, for sure. I think you’ll see that well rounded– but I think with guys like that, which is what’s cool, is they’re very volatile.  And then he’s off!  Any formal training is all out the window as soon as somebody steps in the fray with him.

Rob was saying you get a lot of people from over the seasons for this movie.  Who would you say you’re the most excited was able to come back, even just for a little cameo?

DOHRING:  Even regulars too?

Yeah, any of you guys.  Who do you love the most?

DOHRING:  Who do I love the most?  It’s a tie between my boys.  But like I said, when I see Kristen, I’m just in love with her as a person.  I think she’s amazing.  I don’t know.  When I just do scenes with her — you know, I just love to work with her, and I think that’s what comes through as Veronica/Logan, is just us having a good scene.

veronica-mars-jason-dohring-kristen-bell-1Is there hope for more love (LoVe) in the future?

DOHRING:  You know, that’s what the backers paid to see.  I’d hate to see what they do if that’s not the case.  But again, Rob doesn’t write everything real cut and dry, so it’s not like it’s all well and good in the end, but I think that people will be happy.  He didn’t want to make a movie that’s just beautiful and ties up nicely, which is what’s cool about the show.  No other youth show had that dark aspect of it, which I think was interesting and compelling.

Can you compare the different places that Veronica and Logan are at right now emotionally?

DOHRING:  Gosh.  Well, they always got in trouble when they were together, so maybe spending some time away was good, but I think he just found more discipline in his life.  And she was always very high powered and capable, and she’s in law school, and we pick up with her just graduated.  She would do well.  My guy’s off the rails.

How does the Kickstarter aspect of this affect your perspective?

DOHRING:  It’s cool.  Well, we have guys on set. Like, we had 20 guys yesterday, and 30 today.  And it’s great, because there’s extras that are from Los Angeles that wouldn’t give you the time of day, and there’s guys that are just staring at you, so you’re like, “Okay, that’s a backer.  We can talk to those guys for a bit.”  I don’t know if you guys have ever been on a set, but when the background has to cheer or something like that, or at a reunion everybody claps and it’s stuff like that — and it’s usually like, “Background, come on.  Look alive out there.”  But this one, everybody’s just like, “Yeah!”  It’s crazy.

Rob, beyond season three, has been developing the future of Veronica Mars.  First there was the FBI idea, and he’s been trying also the movie, with some pitfalls along the way.  It’s finally happening.  How in the loop were you along the path of doing this?

DOHRING:  He kept us in the loop.  He’s always creating with this story.  When you talk to him, you can tell he’s really excited about it.  Just him explaining the first ten pages of this script to me is wonderful.  I mean, ‘cause he’s a big guy, he played football.  So you don’t think he’d be sitting at a typewriter and pounding out a script.  But he’s all excited, and it’s cool.

Are you in this fight scene coming?

DOHRING:  Yeah, of course.  If there’s a fight scene, this guy’s included.  He’s in the middle of that.

veronica-mars-jason-dohring-kristen-bell-2Did you get in a fight at your own reunion?

DOHRING:  No.  I’ve never been in a fight, proper.  I’ve been hit a couple times, just by a friend who was very upset or push and pull.  But it’s scary, man.  I was watching some fights leading up to this, ‘cause you see acting fights, and then you see a real fight, and you’re like, “Dude, that’s different. That’s ugly.”  Like, there’s a lot of uncertainty, and in Hollywood it’s just like you hit me, I hit you.  It’s scrappy, you could wind up on the ground, there’s a lot of misses — and I think we’re gonna have something closer to that in the scene we’re gonna film.

What instigates this fight?  Is there anything you’re allowed to say?

DOHRING:  I can’t tell you that!  There’s some mistreatment of Veronica.  That’s not acceptable, etcetera.

Do you have a favorite fan encounter from over the years?

DOHRING:  Let’s see.  I’ve had people make me some cool stuff, like a pirate treasure chest with items in it from quotes in the film. Like, “Do you have a pen that writes with invisible ink?”  And they put one in there, and they put other items that were related to the show.  I guess just even having older fans and stuff — there’s younger ones, but you’ll get a 70 year old woman that’ll be like, “I used to hate you, but now I don’t.”  Okay, cool.  It’s cool that people get so invested in the show, ‘cause they do.

Do you find that when the show was on, the fans appeared to change as the character changed?

DOHRING:  Oh, for sure, yeah.  He started off as an antagonist jackass, you know.  And that’s what I’m saying.  That came when we started seeing his father take the belt to him.  That was when sympathy started to abound, and it was good for me, because I was getting some hate mail.

Can you talk us through the day the Kickstarter campaign launched? 

DOHRING:  Yeah, I wasn’t near my computer, so it’s maybe not as exciting for me, but I got texts saying it launched, and I was like, “Oh cool, that’s nice.”  And then the next text was, “It’s going viral.”  I was like, “Uh, what does that mean?”  And then it was we’re at $750,000 dollars at one o’clock, and 2 million blew me away, and 5.7 is ridiculous.  That’s insane?  Why wouldn’t they stop at 2?  That’s what I didn’t get.  Like, guys, we’re gonna make it anyway.

They wanted the car crash.

DOHRING:  Yeah, right, exactly.  We wanted to shoot in LA.

Knowing how passionate this fanbase is, were you surprised that Kickstarter did as well as it did as quickly as it did?

veronica-mars-kristen-bell-jason-dohringDOHRING:  I guess I thought we had a pretty good audience, but I honestly think we have a bigger audience now that the DVDs have come out, and word of mouth and that sort of thing, because we weren’t on the biggest of TV stations starting out.  There couldn’t have been that many people watching us, so having 90,000 people willing to kick in is pretty cool.  It’s a part of something special.  It’s an opportunity I’ll probably never have again, and very few people have, where you get that fan interaction, and also to redo a project that was so near and dear.

Is there any TV show or film you wish could have gotten this treatment?

DOHRING:  That’s gone?  That’s a good question.  I know Rob’s a big Freaks and Geeks guy.  I don’t know.  I guess I liked Deadwood pretty good.  I liked the rawness of that, the language and the whole place they created.  I mean, a town full of outlaws?  That’s right up my alley.  I like to fight.

Is this film works, are you open to more movies?

DOHRING:  Of Veronica?  I guess you’d have to ask Rob that.  I don’t know what his plans are.  We could probably continue to enlist the support of our fans to do so.  We’re fortunate, I really feel that way.

Veronica Mars is set to premiere at the SXSW Film Festival and will open in select theaters on March 14th.

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