The Veronica Mars movie opens in theaters today. Series creator Rob Thomas and the cast of the film have been criss-crossing the country for the past week, attending premieres and doing press for the film. Last night they kicked off the Paley Center for Media's annual PaleyFest celebration at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles with a screening of the documentary By The Fans: The Making of the Veronica Mars Movie, followed by a Q&A with the cast.
Moderated by HitFix's Alan Sepinwall, the panel was filled with lots of laughs and memories from the cast about the making of both the series and the movie. The panel featured Thomas, series stars Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls), Enrico Colantoni (Keith Mars), Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas), Chris Lowell (Stosh "Piz" Piznarski), Francis Capra (Eli "Weevil" Navarro), Percy Daggs III (Wallace Fennel), and Tina Majorino (Cindy "Mac" MacKenzie).
It was pretty obvious we were in for a treat when the first thing Thomas did after stepping on stage was thank Adele Dazeem. But if you couldn't attend or weren't able to live-stream the panel, that's okay, because I've compiled some of the best moments and stories from the event!
On casting the role of Veronica:
100 young actresses came in to read for the part, but Bell was the first one Thomas saw. "When you're casting 20-year-old hot girl, you see a lot of bad actors," joked Thomas. But Bell stood out to him, and he cited the scene in the pilot where Veronica realized she'd been raped as the moment he knew they'd made the right choice. “I’m watching her from the monitor, and tears start streaming down her face, and I’m just like, 'Holy shit! We have a star!'"
On Logan and Veronica's epic romance:
"The truth is, we never had any intention at all for Logan to end up with Veronica,” said Thomas. "[Dohring] was hired to be the obligatory psychotic jackass. In the writers' room, sitting around watching dailies, we would all gather around, and it was like, 'We want to watch that. We want to watch those two onscreen together.'"
On knowing who killed Lily:
The cast didn't know who murdered Lily during the filming of Season 1, but Thomas said that he always knew it would be Harry Hamlin's Aaron Echolls. Unfortunately, it almost didn't happen because Hamlin had booked a movie in Australia which conflicted with the filming of the Season 1 finale, but he decided to turn it down in order to stick with the show. (We're now all in Harry Hamlin's debt. Think about that for a second.) Before the big reveal, however, Capra thought it might have been Weevil, while Daggs said that Bell "wouldn’t tell you if she knew who did it, but she would definitely shoot down what you think."
On the longevity of Dick Casablancas:
Fans often wonder why Veronica tolerated Dick for so long despite all of the horrible things he'd done and said to her over the years, and Thomas admitted that Dick continued to be written into stories because everyone loved Ryan Hansen.
On the long journey to making the film:
The Kickstarter video was filmed in early 2012 with the intent of launching the campaign that same year, but Warner Bros. executives backed out at the last second. Thomas then toyed with the idea of leaking the video online to rally fans and drive up interest, but before he could do it, Warner Bros. came back around. During that time, though, Bell, Hansen, Dohring, and Colantoni couldn't tell anyone about the possibility of the movie, which even meant lying to their former castmates like Capra, who often talked to Dohring about making a movie.
On the film's original plot:
The cast is very cognizant of the fact that the film would not have been made without the money donated by the fans, and Thomas said that once he knew it'd be financed that way, his original idea, which involved Veronica as an FBI agent, would no longer work. "I sort of abandoned that FBI idea and tried to find a plot to get back to all the characters we know and love," said Thomas. "Because if the fans are going to pay for a movie, I want them to see the characters they love."
On Piz's involvement in the film:
It's no secret there's an intense shipping battle playing out in the hearts of Veronica Mars fans, and Lowell's character Piz often comes out the loser. After joking about calling Thomas to make sure he didn't have to donate $10,000 just to be in the movie, Lowell confessed he really thought he wouldn't be asked to return. "Honestly... I legitimately had come to a place where I was ready to accept that I would not be in the film," he said. "But then Rob sent me this email saying, 'Hey, by the way, I think we’re gonna make this film. There’s actually a role for Piz.' I’m thinking, 'He gets killed. He’s the victim.' He’s like, 'No, it’s actually a substantial part.'"
On the possibility of seeing Duncan again:
Duncan (Teddy Dunn), who fled the country with his daughter Lily in the middle of Season 2, does not appear in the movie, but Thomas said that if they'd had the time and money he would've included a clip involving Duncan and Lily in the credits. He joked that it just didn't make sense to have Duncan in the film. "[He] couldn't just show up to the reunion and be like, 'Hey I kidnapped a baby and ran across the country. How have you been?'" Somewhere in America, Teddy Dunn is sooooo pissed right now.
On the series returning to TV or Netflix with all-new episodes:
When asked by a fan about the possibility of the series returning to TV in some format, Thomas said that he'd love that. He said he'd also love to be able to do an R-rated version of Veronica Mars, given the series' noir background and the fact that Veronica is an adult now. As for more movies, "we always think we could be a successful low-budget Bond franchise," Thomas joked.
AIRED ON 5/22/2007
Season 3 : Episode 20