Jason Dohring hasn't been resting on his laurels since "Veronica Mars" departed The CW's schedule in 2007, but that doesn't mean he wasn't excited about the opportunity to reprise the role of Logan Echolls, Neptune, CA's resident bad boy, when series creator Rob Thomas used the power of Kickstarter to make a "Veronica Mars" movie.
Dohring started his TV career in the mid-1990s, making one-off appearances on a wide variety of series, including "Baywatch," "Picket Fences," "Roswell," "The Parkers," and "JAG," but it was "Veronica Mars" which gave him as his first series-regular role. After the show wrapped its three-season run, Dohring jumped right back into work, serving as a cast member in CBS's short-lived vampire drama "Moonlight," pulled a recurring role on The CW's "Ringer," and popped up as a guest star on -- among other series -- "CSI," "Lie to Me," and "Supernatural." All the while, however, rumblings continued to echo through the internet about the possibility of bringing back "Veronica Mars."
Now that it's finally become a reality, Dohring's as excited as anyone about the "Veronica Mars" movie hitting theaters after its premiere at SXSW this Saturday, and Indiewire spoke to the actor about the slow process of bringing the series to the big screen, what Logan's been doing since we last saw him, and whether or not those who never watched the show will still find something to love about Veronica's new incarnation.
The idea of doing a "Veronica Mars" movie was teased and talked about for quite some time, but do you recall when you first heard the word “Kickstarter” being kicked around?
The show had ended, we had a great run and knew we’d always stay really good friends. Then [executive producer] Joel Silver called me up and said he wanted to work with me again, so I got to go on a show called "Moonlight." I also got to do some work on an HBO project.
And every so often I'd talk to Rob [Thomas] or see him, and he'd always say, "Be sure to keep your schedule open, it might be six months or a year, but we’re gonna make this movie, man!" And all of us were, like, "That's awesome, Rob. Just let us know." [laughs]
Then the next thing I know, he says, "I'm gonna put it up on Kickstarter." And I hadn't really heard of Kickstarter, but I go, "Okay, that's cool." I happened to be out the day he put it on Kickstarter and had forgotten it was that day, and all of a sudden I started getting these texts from my mother-in-law and from actors I'd worked with previously: "It's going viral!" I couldn't believe it. Kristen [Bell] called me later that night, and she's, like, "Jay, can you believe this?" I didn't know how big a deal it was, but the next day, it's set a world record and it's conquering all this new territory, there's talk about how it's groundbreaking art, and... well, anyway, that's sort of a rundown of how it came into development.
When the series ended, did you contemplate where you thought Logan would've gone next? And if so, did it bear any resemblance to where Rob's taken him in the film?
Well, it's so much later, right? It's 10 years later. We do get some backstory that's pretty cool, some meaningful things that he wound up doing with his life that gave him some direction. He obviously had a very rough life, family and otherwise, and everyone he cares about ends up dying or leaving or breaking up with him -- there's not much left.
So he winds up picking up the pieces, only to find himself the number one murder suspect for his rock star girlfriend -- which is where the film starts -- and he has to enlist Veronica’s help yet again to clear his name.
Knowing that you're probably under explicit orders to avoid spoilers, can you speak at least in general terms to whether there are a fair number of episode callbacks within the film?
You know Rob -- he's notorious for that, throwing in little things. That's what set our fans apart, I always thought. We did the series in our formative years, most of us just out of high school, shooting the show and not knowing if anyone would watch. We were making this thing that we thought was a work of art, the most important thing in the world, so we put our all into it. And even the littlest details were always caught by fans, which was amazing.
Rob writes in such detail, throwing in little things and giving small shout-outs to other shows or films. So the movie's got the same kind of details, callbacks to stories, to things that were cool then or are cool today, and I think the fans will catch or find a lot of those.
Are you obsessive enough about the show yourself that you caught most of the callbacks in the script?
Well, yeah, but, y'know, I had to look up a lot of stuff, too. [laughs]
During the Television Critics Association press tour, the producers of "24: Live Another Day" admitted that they had to check Wikipedia on occasion to see if certain characters were still alive and available for them to use. Before doing the film, did you have to refresh your memory a bit as far as who Logan was and what he’d done?
Oh, for sure. It was quite complicated. I went and watched all the episodes again before we started shooting the film, just to remember stuff, and there were a couple of plot points where I was like, "I don't get that," and had to go back to remember exactly what happened. But the story's geared toward a young, intelligent, computer-savvy generation of people. I think they can catch up if they need to.
As you looked back over the series, were there any moments that made you cringe, or where you saw something you did and just went, "Oh, man, I can't believe I played it that way"?
Yeah -- there's always that. But then you've got the moments that are the opposite, where you're like, "Oh, that was nice," a bit where you know you worked so hard and made it work, and you appreciate it and get a positive feeling. You hate realizing, "Oh, I could've spent more time on that." For the most part, though, it's more that I go back and go, "God, what a dick!" [laughs] "God, I can't believe what an asshole that guy is. I don’t know how people can care for him." He's just so bad! He's so bad. A serious problem with morality. But there's some really interesting stuff in there. The breakups were really interesting. It wasn't just your typical teenage stuff. It was real emotion, man."
Did you feel like there any missteps with the character during the course of the series?
I don't know, man. Not particularly. Why, was there something in particular you were thinking about? [laughs]