Well, Marshmallows, we did it. Yes you, the fans of the sleeper hit TV show Veronica Mars that ran on UPN/The CW from 2004 to 2007, managed to do the impossible. You demanded that a movie be made almost seven years after the show went off the air. Then you superseded the expectations of creator Rob Thomas and of course the cast that included Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Chris Lowell, Ryan Hansen and more by donating money in droves to their Kickstarter campaign to get the film funded. The goal of raising $2 million dollars in 30 days was met in eleven hours! And now the Veronica Mars movie is almost here—we finally get to go back to Neptune on March 14th!
We don’t know much about the movie plot but we do know it takes place 10 years after the show ended. Veronica is a lawyer in New York City and living with—spoiler alert—boyfriend Piz! All seems well until she gets a call from her tortured and misunderstood ex-boyfriend, Logan Echolls. His pop star girlfriend has been murdered. Logan is the main suspect and of course Veronica is the only one who can help him.
In this special two-part interview, we sat down with Logan himself, the one and only Jason Dohring, to find out everything we could about going back to Neptune, slipping into the role of Logan after so much time, his pitch perfect chemistry with Kristen and everything he remembers and learned from the TV set that he brought to the movie set.
In part one, we dig deep on filming the original series—Jason reveals everything from getting the role, turning Logan from unlikable and spoiled to complicated and sensitive, how he and Kristen responded when they found out that arch enemies Logan and Veronica were going to get together and so much more. . . get ready and listen in!
OK!: Let’s go back to season one of Veronica Mars. That was one of the most addictive and intense seasons of any show—ever. The reveal of who killed Lilly Kane was insane. Did you ever see that coming?
Jason Dohring: I don’t think we even knew until the episode was about to come out in the script. They didn’t tell us anything. We’re you know, setting up this whole season and I have no idea. We’re just cruising along and talk about drama man!
OK!: What was your relationship with Logan Echolls? What was it like getting into that character?
JD: Logan was probably my dream role. To come out of the gates with it was unreal. I had been sitting in so many acting classes and working on hard characters. Then, this thing came along and you get to play the asshole, jerk, love interest . . . it’s so complex. The fans responded so vehemently against Logan at the start and then started warming up to him. It was a cool transition for me to experience and see how fans appreciate a character in different stages. Obviously I wasn’t the most loved in the beginning, but through Rob Thomas’ writing and making me look good along the way—he was able to come up with the other side of Logan that people started to take towards.
OK!: Did you ever think Veronica and Logan would get together?
JD: Not at all. When they told us, ‘You guys are going to get together around season 2.’ We were like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ There was no way. Logan and Veronica are violent enemies. They are like, ‘It’s too good to pass up, guys. We’re going to start warming you up. In episode eight, you’re going to do it.’ I think that was another moment people loved.
OK!: You and Kristen Bell have such great chemistry. Did you have to work towards that or did it come naturally?
JD: It was different in the beginning of the show than when it was when we finally got together. In the beginning of the show, I had a couple of secrets that I would put on her in scenes—like [I knew] Logan was the one who raped her. I would play that and there is something about secrets in acting. It’s almost better than when it’s written.
OK!: Because you feel like it’s your secret, too?
JD: Yeah, or something that I can work with. I can look at you and directly put this idea on you and the other actors are like, ‘Oh my god. What is happening?’ It looks cool. I just really always had butterflies in my stomach when I had a scene with Kristen. I don’t know why I got excited. All my scenes I got excited about. But those in particular—there is energy that was present and people picked it up and I just rolled with it. I told Kristen, ‘This is awesome. I don’t know if this happens with every actor you work with, but it definitely happened here.’
OK!; Did Kristen feel the same way about you?
JD: I don’t know. Probably not. I would have to ask her. It was a joy to work with her. She was also working very long hours, 15 hour days. It probably was more fun for me to be able to have a couple days off a week and hang out and just go in for my scenes. She was running the show. She was first on the call sheet, and I’m sure she had other responsibilities to look out for as well.
OK!: One thing Logan was known for was his intelligent and unexpected voice mail messages. Did you have anything to do with what they said?
JD: It’s funny. I just signed autographs for people who donated to the Kickstarter campaign. We wrote personal messages and a few of them were like, ‘Write your own inspirational message—you pick one Jason.’ They sum me up so well with the writing and this character. I couldn’t have asked for anything more sarcastically biting and charming and loose and angry and free and all kinds of crazy stuff. Thank goodness they gave me three years to have a go at it.
OK!: Do you relate to Logan at all? Did you have any say in how his character developed?
JD: I am a private school kid from Los Angeles. I had no idea. I always used to play the good guy. You know, and then I one day I was like, ‘I’m going to learn how to be a bad guy.’ I took this monologue from Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? It’s an old play that Al Pacino did on Broadway. There is this heroin addict—I was so far from a heroin addict—who steals this man’s accordion on the side of the street so he can finance his drug run. I went up to the corner at this dirt parking lot by my house. I worked on this thing so hard. I would take these heavy rocks and throw them down. I think one time a bird made a noise and I was like, ‘What!?!’ And I got it. I was like, ‘Holy shit! I got what it’s like to be hateful.’ I took all that, which I thought I then understood, and had a little more fun with it. That was Logan. It was so opportune for the Veronica Mars audition to come along at that time because it was like, ‘I got it, you know?’ My one note was always, ‘Have more fun!’ I would get into it. Through the whole pilot, I remember Mark Piznarski, our director, kept saying it to me. ‘It’s great kid. Just keep having fun.’
OK!: Do you have a favorite scene from the TV show?
JD: There were a couple fun episodes. “Echolls Family Christmas” was one when I saw it originally, I thought we were getting canceled because I thought they were the worst episodes. I don’t know why. In retrospect, it was actually really good. I liked when we would go to detention together, playing cards. That stand off where the principal makes us wash his car. I liked to talk acting with Richard Grieco who was on the show. He was on 21 Jump Street. Every time I get to work with one of those guys on our show like him, I just enjoyed asking them questions and find out about acting. They all have different answers and things they have learned over the years. I just like to talk to people who have been doing it a while. I love to get the details. I love to learn from the best.
OK!: What did you miss the most about Logan?
JD: The richness of the role. Being able to play so volatile a guy. One scene, one episode, to have the highs. I got to play happy. I got to play drunk with Max Greenfield. We did a Risky Business episode. I was Tom Cruise. We had so much fun. I was laughing my ass off. Again, a secret. I put something on Max that made me f&*^ing crack up. Every time he would look at me and say, ‘What the f*&% are you doing?’That would make me roar even more. I think I put a secret on both of them—Chris Lowell and him. It really got me going. You don’t get to do that with every character. I think I missed having the vehicle to go up and down in the volatile way that Logan was written to do.
OK!: Did you take any souvenirs from the TV set?
JD: Oh, no. Gosh, I didn’t. I should have taken that Pukka shell necklace. That was the guy. It was season one. Beach guy. I didn’t really take anything from set. There were a couple jackets I really liked, but I think they wound up in a museum somewhere for a Veronica Mars exhibit. I’ve collected treasured fan items that people gave me over the years.
OK!: What’s one of the most unique or interesting?
JD: Just like shirts that say ‘Team Logan’ on the back. Or a trophy that says ‘Endurance’ which was a reference to a code word I had on the show. Or you know, like a little award for ‘Most Sympathetic Jackass.’ There are all these little things here or there. Somebody made me a lunch box with pictures of everything and little tiny trinkets that all meant something for the show.
Check back next week for part two of our interview with Jason where he talks more about making the movie and his friendship with Kristen Bell and husband Dax Shepard.
And, stay tuned to the site for TONS more Veronica Mars content as we countdown to the movie release on March 14th!
In the meantime, tell us what your favorite Logan Echolls moment is and if you’re Team Logan or Team Piz for Veronica! Tweet us at @OKMagazine or leave a comment below!