Whether you’re a fan of “Veronica Mars” or not – though I’ll assume you are if you’re reading this piece – you’ve undoubtedly heard about last year’s record-breaking success of its Kickstarter campaign to get a feature film funded. The film is out in theaters and available on VOD today, and to celebrate that rather unbelievable achievement, the cast and creator of the show gathered in the Dolby Theater in Hollywood last night to kick off this year’s PaleyFest – a festival honoring some of the best shows on television.
The Dolby Theater is where the Oscars are held each year, so naturally, when “Veronica Mars” series creator Rob Thomas came out for the first time to thank the crowd and the Paley Center for having him, he first thanked “Adele Nazeem.” Thomas introduced a documentary called “By the Fans: The Making of Veronica Mars” which, over the course of its one hour runtime, charted the progress of the Kickstarter concept from before Thomas and Bell launched it, through its astounding success, and all the way through production of the film. The documentary is essentially a way to honor the donors to the campaign, with Thomas and the cast praising them for their fandom in interviews, and it spends a ton of time spotlighting the various people who forked over enough cash to be extras in the movie, interviewing them and allowing them to tell their stories of how excited they were to help contribute to the project.
Afterwards, Thomas was joined on stage by Kristen Bell (Veronica), 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). HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall moderated the panel discussion, covering topics ranging from whether or not the actors thought they’d make it into the film (Daggs’ response of “I had the NAACP on speed dial!” left everyone cracking up), to the famous Kickstarter campaign (the promo video for which was actually shot a year before the project launched, meaning Bell and the others had to keep it a secret from everyone), to the original show (Bell was the first actress who auditioned for the role of Veronica).
Chris Lowell, who plays Veronica’s oft-hated nice guy boyfriend Piz, was hilariously aware of how much the fans generally don’t care about his character, and since he thought he was the most expendable of the entire cast, he was the most surprised when he received a call that there was a part for him in the film. Lowell was cracking jokes at his own expense the entire night, proving that even though Piz may have been a little boring at times, Lowell himself is a pretty hilarious dude. Also hilarious? Ryan Hansen, who plays perennial jackass Dick Casablancas. Surprising no one, he spent the evening making numerous “dick” puns and generally making everyone laugh. Capra was the giddiest of all of them, though, looking genuinely thrilled to be a part of the whole process.
As the night went on, a couple of cool things were revealed, including the fact that Thomas was planning on replacing a majority of the cast if the “Veronica as an FBI agent” fourth season ever came to pass. That storyline was also originally intended to be in the film, but Thomas ultimately couldn’t come up with a way to justify involving the smaller characters into a federal case, so he jettisoned that idea in favor of something that could incorporate everyone.
Overall, it was a fun night full of laughter, reminiscing, and sincere thanks from the cast and creator to the fans who made the new film possible. Veronica Mars is in theaters and on VOD right now.
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