When you’re accused of murder in Neptune, California, there’s only one person to call: Veronica Mars. Especially if you’re Logan Echolls, her former adversary/possible soul mate. In the time that’s passed between the canceled TV show and the fan-funded movie, Logan’s joined the Navy and has a whole host of military lawyers who could help him out of his latest bind. But as actor Jason Dohring says, “You’d rather have Veronica’s pretty face to talk to.” Although the movie works on one level for the uninitiated, there are enough callbacks for Church of Mars members, especially those who’d appreciate that this is not the first time Logan’s been arrested, and not the first time a girlfriend of his has died under suspicious circumstances, compelling Veronica to do what she does best. Dohring chatted with Vulture about his character’s dating life, his Top Gun fantasy, and which movie he’d like to Kickstart next.
How many murdered girlfriends can one guy have?
Aw, man! I know. It feels like if I told people all the statistics of my character, they’d probably think it was this daytime soap. But I think it came off very real, all the stuff that he has going on. I mean, both his parents are dead, his family members betray him — it’s pretty ugly for him. My one drawback to playing the character … When we started the show, Veronica was with this guy Duncan, and I was the comic relief, the sarcastic wingman. And then when I became that guy, I sort of had to turn the role over to Ryan Hansen, who’s now the sarcastic wingman, Dick. But I like to play that part myself. So whenever they juggle it between the love story, and this obligatory psychotic jackass element of the guy, I love to play both of them, but the sarcastic guy is something I look forward to. So that he’s still alive and taken this upswing to go into the military and get his life back together again, hopefully he’ll fall off the edge again, because I prefer the downward cliff, and not the moral high ground. You don’t want him to be the straitlaced guy. You want him to have fun, have fights, get to rip on people.
So let’s talk about the fight scenes. Logan’s pulled his fair share of punches, but the reunion fight is a big brawl.
It was much more choreographed. It was like a big dance. We had probably ten or twelve stunt guys, stunt guys from some of the biggest Hollywood movies that did us a favor and came in and choreographed this for us. And what’s cool is we’ve never had all the guys together in one scene, so that it happens in this huge bar brawl is of interest to me. And I get to throw a couple of good ones! [Laughs.]
A lot of folks from the show get to make cameos during the reunion scene. Anyone you missed?
I would have liked to get Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Amanda Seyfried, and all the fantastic guest stars and recurring stars we had. I love that they bring back Max Greenfield, and Veronica brings him a pizza. He was so damn charming, it made me jealous. Not of the pizza. I don’t eat pizza. I got a military body to hold up, girl!
Were you a little disappointed that Leighton Meester didn’t reprise her role as Carrie Bishop?
Yeah, I know there were some talks about it, some scheduling issues. But two nights ago at the New York premiere, I got to see the girl who got to play the part [Andrea Estella], and it was fantastic. She showed up on crutches on the film, on the first day. We were like, “Whoa! What happened?” She had broken her leg and it was healing, so we had to keep her in one place for her scenes.
Would it be fair to say, since so much of the movie calls back to the Carrie Bishop–Susan Knight story line, that everything is Adam Scott’s fault?
I think everything everywhere is Adam Scott’s fault. When you really think about it, deep down? I did one episode of Party Down with him, and I was sitting at the lunch table trying to hold back my laughter, in fear that I would look like a total idiot, because all the guys were laughing at the table hysterically. All because of Adam Scott.
Before the Veronica Mars movie materialized, there was talk of a Party Down movie, which might go the Kickstarter route as well …
Yeah, I think that has a fantastic chance of becoming a movie. I would help Kickstart that little boy! Slap me down for a hundred. And Veronica Mars is a good yardstick. I think it’s so cool when fans can speak for themselves and have a voice. Because ultimately that’s who you’re doing it for, people who care about your project. And if fans want something, if they want to see something, they should have a voice. Especially if there’s enough numbers to make it so. So why not?
You got more money for the Veronica Mars budget than you originally anticipated, but what would you have done differently if it had been even more?
You know, when you look at a 6 million dollar movie, it’s still relatively small compared to a 10 or 15 million dollar movie, which are still considered small. So the joke on the set was, if we’d had a little more money, we would have done more than one take. There’s a couple scenes in the movie, I swear to you, where I got one take. You’ll see them in the film, and they’re great, but there were these two shots, with me and Veronica standing in the street, and it was one take. Rob [Thomas] was like, “That’s great! Let’s go!” And I’m like, “What? You’re not even going to get any coverage on the scene?” And he was like, “Nope! You were great.” One is after I drop my date off for the night and give her a kiss. You know what I’m talking about?
The “date” with Gaby Hoffmann, your dead girlfriend’s biggest fan.
She is so good! I grew up watching her movies, like Now and Then. She doesn’t give a fuck what other people think. She just marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s just so free and so loose in the movie. She just had a few fantastic scenes. She just throws her balls out, as it were, and she’s wonderful when she’s dancing and grabbing her face and is totally into it. Dude, she’s hot as nails!
Could there be another Veronica Mars film?
You know, our show ended in 2007, I know the network kind of came up to Rob right at the end of season three, “We don’t know if you’ll be coming back, so you might want to wrap things up here.” And he said, “Okay,” and he just did the total opposite — left everything open-ended. And that left fans wanting more. So that was probably the biggest thing we had going for us, that it was so unresolved, even after seven years, people wanted a resolution to that story. And even in this story, we have some loose ends with the corruption of the police department, and it probably goes further than that. Rob always writes further places to go. I just feel like there will be a lot of Skype with my character on the next film — I’ll just be all computer.
Or maybe you could do it like the Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight films, and just meet in different countries.
I love that idea. Maybe we can do a Top Gun side story, you know? I just want to do that cool Top Gun high-five with Dick, and then I can call my career a wrap.