And then he graciously pointed out that Kristen and I have a very similar jawline. That put me at ease and made me think that I could do this. I found that if I toned that down a little bit and had a little more fun, that was Logan for me. Jason was so powerful in that scene…it was no contest. Dohring: After that scene, Rob came up and hugged me…. Daggs III: It was my first big network studio test. I had all kinds of emotions and feelings running through me…. I went in and sat down. She had colored hair before it was super-chic….
I liked that her and Veronica could be vulnerable with each other, but really demanded respect and were tough with the outside world when they needed to be. Thomas: I was thinking about The Outsiders …I liked the idea that in a town full of spoiled rich snobs, the outlaw biker guy could be the fun antihero. Teddy Dunn originally tested for Logan. Months later, he came back to read for Duncan.
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My agent and manager said, no way you do a pilot with five lines. I remember Rob really pushing it…. The fact that I was living in a dilapidated building with roaches helped push me out the door.
Filming took place in San Diego—far removed from Hollywood excess—on a soundstage that had been previously used to shoot military videos and softcore porn. The young cast immediately took to the new city, and to each other.
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Capra: It was paradise to me. Jason, Teddy, Percy, and I all relocated to the same apartment complex. It felt like we were at college or a resort. Michael Muhney Sheriff Lamb : Everyone was excited and young…they all had bubbly, eyes-wide-open personalities—but when it got down to doing the work, everyone matured 15 years beyond their age. I remember one of the first couple of episodes, when none of my paychecks had cleared. I was behind on my heating bill, or the heating had broken in my little studio house and it was freezing.
I went out and slept in my car with the engine on all night. Colantoni: There were times when I would talk Kristen down and help her understand things.
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That took all of six months before she became a veteran. A part of that goes so much beyond acting. That stuck with me. Though film noir typically emphasizes seedy, black-and-white atmospheres, with lots of gray in-between, Veronica Mars chose a different canvas. Bell: Rob built her emotional armor in the context of the story. I, along with the prop and costume department, built her physical armor—her leather jacket, her combat boots, her dark-colored wardrobe.
Her bag to me is her binky that has all her weapons and tools in it. Thomas: We wanted somebody who was corrupt and dumb…. Thomas: I did a bit of research on how P. I think he [Cliff] has kind of a moral compass. A little bit of an ambulance chaser with a heart of gold. Their characters are ethical good guys to whom justice and truth really matter, played by people who embody those qualities.
Can we have him pop in and out for no reason at all? It helps that Max is one of our favorite people alive. And then there was obnoxious surfer dude Dick Casablancas, played by Ryan Hansen. Everyone wanted to write for Hansen, which quickly elevated him from a one-off day player to series regular. My first day in San Diego, I had no idea what to do.
Ryan introduced himself, and asked if I wanted to go surfing. We surfed in the sunset. Then we hopped on skateboards and skated to Little Italy and had an Italian dinner.
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Then we came back and he made me watch his wedding videos for like two and a half hours while he and his wife wept. He just fizzles everyone around him wherever he goes. Thomas had a very specific vision for how he wanted to introduce Veronica to audiences. A motorcycle gang drives up and surrounds the car. I was so proud of that opening.
I loved that opening. It should start in a high school. It always breaks my heart when I see it on TV.
But when the pilot went into post-production, the network got cold feet about including sexual assault as a plot point. So they kept making me tighten it up, like they were trying to win this battle 10 frames at a time. Thomas: We started doing these takes with her waking up in the morning.
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Kristen got up, picked up her underwear, got a steely look in her eyes. Look at that. Veronica reports her assault to Sheriff Lamb. Instead of giving her empathy, he mocks her. That moment transforms her. A little piece of my soul died every time I did that to her. Ruggiero: In that moment, that could be a kid who went in a completely different direction…that innocent girl who was thinking lip gloss and going to parties with her friends suddenly becomes this crusader.
UPN had already filled the open drama slot on its fall schedule—but Murphy helped secure a second slot for Mars. Colantoni: The day before principal photography, we were both staying in the same hotel and she called me in my room. We spent a good hour just chatting. The rest was just so easy to do.
Ethridge: It was kismet. Bell: I believe in following the child.
Veronica wanted space, responsibility, and a battlefield, and Keith, to the best of his ability, made that possible…. I liked how much he let Veronica off leash to discover who she was. It was going to be a huge moment where the one person in the world she has counted on seems to betray her. Can she just have her dad? It was a really good note.
Dunn: He told me that Duncan was going to suffer from bipolar disorder…. I remember early on I had a great coming-out episode when I was off my medication and feeling good about where the character was going. And then other things developed. Thomas: Jason has this intensity. Veronica makes a smart-ass face at him, and he goes after her….