Saturday, July 20, 2013

Life On 'Mars'

Veronica Mars is all grown-up. So grown-up that she fits on a big screen now! It was very surreal for me to not see "Veronica Mars" on a little monitor at home.

This weekend I was in San Diego because the fan-girl in me dared to hope that I could get into a special "Veronica Mars" fan event where one did NOT need a coveted Comic-Con badge for entry.

Let me rewind a bit. I watched "Veronica" when it first aired on UPN back in 2004 up until it was canceled after a third season on the then-new CW network. I don't get cult-ish about many TV shows. I remember being pissed that VM got dropped but overly-soapy teen shows like "One Tree Hill" got to stay. So earlier this year, as soon as I read that this Kickstarter project could be the make-or-break step to reviving the teen detective as a movie, I seriously considered donating. The only reason I was hesitant was that giving money meant I might not be able to ever write about it. But the fan-girl side of me won out.

Back to present day in San Diego...I got in to the panel at the last minute after getting on a bus at 5:30 a.m. to get to the waiting spot for a precious wrist band and then having to come back at 7 p.m. as a "standby" entry. I was so elated that I got to truly feel like part of Comic-Con weekend with one of my favorite shows and at no cost. Everyone who was a regular on the show was there, including star Kristen Bell, and of course, creator Rob Thomas (not the Matchbox 20 dude). Characters represented were: Keith Mars, Wallace, Mac, Logan, Piz, Weevil and Dick Casablancas. I wanted to document some of the highlights for myself before they become cobwebs in the back of my mind.

_Making friends with the people who were in line with me. It's amazing how Comic-Con brings out geeks and nerds of all backgrounds. I met a Asian woman from Fremont, Calif., who is an optometrist. I met a woman who is a writer for the latest "Transformer" cartoon. Overheard a guy beg her not to kill off Optimus Prime _ again.

_The actors who pay Weevil and Wallace showed up in the morning with donuts for everyone. There was a film crew documenting this. So, I might be on camera someday being shown helping Francis Capra tear the seal off a box of Winchell's.

_Saw two minutes of footage from the movie that was not shown at the Comic-Con panel earlier in the day. The scene was Veronica at the check-in table at her high school reunion, which was being run by her bitchy school nemesis, Madison. Madison pretended at first not to recognize her.
Veronica: This is my 'I think you're an asshole look.' How about now?
Madison says something bitchy back.
Veronica: You've been sitting her since graduation, haven't you?

 _Kristen Bell said she had no idea why she and Jason Dohring (Logan) have "boatloads of chemistry." Rob Thomas said he's not sure how it happened. Logan was supposed to just be the "obligatory, psychotic jackass." But the more they saw them on screen, the more the writers started writing in the direction of Veronica and Logan being the "it" couple.

_Chris Lowell, who played Piz and Veronica's love interest in the last season, said he was surprised that he was going to be in the movie. He fake-cried because he knew Piz wasn't as loved as Logan (Jason Dohring), who everyone wanted to end up with Veronica. Even some of the actors admitted Piz is the better guy but they still wanted her with Logan, the bad boy. In a pathetic attempt to make Lowell feel better, his friend Ryan Devlin (who played a student who turned out to be a serial rapist in the third season), took the microphone and said "Who do you want for Veronica? Piz or the rapist?" Of course everyone cheered for Piz. Chris Lowell had a "that's supposed to help??" look on his face. LOL.

_During the audience Q&A, someone from the back said "I have a question!" It was Ken Marino, who played Vinnie Van Lowe, the rival private eye to Keith Mars (Veronica's dad). A very funny guy. "How many scenes do I have in the movie?" Rob Thomas replied "You have a love scene with Kristen. It's happening Sunday. Oh Kristen, did I forget to tell you?" Then the actors demanded that Ken serenade them. So he sang a verse of "Private Eyes," a reference to a scene he did on the show.

_Ryan Devlin said when the Kickstarter project was announced, his father, an attorney, sent him an email detailing all the possible reasons his character could be out of prison because he wanted him to be in the movie. Awwww.

_Staffers brought out a giant cake shaped like a camera lens and two giant birthday cards in honor of Kristen Bell's and Percy Daggs' (VM's BFF, Wallace) birthdays, which are three days apart. (Kristen loved it: "Seriously you guys, it's like 'Cake Wars' down here"). The cards were signed by everyone who got a wrist band to get in.

_Ryan Devlin co-founded a granola bar company that is called "This Bar Saves Lives." Money from every purchase goes to help a child with severe, acute malnutrition in the world. He said the event's sponsor, Samsung, bought 5,000 bars in honor of Bell's birthday and has been giving them out all week. Samsung's purchase will help feed 33 kids. And we all got a bar to take home.

_When asked if there could be more movies or a limited run on Netflix like "Arrested Development," Rob Thomas said "Netflix has my number." But also, he said we have to wait and see how the movie does and all the actors have other commitments like TV shows in the next year. If the movie, which comes out sometime next year, is a huge hit then they won't need Kickstarter next time.

_Every single actor couldn't express their gratitude enough. All of them seemed very genuine. They said how they see the work is different when they realized that fans are the reason they have the job to begin with. Fans were basically like "Here's my money."

Anyway, my pants could fall down on the street tomorrow and I would still say I had a fantastic weekend. Can't help but wonder if Twitter and Facebook had been as prevalent back when VM was on, would the show have lasted a little longer. But, it makes the movie becoming a reality and all the press interest surrounding it that much sweeter. Going to end with the trailer that I saw at the fan event Friday night.

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