A chat with Jason Dohring of "Veronica Mars"
Here's the full transcript of my interview with Jason Dohring, which was conducted Oct. 25, 2005.
So describe Logan for me, because I find him hard to sum up.
"He’s the son of a movie star; he kind of has that mentality. He grew up with that. He started off determined to make Veronica’s life a living hell, but that developed into this funny chemistry, then love and romance. Now there’s this triangle with Duncan and Logan and Veronica. So many things have happened along the way to give the audience insight into how he got to be the way he is and why he acts the way he does, how he got the motivation to act like such a complicated human being.
"When we did the original auditions, they gave me a couple of [Logan-acts-like-a-jerk] scenes, then I also got a scene where he’s burned by a cigarette lighter by his dad. It was intense and emotional. Rob wanted to see not just me playing the [jerk] but also if I could play the softer side. It gave me a chance to do both. It didn’t come out until a little bit later in the show, but [eventually] you got to see why he could be such a [jerk] and also how he’s just in this terrible situation."
Logan always seems to have a knee-jerk reaction to whatever happens, like he can’t contain himself or take a minute to figure out the rational response.
"Absolutely, and that’s the cause of many terrible situations for him. But I like that impulsiveness, I like that trait in him. It can lead to a lot of other stories for him."
Did you know, last season, that Logan and Veronica were going to get together?
"I’m actually glad, Rob told us about episode six or seven that we would get together. We were like, ‘No way!’ But there was something going on there. We could feel it as actors. It was damn cool -- these characters had some kind of connection. So we had to start to soften it up a little bit and break the ice somewhat [between the characters]. I’m glad he gave us that heads up."
That kiss near the end of last season -- the spark was amazing.
"It was so funny, as an actor, to kiss this girl. I was all nervous beforehand. But you have to just let it go for the scene. It was so fun to watch [later when it aired].
"Sometimes I’m working late, and I have to catch [the show] later, but [he watches the show every week when it airs]. Kristin is just so amazing;, in the last episode that aired [he was referring to the Oct. 19 episode, ‘Green-Eyed Monster.’], she’s just so free. She’s so smart. And I laugh out loud when I watch it. It’s great to watch with other people. I rarely get the chance but it’s great to hear everyone bust out laughing.
"We’re going to be going down to Texas, a few of us. They’re going to show this marathon of episodes, fans are going to rent it and we’re going to all watch it live with this audience in this great theater in Texas. It’s where Tarantino has his film festival and stuff like that. It’s down where Rico’s [Enrico Colantino] from. It’ll be terrific."
So, it must have been a drag to find out that Logan and Veronica are not together this year.
"I had no idea what was coming. I didn’t know who was at the door [in the first-season finale]. Nobody really knew who was at the door until we got the first script [for the second season], then it was so clever. She’s with Logan, but then she’s not with him. It goes beyond who’s at the door. It gives Veronica and Duncan a chance to be together; it sets up some good tension for my guy."
Logan gets a lot of great lines, a lot of the zingers.
"I love that. It is so fun. There were some racial jokes [last season]; I know we’ve had to ease off on that a little bit. I think we got involved in a little trouble over that. It wasn’t too big a deal."
Was it cool to get that endorsement from "Buffy," "Angel" and "Firefly" creator Joss Whedon?
"Absolutely, it was the best. It was the buzz of the set: `Did you hear what he said about us?,’ Stuff like that. [Director] Kevin Smith also did a nice write-up, and what was cool was that they really know their stuff;, their attention to detail [regarding `Veronica Mars’] was so cool. You never know if your work will be seen, so to have it seen by someone great, someone you really respect, that’s so cool. Though if I’d known they were watching, I would have been a lot more nervous!"
Why do you think fans are so into the show?
"It inspires passion. It’s dark. It’s got these intense relationships; you can really emotionally root for certain characters. You just want to hold Veronica. The damage that’s been done to her just tugs at your heartstrings. When she pleaded with her dad to find her mom -- that just makes you feel so much for her. You want to see her win. There’s the relationship between her and her dad. Just the core things, the emotional aspect of it, is what holds people. There are the story lines too; they’re interesting, but it’s people going through life. The closer we get to real life [the more effective it is]. Everyone has those emotions, so we all respond to that."
Can you tell me anything about what’s coming up or will Rob Thomas break your leg?
"[laughs] We get certain things, certain giveaways, `You can say this, not that.’ So I can say that Logan’s dad is coming back in one episode. That’s a cool, intense show."
The relationship between Logan and Veronica is obviously very different this season.
"If you’ve been together with someone, you can’t go back to where you were before. If she had to help me again, how can I ask her for something? It sets up this weird situation, really different from the first season. He cried in front of her, he’s been open in front of her, she knows things. You can’t go back from that.
"[In Logan’s mind] she maybe could have told somebody [his private business]. It’s really bad for him; he thinks he can trust her, then it’s over. Deep down, he has integrity -- he does, in a way. They respect each others’ integrity, but it’s more than integrity; it’s principles, beliefs."
What’s it like working with [star] Kristin Bell?
"I love to act with her. There’s still that tension [between the characters]. I don’t know what they’re going to do with Logan; part of him still loves her. I don’t think the thing with Kendall is for emotional support [laughs]. But any love is better than no love. The thing is, who do you trust, when you have all that money? What do you do? That’s Neptune."
So Alyson Hannigan has been back as your sister Trina Echolls, right?
"Yeah, we were all so happy this morning when we shot that scene -- it was great. Alyson is back; Charisma [Carpenter] was here as well. We had a scene with us [Trina, Logan and Veronica] and Teddy [who plays Duncan Kane]. It was great: My older sister is there, and I’m having this affair with Kendall; it makes for some intense tension. But it was great, so funny. We all had a great time; it was cool to see that they [Charisma and Alyson] still had that flow, that connection. They have an energy together. They have that history."
"There’s a huge twist for Trina in this [Nov. 23] episode -- it’s amazing. It’s not just a normal twist. It’s written so well, but I can’t explain it. You gotta and wait and watch it. It’s a great story line. They shot most of Alyson’s stuff today and yesterday. I really look forward to seeing [the episode].
"We all really like this girl [Alyson]. We get together and just tease each other, she sucker-punches me. There’s just a total, I don’t know, we really have a sister-brother thing going on. I’ve never had that kind of connection with an actress before. It totally works.
"She loves doing the show, but then she hates it because she finds out all these things that are in upcoming episodes. We get to explain it to her: `This is what happens, then that.’ She’s like, `No way!’ But then she also loves to watch it and find out things [like everyone else]."
I think the show’s been even better this year than last.
"It’s going to get even better. A lot of seeds have been planted."