It’s only been a few months since Jason Dohring and I last saw each other. I remember it well. We were both out the front of the beautiful Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas. His film, the crowd-funded Veronica Mars movie, was making its world premiere at SXSW and there we were on the red carpet. He was dressed dapper, in a suit, while I went more casual. It was raining, but he remained dry…
It’s a romantic image, isn’t it? Funny thing is, all of this is true, except for the fact that the reason we were both at the red carpet premiere was because the AU had scored one of the few opportunities to interview the guests and he remained dry, under the shelter of the theatre and various umbrellas, while I held a camera and took a battering from the heavy rain of hours previous. I’m not bitter though, he was lovely then and is exactly how I remember him now, as I chat with him ahead of his trip out to Melbourne for Oz Comic-Con.
“It was so cool!” he remembers of that afternoon. “I think that was the most enjoyable, when you get to see it with a bunch of fans, you know? I think that’s where it plays the best and I just saw through almost every screening, probably three or four, just to hear what the fans thought. What they laughed at, what they liked and where they jumped at the right places. It was really quite cool. I thought it played really funny! I thought it was really good, but it seemed to be really funny and lit the whole theatre up. I thought that was really cute.”
Of course, the theatre in Texas was packed to the brim with Veronica Mars fans who’d waited so long for what was a movie-length episode of the Kristen Bell-led drama to finally come to fruition. Set nine years after the final season’s events, obviously, the fans are meeting the characters as adults. For Dohring, the Veronica Mars series has seen a rebirth now with many new teenage fans, as well as those Marshmallows who’ve been following the show since day one.
“They are such a younger generation now,” he comments. “It’s funny because when I was a teenager, we were all on the show! Now a bunch of teenagers are seeing it, it’s really cool. I still look I’m twelve, so I don’t have to worry…”
Squeezed in between two hardcore fans almost up in the rafters of the Paramount Theatre, I remember reacting more to their reactions than I was to some of the film’s content a lot of the time. When they’d jump, I’d jump two foot higher out of shock. When they gasp, I’d be thrown off again. Of course, there was one scene in the film where it reduced a great proportion of the theatre into breathless, screaming messes. Dohring remembers the reaction to seeing himself getting naked on the big screen and takes it back to the time of filming.
“Oh I don’t know,” he says borderline shyly. “I just remember Rob [Thomas] was in the corner just squealing behind the monitor and he was like, ‘This is what the fans wanted!’ It’s like, I can’t say no to Rob Thomas…”
“I think it was probably the most unique thing that may ever be a part of,” Dohring says of the effect the Veronica Mars franchise and fandom has and continues to have on him. “The first weekend, when you’d go into iTunes, we were the most downloaded movie in the whole world. It was just unreal to see this stuff everywhere! To go on vacation and see that the people who ran this little bed and breakfast have seen the movie – they didn’t recognise you, but they’d seen the movie! You mention it and they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ It’s funny to see the people who you think would never watch it and those who didn’t watch the show have really enjoyed it…I think a really cool thing that Rob did was make it available for understand to a non-indoctrinated audience, you know?”
Set to fly out to Melbourne this week ahead of this weekend’s Oz Comic-Con, Dohring is exited to be meeting the Australian Veronica Mars fan base and also getting to explore this side of the globe.
“I have a friend who is there,” Dohring admits. “I tried to convince him to go up to the Great Barrier Reef, but I think he’s got a couple of things going, so I might head up there by myself and go diving. You’re halfway around the world and you’ve got a great opportunity to do it, so I think I might go up and do that, if anyone wants to come.”
Oz Comic-Con is going to be held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne this weekend. Head to www.ozcomiccon.com for more information on schedules, tickets and more!