'Veronica Mars' creator to give the people what they want

March 15, 2013|By Dawn C. Chmielewski
  • "Veronica Mars" executive producer Rob Thomas, left, and star Kristen Bell will make a film based on the former television series, following a successful crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter.
"Veronica Mars" executive producer Rob Thomas, left, and star… (Lucas Jackson / Associated…)

To noir or not to noir -- that is the question "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas weighs as his long-hoped-for film adaptation of the teen TV series becomes a reality.

Fans have pledged $3.4 million to fund an independent film based on the UPN-turned-CW show, which starred actress Kristen Bell as a teenager who cracks cases under the guidance of her detective father. The Kickstarter campaign reached its $2-million goal in just 10 hours, a milestone for film projects soliciting donations through the crowd-funding site.

Thomas told The Times he feels "an absurd amount of pressure" from the enthusiastic fan response. "I feel like we have 45,000 backers," he said of the online donors, who now surpass 50,000. "I suspect they all want a slightly different version of the 'Veronica Mars Movie.' "

At times, as he developed film scripts based on the series, Thomas said he considered reinventing "Veronica Mars" as a "cool noir thriller" in the mold of Steven Soderbergh's "Side Effects."

"At the end of the day, you know what? This is a crowd-funded movie. I should give the people what they want," Thomas said. "I think the fans want to see their favorite characters.... They want to see Veronica do what she does."

Bell said she has hoped that the film would become a reality one day.

"I don't have the expertise or the power to wave a magic wand and make it happen," Bell said. "That doesn't mean I can’t nag people. I've always been clear with Rob. I’d come over and clean his house if he wanted me to."

Bell said she is heartened by the fans' sustained commitment to the show, which left the air in 2007.

"Kickstarter has been this wonderful missing link that we didn't know was missing," Bell said.

Social media research firm Fizziology went to Twitter and Facebook to analyze reactions to the "Veronica Mars" campaign.

Forty-six percent of all tweets and Facebook posts were positive, and a considerable amount of the chatter was surrounding other TV shows they’d like to see rebooted – with Joss Whedon's sci-fi series "Firefly" (which already resulted in one film revival, 2005's "Serenity") and "Gilmore Girls," a series that explored the relationship between a single mother and her teen daughter, at the top of people’s lists.

About 12% of the online sentiment was negative. About one-third of these people said Warner Bros., the studio behind "Veronica Mars," should have financed the film project -- not fans. The studio will market and distribute the film, which is scheduled for release in early 2014.


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