Jason Dohring On That Time He Was Supposed To Play The Veronica Mars Villain

Photo: Snap Stills/Shutterstock.
Kristen Bell teased that Hulu's Veronica Mars revival will be a vastly different show than the one of the mid-’00s. The new Veronica Mars is more explicitly violent, dives more in-depth into the class war in Neptune, and is a grittier depiction of the SoCal noir than before. While the new series skews darker, one person on the show does not: love of Veronica’s life, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), whose persona in season 4 can be described as Logan 2.0.
Logan was introduced as Veronica’s sworn enemy, but the pair found common ground during the murder investigation of her best friend Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried). Season 1 introduced fans to a complicated romance that spanned the show’s three seasons, before Veronica cut it off with Logan and crushed the hearts of LoVe shippers everywhere. After years apart between season 3 and the Veronica Mars movie, these shippers got their wish for a reunion between Logan and Veronica, which culminated in kitchen sex during the fan-funded film.
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When we meet him in season 4, Logan is a military man with regular therapy appointments and a calmer demeanor than he ever hadin high school. He loves Veronica and wants what's best for her, which he believes is stability — although, Veronica isn't so sure she knows how to do that. In conversation with Refinery29 over the phone, Dohring discusses Logan 2.0. and finally shuts down the argument that Piz (Chris Lowell) would have been a better fit.
Refinery29: What's it like playing a much more chilled out version of Logan?
Jason Dohring: "When I describe [Logan’s history] to people, it sounds like a soap opera. It was so dark for a while. I’m glad that Rob [Thomas, the creator] wrote Logan into the military, it was a good way to bring some discipline into his life. Veronica and Logan start almost opposite to where they were on the original show. Logan is now the stabilizing influence. He’s pushing Veronica to become more stable, and move forward into growing their relationship. She’s stubborn and cynical. I think it’s a cool way to go, when you’ve already gone down a road with so much drama, to pull it together and to find a new layer to add to this broken guy."
Photo: Courtesy of JSquared Photography.
You also played a military guy on Rob Thomas' other series, iZombie. Do you like playing those roles?
"I went overboard on iZombie after I found out I was playing a military guy. I went to the founder of Blackwater’s home and did this obstacle course there. It’s wild. I definitely have some strong opinions on military and war and such and, as an actor, we’re portraying that for the sake of art. These guys are real guys — it means something different, in that way. I realized, wow, we make a movie, but we [get to] go home. It was heavy, when that hit me. "
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The new Veronica Mars is full of new A-list stars, including Patton Oswalt and J.K. Simmons. What was it like to bring them to Neptune?
"They’re such professionals. It amazes me that they show up with all these great ideas for the representation of their roles, particularly Patton. You start talking to them and they are also very cool people. The way that Rob incorporated them into the show is very fitting and very right. They belong in Neptune. As a writer, you create this world and you see what fits and what doesn’t, and he’s masterful at deciding how each person is played between comedy, drama, and story, blended all in a universe of its own."
Did you have a favorite Easter egg from the original Veronica Mars series?
"Dick Casablancas [Ryan Hansen] has found the perfect job as an actor. The level of fame he’s achieved is perfect for him. You’ll find all the characters are sort of Easter eggs in themselves. They’re playing true to themselves."
"There’s a new [true crime obsessed] group that adopts Neptune as their hobby or passion. There’s a scene where Logan and Veronica are [like] celebrities to these guys, and they know more details than we know about ourselves [than we do], which is played for humor."
Some fans speculated that maybe Logan's mother Lynn (played by Lisa Rinna) wasn't actually dead and that her return could be a part of the season 4 mystery.
"Any bad thing that has happened to Logan is the worst thing that can happen, so I think that’s the answer to that. I think Logan has resigned to accept [the death of his mom] and he’s ready to move on with Veronica."
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Now that Logan and Veronica are solid, do you think the Piz shippers can be silenced?
"Whether you think it’s one way or the other way, anytime you think Logan is repulsive or terrible, he ends up doing one heroic act and saving Veronica. I feel very happy that Rob is such a great writer, and he can turn things on their heads, after someone seems totally irredeemable. You’ll see more of the Piz in Logan in this iteration of Logan."
Now that Logan and Veronica are solid, do you think the Piz shippers can be silenced?
"Whether you think it’s one way or the other way, anytime you think Logan is repulsive or terrible, he ends up doing a heroic act that saves Veronica. I feel very happy that Rob is such a great writer and he can turn things on their heads, even after someone seems totally irredeemable. You’ll see more of the Piz in Logan with this iteration of Logan."
Considering you were originally supposed to play Logan as the villain, how do you feel about the way your character turned out?
"When Rob originally built the show, I was the complete antagonist. I was the psychotic jackass. Because Kristen was so good, and scenes with her were so awesome, the writers pulled us aside around episode 4 of the series and said ‘You guys are going to get together.’ We were like, ‘What the fuck are you talking about?’ We just couldn’t believe it. I remember just having such strong feelings of hate for her character that I couldn’t even put a hand on her shoulder [when the writers asked for it.] Literally, as an actor, I couldn’t touch her. I finally did it, and it was cool. It became this organic thing, even though it wasn’t intended originally. I think that’s part of the relationship that’s pretty cool: they match, they are both intense. They have great integrity, wit, humor, and charm. There’s a story that Rob was at a party for Veronica Mars, where he was just having a great time, and he pulled me aside and said ‘Jason, that scene where you and Kristen get together was so’ — and he paused, and he said ‘earned.’ It was a friendship that developed into a relationship from there. You can’t plan that stuff, it comes from the actors, from the writing, from scene moments."
Season 4 of Veronica Mars premieres on Hulu on July 26.
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