Back on the 14th of this month, Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell launched a Kickstarter appeal to drag long-defunct teen ‘tec drama Veronica Mars from the limbo of brilliant-but-cancelled TV series to a big screen rebirth. The project was an instant sensation, easily passing its initial $2 million aim on the first day. Empire got Thomas on the phone an hour after it hit $4 million this week, to talk the status of the project and his hopes for the film.
When he originally hatched the idea back in late 2011 – for it has taken two years to properly get to fruition – Thomas had a figure of around $5 million in his mind, to finance a movie based around the concept of Veronica (Bell) coming home to Neptune, California for her ten-year high school reunion. Where, if they got the budget, a fight would break out. With $4 million plus now in the bank, Thomas is feeling confident about the prospects for such a set piece. “I think that is safely going to be written into the movie. I'm writing as the campaign is going and I'm very close to that middle of the movie, the ten-year reunion set piece. I’m planning on writing the full-on brawl version.”
With that hurdle seemingly jumped, Thomas has another goal in mind. “The reason we're hoping for more money, at least, is so that we can shoot it in southern California. Right now, if the Kickstarter drive ended today, we'd be shooting in Baton Rouge because they offer great film breaks, and we could afford to shoot 20 days there, which is the time we think we need to shoot the movie,” he says. “In an ideal world, if we land closer to $5 million, we'll get to shoot in southern California, which is great because it's supposed to be set there. We'll get to show palm trees and the right architecture and... sand. The nice thing about that is, it only modestly affects the writing of the movie. Suddenly some scenes I would play indoors if we were in Baton Rouge I will now set in cool southern California exterior locations.”
With the coffers swelling, new faces are another possibility. “I would say there are three or four really good roles for new people, but the bulk of the movie, building around the reunion, is going to be populated by actors that people have seen in the show. I don't want to say who I want, but there are a couple of name actors who I'm going to go after, and we have the resources to land. I think that suddenly, as far as $4 million movies go, we're pretty high profile and might have a shot at some good people.”
There’s a good chance he’ll get his wish, as the campaign has opened up to a slew of new countries, meaning more international fans can help out if they choose: “Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, are part of it, as of right now. And the UK,” explains Thomas. But though the logistical issues of opening up the donation system has meant a delay in spreading the coverage, he isn’t planning to extend the project, which is scheduled to close on Friday, April 12.
“It's 30 days,” says Thomas firmly. “There's been no talking of extending it. I will say it has been a very good day for us, because we had sort of levelled off and were doing $35- $40,000 a day and today already we've done $110,000 now that we've opened up these other areas.”
So with the Mars movie now all but set to start shooting this summer, Thomas will no longer have to field questions about when it might happen. But that doesn’t mean he’s off the hook, as people still want to know what’s happening with his other beloved, cancelled-too-soon show, caustically funny cater-waiter comedy Party Down. There have been rumours of a script for ages, and he confirms that it needs no such crowd funding help. “Party Down would be a great Kickstarter project. However, a year ago we were hired by a terrific indie movie company to make one the old fashioned way. So we're already down a path, we're writing a script, we're hopeful it will get made through those traditional channels...” You and us both, Rob.
If you want to chuck in a few quid to help Thomas and co realise the best version of the Mars movie they can make, head over here after watching the video. For ideas of other shows that could benefit from this treatment click this way...