Veronica Mars
The Rob Thomas Interview, Part II

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"'Veronica Mars' Just Rolls Off The Tongue"
CB: [laughs] Oh, no! RT: Yeah. CB: I have to point out that you did recast Backup! What happened there? RT: I couldn't deal with his trainer. I loved the original Backup -- he was such a beautiful dog. But his trainer had a month and a half to get him ready for the scene in the pilot, and he didn't do it. He needed to fly out of the car, and he just couldn't -- he sort of slid down the window. So a stuntman had to pull him out on his arm. Then, to make it look good, he was supposed to attack the biker, who was wearing protective padding, but he wouldn't do that either. We had to cut together all this footage and loop in growling. It was just a mess, and the trainer blamed us! So rather than strangle the guy, I recast Backup. CB: Now I have to say I really didn't like Keith that much in the pilot. He came off to me as overly hammy, and against the backdrop of how dark the episode is, I kind of found it wildly incongruous. But since then, I've totally liked him, so I was wondering if he's been written a little bit differently, maybe with a little less caffeine? RT: Well, I liked Keith in the pilot. But I love Rico. You know, when I was casting Veronica, I saw a lot of terrible actresses. That wasn't the case with Keith -- when you're casting a character actor like that, everyone you see can do a fine job. In Rico's case, we could only see him audition when he came in for the network. But I loved him in Galaxy Quest, and I really liked him for the part. I think what you mention is a case of everyone just getting familiar with the show, including me. I have heard that criticism before, and maybe I could have dialed back his energy ten percent or so, but people would still have wanted another twenty. But I definitely wanted some good energy between him and Veronica. And Rico has been such a positive force in the show and on the set. CB: And I've been impressed that he goes to the publicity events with the young actors too. RT: Yeah. It's great that he does. CB: It did seem to me that the series changed in tone a little bit after the pilot. Even though there's plenty of humor in that episode, there's so much traumatic backstory that it comes off as pretty dark. Did you hesitate at all to pile so much on the audience at once? RT: I was nervous about it. Pilots that test really well are the ones that have a clearly defined good guy and bad guy, and are very straight and linear, and you know who to root for and you've got big, heroic, happy moments. So I suspected, given the juxtaposed time and the darkness, that it wouldn't be a pilot that tested particularly well, and that was proven out. It did okay, though -- better than I'd hoped.

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Veronica Mars

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