Fascinating interview with Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas).
I detest the character and so was really surprised by some of the interview.
No spoilers as the interview seems to have taken place last season.
Stuff about his trip to Africa with his new wife and brother-in-law making a film about children being forced into war.
His work with CYT (Christian Youth Theater) and the role of the church in his life.
How far can you get from the character you play?
"Yes, well, I, uh, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter, I, in fact I... well, I encourage you to, to always, uh, challenge me, uh, when you feel it's appropriate. You should never be cowed by authority. Except, of course, in this instance, when I am clearly right and you are clearly wrong."
I understand fans' desire to read the scripts of their favorite shows before the episodes air. I have no desire to do that, since I'm personally of the opinion that scripts can't begin to convey what the final product -- the actual footage of a TV show -- can.
Case in point: Tuesday's episode of "Veronica Mars," titled "Look Who's Stalking."
The party scene between Logan and Veronica and the morning-after scene at Logan's door were probably, on the page, fairly straightforward.
But thanks to the acting skills of Jason Dohring and Kristen Bell, those scenes were, to quote Logan, "epic." The emotion and meaning conveyed in their glances, pauses and silences spoke volumes. The words were important, but they were just one part of what made those scenes intense and moving.
I'm going to say it, and my status as a slobbering "Buffy"/"Angel" fanatic be darned: I love the Logan and Veronica relationship more than I dug the Buffy and Angel affair. Yes, that was epic too, and had all the prerequisites of romantic doomed love, but we knew that was never going to work out.
What gives Logan and Veronica's scenes that extra magic is the passionate hope, nurtured by many "V.M." fans, that things will eventually work out between these crazy kids. I mean, it could work out, right? Logan can actually walk around in the daylight and everything, so darn it, I have to believe these two have a shot at happiness together.
Kudos to Rob Thomas and his writing staff for making the vulnerability and sarcasm and smarts of these two so palpable. Logan and Veronica really are a TV couple for the ages. It may not ever work out between them -- since when do tortured couples like this settle down long-term? Oh, let's not talk about that. I just know I'm glued to the screen every time they're together.
There really aren't enough words in my humble vocabulary to do justice to the performances of these actors. So I'll just say that I watched all their "Stalking" scenes three times. And I might just watch them again tonight.
The Doctor: River Song, I could bloody kiss you! River: Oh well. Maybe when you're older.
The Doctor: Can I trust you, River Song? River: If you like. But where's the fun in that?
Finale wrap-up: "Veronica Mars"Oh, the suspense! This season ender left us glued to our couches and cursing the commercials. By Stephanie Zacharek May. 10, 2006 |
When television is done right, an interminable bank of commercials -- an ad for a teen skin cleanser that zaps oil, followed by a teaser for the 10 o'clock news telling of a wild bear on the loose, followed by a roundup of cheap Mother's Day gifts available at some giant, faceless chain store -- can seem like an affront to humanity, a chunk of uselessness cluttering the hairline eternity between life and death.
On the season finale of Rob Thomas' "Veronica Mars," which aired Tuesday night, Beaver Casablancas (Kyle Gallner) -- whom Veronica (Kristen Bell) has fingered as the mastermind behind a bus explosion that killed a number of her fellow students -- has cornered Veronica on the roof of a hotel.
It's graduation night; earlier, Veronica's dad, Keith (Enrico Colantoni), has presented her with her graduation gift: The two are going to New York City for a week, an oasis of urban sophistication ("SoHo!" Veronica exclaims; "Shea Stadium!" her dad counters) far away from their small-minded, money-obsessed SoCal town.
But just now, Beaver has told Veronica that the device he's holding in his hand is set to blow up the small plane that her father is traveling in. He gives her less than a minute to call Keith on her cellphone, but she can't summon him. Beaver responds with a nasty shrug. And then, beyond these two rooftop figures, we see a fireball in the sky, a ragged symbol for one of the roughest passages in life -- that of losing a parent, and, in Veronica's case, a colleague who sometimes seems to be the only true friend she's got.
Then the commercials kick in, of course, because that's the nature of television: If the show is good, we're a captive audience, unable to leave the couch even to get a drink of water. But the cheerful hawking of pimple cleansers could be a message from aliens alerting us they're going to take over the Earth, and we'd still be thinking about the look on Kristen Bell's face as she watches that explosion in the sky, a perversion of teenage openness in which a young person, ostensibly with everything to look forward to, is instead looking out on a vast world of grief.
One of the purposes of season finales is to wrap up a million and one loose ends -- or, in the case of "Veronica Mars," a million and two: Former gang leader Weevil (Francis Capra) gets to graduate -- almost. (The A-1 asshole Sheriff Lamb, played by Michael Muhney, arrests him just as he's about to get his diploma, as his grandmother looks on.)
We get a brief glimpse of Veronica's ex-boyfriend, Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn), on a beach in Australia, with his baby daughter -- and we learn that he's just succeeded, via a hit man, in avenging the death of his sister, Lilly, whose murderer, Aaron Echolls (Harry Hamlin), has just been set free.
And we learn that Jackie Cook (Tessa Thompson) is, instead of the poor little rich girl she's always pretended to be, really a teenage mom who no longer wants to run away from her responsibilities.
But like any great TV show, "Veronica Mars" is so much more than just the sum of its elaborate (sometimes perhaps too elaborate) plot machinations. The really interesting things on "Veronica Mars" all happen in the margins: It's in the way Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), Veronica's onetime boyfriend, can be an outright jerk one minute and the next inform her, with lovesickness so genuine that we have no trouble believing it, that their love is "epic."
It's in the way whiz-girl Mac (played by the charming Tina Majorino) steps in to help Weevil with his algebra (he needs to pass the final in order to graduate, which is his grandmother's dream), cajoling him into at least a cursory understanding of all those damn numbers and symbols -- even though the two of them have almost nothing in common.
But mostly, it's in the light-as-gossamer, tough-as-nails relationship Veronica has with her father. The two are partners in the family detective agency: Keith pretends to prefer that Veronica focus on her schoolwork, but he also knows she's capable of getting information he can't. And instead of just doting on her, he genuinely admires her -- you can see it in the proud flicker of a smile that creases Colantoni's face when she's come up with some brilliant, previously hidden snippet of information.
Colantoni -- who played the Thermian leader Mathesar in "Galaxy Quest" -- is a marvelous actor, and the rapport between him and Bell is one of the loveliest, most unsentimental parent-child relationships ever seen on television. In an earlier episode, after an instance in which Veronica lied to him, his anger is so palpable it's frightening. But you can see how deep his love for his daughter cuts into him: He wants to keep her safe, but protecting her too much would only undercut her independence, and her intelligence.
In another episode, Veronica learns that she has contracted chlamydia, although she doesn't immediately know how she got it. She says the word aloud, and matter-of-factly, an astonishing thing even by the standards of modern TV: No coy euphemisms here, not even the generically handy term "venereal disease." And there's no "A Very Special Veronica Mars" speech in which she vows to be a good girl from now on. (The show never pretends that these high school kids don't have a sex life.) All kinds of things that we feel we can't, or shouldn't, talk about, "Veronica Mars" blurts out.
Veronica doesn't tell her father she has chlamydia: He learns about it in a crowded courtroom, when it's brought up during Aaron Echolls' murder trial, as a way of discrediting her. The look on Keith's face, the set of his gently wrinkled brow, tell us 12 things at once: He's surprised and concerned; he's angry that any misfortune his daughter has suffered is being used as the tool of scumbags; he maybe wonders why Veronica didn't tell him, and is pained by fact that she didn't tell him -- and yet he can't blame her a bit for not wanting to tell him. This is more than just a "My little girl is growing up" moment. It's a small flash of recognition that he has to allow Veronica, as an adult, her privacy, which means his role as her protector and caretaker has its definite limits.
Veronica is sometimes rankled by her father's protectiveness. But mostly, she understands him so well as a human being -- he's just doing his job, doing what dads do -- that it's not even an issue. In a dewy-edged, painful dream sequence during this finale, Veronica imagines an alternative graduation day: Her parents are still together (in Veronica's real life, her mother, played by Corinne Bohrer, has a serious drinking problem and has left her family behind); Logan Echolls, and not Duncan Kane, is her true-blue boyfriend; and her best friend, Lilly Kane, is still alive. Everyone is happier this way, and at one point during this dream of the way things ought to be, Veronica looks at her father and catches the look of contentment on his face.
The moment represents everything she wants for him -- a recognition of the reality that part of growing up is wanting happiness as much for our parents as we do for ourselves. And Bell, a terrific actress who knows how to turn a tossed-off zinger into the best kind of "I love you," captures that realization perfectly. Her lively, intelligent eyes are always busy reading the people around her. Veronica, as a good detective always does, is always stepping into other people's shoes.
But later in this episode, when she sees that ball of fire in the sky and realizes that her father may have been taken away from her forever, there are no shoes to stand in but her own. Long after that endless commercial break, we realize Keith Mars isn't dead. But for a time, we live with Veronica's loss, and we feel it as if it were our own. Even those of us who lost parents long ago, and under far less dramatic circumstances, are likely to have felt a pang. You're never too old to be an orphan.
-- By Stephanie Zacharek
Jenny/The First: Hmm. You think you can fight me? I'm not a demon, little girl. I am something that you can't even conceive. The First Evil. Beyond sin, beyond death. I am the thing the darkness fears. You'll never see me, but I am everywhere. Every being, every thought, every drop of hate.
BUFFY: (loses her patience) Alright, I get it. You're evil. Do we have to chat about it all day?
There be spoilers below for Veronica Mars Season Two. Beware!
Kyle Gallner is best known for his role as Cassidy Casablancas, aka Beaver, on Veronica Mars. Neglected by his parents, subjected to constant harassment from his brother, and basically living without friends, Cassidy reached his breaking point in Season Two. On the flip side, his character Jason on Big Love is always trying to walk the straight and narrow, and encouraging his best friend to do the same.
Now, giving time for fans to digest the Veronica Mars finale, Kyle speaks with us about Cassidy, his skateboarding skills and his greatest fears.
How far in advance were you told that Cassidy was the evil mastermind of Season Two?
About a month in advance. There were rumors going around the set for a few months about who the killer was – some got pretty close. A few weeks prior to shooting the finale, Rob calls me one day and explains to me that I would be the killer and that I was behind the whole bus crash. It was pretty intense.
Wow, I can imagine. What was your reaction?
(laughs) I don't even know what to say. It was like… "Are you kidding?" (laughs)
If you found out later, is there anything (any scene or line) you would've done differently?
Probably not. [The character] was written that way for a reason because it made the reveal of Cassidy all the more shocking. They pretty much wrote him with the perfect balance of good and evil.
In your opinion, did Beaver feel any remorse at all about the bus crash? Or was he really just that broken?
Cassidy was just really broken. His dad – he looked right through and ignored him, his mom was never there, his brother – all he wants to do is publicly humiliate him. Until he met Mac, he was pretty much by himself. I think that's why things went the way they did with Woody Goodman. He was such a lost kid and wanted nothing more than to be accepted. He wanted to be accepted and loved and Woody took advantage of that.
But I don't think he felt any remorse about the bus crash until the end, right before he jumped. He realized that what he did was wrong and he had nothing more to live for, and he had messed things up so badly that there was no way he could fix it and him ending it all was pretty much the only thing he could do.
Your delivery of your last line, "My Name is Cassidy," in "Not Pictured," was amazing. I gasped when I watched it, and got a little weepy. I've noticed similar reactions of fans online. Did it take you long to prepare for that?
As soon as I found out I was going to be the killer, I was like, "Okay, I need that script now." I studied the script from the day I got it up until the day I filmed it, pretty much working it out.
Did you find that it changed the way you filmed the episodes that came before the finale?
It was definitely a sense of "this is it, this is the end." I want to do something good – if I'm going to go out, I'm going out with a bang. I definitely – I don't want to say that I didn't work hard on the other episodes, but I knew that was my last chance, that was it.
When you read the script, what was your thought process preparing for that scene?
I [needed] to be basically as evil as I can up until the point where I realize I'm in trouble, and realize that I'm really this abused and troubled kid who wanted nothing more than [to have] a parent who loved him, a brother who loved him, real friends. I had screwed it up so badly. [As an actor,] I had to go from one extreme to another in, like, a second. It was trying to imagine how that would really feel.
Did Beaver love Mac?
Yeah, yes. I think that Beaver definitely did love Mac. In the show, she's like the only person to actually challenge him, she could actually make him laugh, she was the only person he could be himself with, the only person who liked him for who he was. To Cassidy, she was his biggest escape – she was the only one that Cassidy would never hurt.
In the scene where Cassidy ended up taking her clothes, and she was crying in the corner, I'm sure that people would see it as mean and awful. But when I read the script, the way that I saw it is that Cassidy took her clothes to keep her out of harm's way. The last thing Cassidy would want was for her to be up on that roof, for her to potentially get hurt or to get in trouble. In Cassidy's mind, it was his own twisted way of protecting her and making sure that everything was okay.
That's really interesting. And a much nicer interpretation of the line "He took everything."
Oh sure, her scene was… heartbreaking. I was watching it thinking, "Oh my god, I'm so mean." But I read it as… Cassidy wanted to keep her safe.
Did the cast watch the last episode together?
Rob Thomas threw a party at his house to watch the season finale and a bunch of people showed up.
What was the general reaction to the finale?
Everybody liked it – for me, it was really bizarre because I had finished filming the season and I knew it was over, and I knew I was dead, I knew I was gone but there were episodes that still needed to be aired. So there was a little part that needed to be finished and as soon as the episode aired, it's was kind of like, "wow, it's over. It's really over."
What will you miss most about being on Veronica Mars?
I'm going to miss the people the most. Everyone was really close, like a family – I'd never worked on a set where everybody got along so well.
It's also nice to have constant work. With acting, it's a lot of ups and downs – I was on the show for a year, and I can go weeks or months without work. I'm really grateful to Rob Thomas and everybody for giving me the opportunity to work on that show for so long.
So, Ryan Hansen. . . how much like Dick Casablancas is he, really?
They're total opposites (laughs). Ryan is the nicest person you will ever meet. He's like a big kid – we got along like we were real brothers. When we were filming, I stayed at his place in San Diego. We're really close – it was cool.
No public humiliation?
We might have publicly humiliated ourselves, but that was on purpose.
When you stepped off the roof for Cassidy's big finish, what was actually there? Air mattress? Floor? Blue screen?
We did it twice – the actual filming on the roof, there was a helicopter pad on the roof. They made a replica of the railing – what I did was step up on that and jump off the railing into an air mattress.
So, you didn't actually have to jump off a roof.
No, but it was creepy, though. Even though you know you're completely safe, the edge of the building is like only 8 feet away. It's pretty unnerving. It took me about ten minutes to build up the nerve to jump off the roof the first time.
Do you have a general fear of heights, or was it just so much at that moment?
See, that's the thing. I do not have a fear of heights at all. I was the kid who would see how high I could get in the trees. I was always climbing something. But I wasn't allowed to look down, I had to step off completely blind and backwards.
Yeah, it was pretty scary. We did it a second time in the studio in front of a green screen where they built a little platform for me to jump off into an air mattress.
Not nearly as frightening?
Everyone is dying to know – Who is the Sally that Dick referred to? If you don't know exactly, do you have any theories of your own?
Sally is an empty threat – there's nothing to Sally. The writers threw it in as a way to get Dick off me.
So you have no theories.
I have no theories, I know nothing (laughs). She might show up in Season Three, you never know.
Sally may show up after all, avenge Cassidy's death.
You never know, she could!
<snipped the stuff about his role on Big Love>
Name your number one irrational fear.
Well, this contradicts the not being afraid of heights thing, I am terrified of flying. I am a wreck right before I get on an airplane.
That, and the ocean. I can only get in there for 10 minutes, I have this strong urge to run out and I won't go back in for the rest of the day. I've always been like that.
What talent do you wish you had?
I wish I could sing really well.
Would you like to have your own band?
Oh man, that'd be awesome. I would love to have my own band.
What kind of music would you play?
That's a good question – I'm all over the board with music, from one extreme to the other. But, some kind of rock band just for fun. I think being able to perform would be my favorite thing.
Do you play any instruments right now?
No, I cannot play an instrument to save my life. I'm no good, I get bored easily.
What have you been listening to lately?
I just throw it on shuffle and go. If I'm by myself and walking around, I need music. I don't know why.
Do you have any comfort bands?
I wouldn't say comfort bands, I have a few songs that'll just calm me down. A big one is REM's "Nightswimming." It's very nice – you sit back and it's like, 'okay, this is good.'
It is very nice, as long as it's not nightswimming in the ocean.
There's a video online with you skateboarding – how did you get into it? Are you still doing it?
God, yeah. (laughs) I skateboard every once in a while, I don't do it nearly as much as I used to. Me and some friends back in Philadelphia we would just, in high school, do it for fun and film ourselves. The video online is from a video called "Sleffer" that my buddy Brendan put together. He took all his tapes and found the old footage of me and my buddies skating and put it together. And my buddy Sean took my part out of the video and put it online as a joke.
It's nice to have something like that – the video, it reminds me of home. They're making a sequel, actually, called "Big Times."
Are you going to go back to be in it?
I'm not going to be in that. I'd have to go back for a couple of weeks, get [all my skills] back, I've pretty much lost everything.
Between your tree climbing and your skateboarding, did you ever fall and break anything?
No, no, knock on wood. It's been a good run.
Leto II: We're about to go through the crucible, but we'll come out the other side. We always arise from our own ashes. Everything returns later in its... changed form.
A couple fans have gone to a great deal of effort into re-editing the show. Go here: vmcp.nfshost.com/ to download all the Season 1 flashbacks in chronological order, and all the footage of Cassidy Casablancas in both seasons of Veronica Mars, in chronological order. I have only watched the Cassidy clip so far, but I was very impressed with how seamless the editing was.
Whoa, Giles has a TV. Everybody, Giles has a TV! He's shallow like us.
Smart girls Veronica Mars and 30 Rock go to the head of the class By CHARLES TAYLOR December 12, 2006 1:34:11 PM
In its third year, Veronica Mars, late of UPN, joins the new CW network (Tuesdays at 9 pm) as the most critically praised show on its roster. That praise has never fully translated into ratings, and the CW initially ordered only 13 new episodes (since upped to 20). In a TV season that’s seen CBS kill off the most daring new show, the critically acclaimed and star-powered Smith (with a cast that included Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen), after only three episodes, that’s still reason for fans to worry.
Presenting itself as a smart-ass Nancy Drew, Veronica Mars is perhaps the quickest, brainiest, snappiest show on TV. Teen sleuth Veronica (Kirsten Bell) and her private-detective single dad Keith (the wonderful Enrico Colantoni) enjoy a father-daughter version of the breezy, lovingly sarcastic repartee you associate with The Thin Man or The Big Sleep. (Maybe you have to be an only child to know that this kind of wise-acre talk between parent and child isn’t as unlikely as it might seem.) The great joke of Veronica Mars has always been that since Veronica grew up helping out her dad with everything from office work to background checks to stake-outs, she grew up with parental approval to do everything kids are taught not to do: lie, snoop, sneak around. And since Veronica, formerly in favor with the rich kids of her rich SoCal home town, took a social nosedive when Keith was fired from his job as sheriff (he’d insisted that the guy fingered for the murder of Veronica’s best friend was innocent), she had already achieved the outsider status of the classic gumshoe.
It was the inspiration of the show’s creator, Rob Thomas, to take the sunny California setting that has served so many noirs and hard-boiled novels and transplant it to high school. And with the wised-up seen-it-all attitude of noir and hard-boiled fiction, the show could address issues of class and sex and corruption without seeming like a prime-time Afterschool Special. (An example of its guts: a few weeks into its first season, on Election Night 2004, it ran an episode in which a high-school campaign was stolen. While Bush was seesawing to a second term on the other networks, VM was reminding viewers how he got the first one.)
Series about teenagers generally have trouble managing the tone shift when the characters head to college. (And viewers often have trouble acclimating to the new tone.) VM sent Veronica into college this season as sassy and confident as ever — and then watched as she gets it all wrong. In one of this season’s first episodes, her eagerness to prove that a sorority house has a link to a series of campus rapes results in her outing a school official who’s growing marijuana to alleviate the pain she suffers from chemotherapy. And even when Veronica is right, clearing a frat house of the rapes, she might as well be wrong in the eyes of people like her friend’s roommate, who’s one of the rape victims. Veronica is getting an education by fire, her eagerness to show what she can do ramming smack into her realization that there are realms of human experience and knowledge of which she has no idea. What’s especially bold about the show this season is that she’s been plunked down among kids who, with the self-righteousness of youth, believe they already know all they need to. And so the show is functioning as something like a metaphor for the preconceptions and rejections of nuance that characterize public discourse in America right now.
There’s much more to say about Veronica Mars. How Kirsten Bell has timing so sharp you could slice your fingers on it. (Watching her, you can imagine that Dorothy Malone’s sexy and sassy bookstore clerk in The Big Sleep has taken over from Philip Marlowe.) How Jason Dohring has transformed his character, Veronica’s boyfriend, from arrogant rich kid to rich kid doing his damnedest to be a human being. The dimpled sarcasm of Tina Majorino as Veronica’s buddy Mac, and the faith the show puts in its audience by employing labyrinthine plotting conveyed in shorthand bursts, knowledge transmitted through a line, or a sudden edit. What needs to be said is, if you’re not watching it, you should be, and if the CW cuts the show loose, it will have earned a special circle in Hell. One more Big Sleep reference: remember when Martha Vickers says to Humphrey Bogart, “You’re not very tall,” and he replies, “I try to be”? CW execs: attempt to be tall.
Whoa, Giles has a TV. Everybody, Giles has a TV! He's shallow like us.