March 12, 2014— -- intro: Seven years after its small screen fade-out, the TV series "Veronica Mars" is enjoying an unusual resurrection as a movie that reunites its star Kristen Bell and the original cast.
Bell, recently acclaimed as the voice of Anna in the Oscar-winning animated film, "Frozen," starred as the teenage sleuth at the center of the "Veronica Mars" series, which ran for 64 episodes over three seasons. She told ABC's Chris Connelly in a sitdown interview for "Nightline" that she always felt "Veronica Mars" could be a movie.
"I've wanted to make a movie since the day our production shut down," Bell said. "Our cast stayed very close, so we knew everyone was in."
Usually movies don't receive funding the way Bell and Rob Thomas, the original show's creator/producer turned director, approached it. On March 13, 2013, they posted videos on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, soliciting donations towards the making of a "Veronica Mars" movie.
"It's funny, I didn't struggle with the idea of fundraising through the fans," Bell said. "We didn't steal from anyone. We said, 'Would you guys want to buy your tickets like way in advance, like maybe two years in advance, before we even make the movie?' And thankfully they said yes."
In one month, more than 91,000 fans gave over $5 million, enough to make a "Veronica Mars" film that a Warner Bros. division would distribute. The new film premieres Friday in select theaters nationwide.
Many familiar faces from the TV series' original cast are returning to star in the "Veronica Mars" film. Take a look at how a few of these actors have evolved since the show ended.
quicklist:1title: Kristen Bell -- Veronica Marsmedia: 22883321text: From the start, Bell felt that the character Veronica Mars, a high schooler with the quick wit of an old-school detective, was a perfect fit for her skill set.
"So much of me is in Veronica," Bell told "Nightline." "I present a lot sweeter of an exterior than I'm maybe thinking all the time. I think a lot of snarky stuff I just don't often say it because I know better."
After the show ended in 2007, Bell kept busy, landing roles in a handful of movies and TV series. She played the self-centered leading lady Sarah Marshall in both "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Get Him to the Greek," as well as Jeannie Van Der Hooven in TV's "House of Lies." She was also the voice of the mysterious "Gossip Girl" in the successful TV series about the scandalous antics of New York City's wealthy high schoolers.
Bell's most recent work as the voice of Anna in the Oscar-winning animated Disney film "Frozen" has earned her wide acclaim, but she is excited to have "Veronica Mars" on the big screen.
"This is important to me," she said. "This isn't just like another job that I took. I really care about this? I hope they like it. I hope they like it."
quicklist:2title: Jason Dohring -- Logan Echolls media: 22883197text: Playing brooding bad-boy Logan Echolls, Veronica Mars' dead best friend's boyfriend turned love interest, earned Dohring lots of attention when he took on the role in the original series.
"I'd have these girls at the mall, like these old ladies be like, 'I hate your character,' and they'd be like, 'but I saw that last episode and I don't know,' Dohring told "Nightline."
After "Veronica Mars," Dohring went on to star in a few short-lived TV series, including "Ringer" and "Moonlight," but he is returning as Logan Echolls for the "Veronica Mars" movie. He even had a hand in helping the Kickstarter campaign with the rest of the original cast.
"We will be leaving voice recordings for people on their message machines. People get to name some of the characters in the movie, for a donation, which I thought was a great idea," he said.
quicklist:3title: Amanda Seyfried -- Lilly Kanemedia: 22883049text: In the first season of the original series, Veronica Mars is faced with a bad break-up with her boyfriend, Duncan Kane. Then her best friend and Duncan's sister, Lilly Kane, is murdered, and Veronica is launched on a path to becoming a private detective.
Lilly Kane, played by Amanda Seyfried, only crops up in a handful of "Veronica Mars" episodes and is not slated to make an appearance in the new film. But since the TV series, Seyfried has gone on to have a successful film career, most notably landing lead roles in the musical movie versions of "Mamma Mia" and "Les Miserables."
quicklist:4title: Enrico Colantoni -- Keith Marsmedia: 22883103text: When Veronica Mars' father Sheriff Keith Mars lost his job and started his own private investigation agency, his daughter began helping him solve cases and gather evidence.
Enrico Colantoni, who played Keith Mars in the original "Veronica Mars," went on to have roles in a few TV series, including "Person of Interest" and "Flashpoint." But Colantoni is returning to the film adaptation of "Veronica Mars" to step back into Keith Mars' boots.
quicklist:5title: Francis Capra -- Eli 'Weevil' Navarromedia: 22883152text: When "Veronica Mars" the movie got the green light, Francis Capra, who played Eli "Weevil' Navarro on the original TV series and will return to that role for the film adaptation, said the project "saved his life."
"I've been going through some personal things here and there," he told "Nightline." "This movie saved my life. The fans out there,giving me another shot to play this guy, from the bottom of my heart, they saved my life."
quicklist:6title: Tina Majorino -- Cindy 'Mac' Mackenzie media: 22883617text: After Lilly Kane's death, Veronica Mars made new friends who proved useful in helping her solve cases, notably, computer hacking genius Cindy 'Mac' Mackenzie.
Tina Majorino, who played Mac in the original series, is also returning for the movie version of "Veronica Mars," but this is not her first foray in a TV-series- film-adaptation resurrection. After playing the role of Deb in the cult classic film, "Napoleon Dynamite," she went on to voice the same character when the film was turned into a short-lived cartoon TV series.
Majorino also had short stints on popular TV series, including as Molly on "True Blood" and Dr. Heather Brooks on "Grey's Anatomy."
quicklist:7title: Percy Daggs III -- Wallace Fennelmedia: 22883373text: When he wasn't trying to hold his own on the basketball court, Wallace Fennel, played by Percy Daggs, helped Veronica Mars with her detective work, such as stealing student files from the principal's office.
Daggs is returning to his role as Wallace in the upcoming "Veronica Mars" film.
quicklist:8title: Ryan Hansen -- Dick Casablancasmedia: 22882933text: In the original series, Dick Casablancas, a womanizer and a horrible bully, is one of "09ers" -- based off a fictional wealthy zipcode. He pals around with Logan Echolls, stirring up trouble, until his glamorous life falls apart.
After the "Veronica Mars" series ended, Ryan Hansen, who played Dick Casablancas, went on to have small roles on TV's "Party Down," "Friends with Benefits" and "2 Broke Girls." He will be returning to the "Veronica Mars" film adaptation to become Dick Casablancas once again.