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Live: The 'Veronica Mars' movie panel with Kristen Bell

Live: The 'Veronica Mars' movie panel with Kristen Bell
Minute-by-minute updates of the Veronica Mars movie panel at Comic-Con, live and direct from San Diego.

A Veronica Mars movie with the entire cast on board? For a long while, the stuff of dreams.

But then we all know what happened when creator Rob Thomas took to Kickstarter in March with his idea to bring back Kristen Bell's eponymous heroine for a big-screen outing.

Fast forward a few months and it is actually happening, and not only that, but it's here at Comic-Con. Today's preview panel features the entire cast as well as a "special video presentation" of footage shot so far.

Please note that all times in this live blog are Pacific, which is eight hours behind the UK and three hours behind the East Coast.

Next up here in Hall H, the Veronica Mars movie! Our panel will be underway in around ten minutes' time.

Major drama involving the toilets. Men are not allowed to stand on the carpeted area outside to wait for their turn and are being practically frogmarched to an alternative outside Hall H.

Rest assured I'll keep you updated with all developments in the washroom area.

Two big security men have just walked past. Security Man #1: "This right here will shut the whole thing down. The fire marshal will not tolerate people waiting on the carpet."

Security Man #2: "Extra staff are needed at the bathroom stat. That was way too close for comfort."

Anyway, enough toilet talk. Let's move on to Veronica Mars, which I'll shorten to VM for the rest of this blog.

The cast on today's panel: Kristen Bell, Francis Capra, Enrico Colantoni, Percy Daggs III, Jason Dohring, Ryan Hansen, Chris Lowell, Tina Majorino and Krysten Ritter.

We start with an amazing sizzle reel for the film, with the familiar theme tune playing out in the background.

Way too much going on in this trailer for me to try to recount it, but I'm sure it'll be on YouTube later on. Kristen Bell looks not a day older.

Out come the cast, Jason Dohring wearing a 'Team Piz' T-shirt.

Rob Thomas: "It sort of has a Godfather 3 theme to it. Veronica as we find her, she has not worked as a PD since the last time you saw her in season three. Part of the movie is her getting back into the life she thought she'd left behind."

"The story I wanna tell is the one the fans wanted to see. I know what the pleasure zones are for VM viewers and I wrote to those."

Bell recalls hearing the show had been cancelled while she was filming Forgetting Sarah Marshall: "I found out the day before I shot the scene in Sarah Marshall before Sarah Marshall finds out her show was being cancelled."

What was her first line in the film? Bell: "My first line back was 'Charming drink names, I can't decide between a beast with two backs or a donkey punch'."

Capra: "I had kept it alive a lot on forums and talked about it so much with fans. The hope was there but I never expected this. I was literally hyperventilating overt my keyboard."

Majorino: "All of us secretly hoped this would happen but I didn't get my hopes up too much. To be able to come back to set, it's been really exciting. It doesn't feel like work. You go to work every day and you're hanging out with your friends."

Daggs: "When it happened, I was already mentally ready to dive right in. Being on set, it felt like a high school reunion but you had to leave after an hour."

How easy was it to slip back into the father-daughter chemistry? Colantoni: "It was easy. It was not hard. Kristen and I hang out at hockey games together. I adore her. When I'm not working with her, I'm admiring her from afar. It's easy to look at her and have this paternal thing for her. Now she's a momma, we have all the more to talk about."

On filming the Kickstarter video, Hansen: "It was like a year and a half ago that we were talking. Rob invited us over to Kristen's friend's house to shoot it."

Lowell: "I wore this shirt today (Team Logan) just so I wouldn't be shot on stage today. I'm so excited to be back. I've had some funky fan interactions, that's true, I was responsible for breaking up Logan and Veronica. I've had fans approach me as if I've interrupted their relationships."

Dohring: "We all cared about it so much, it was our show. The fan support from day one was amazing. It's emotional for us, too. We were really into it, invested in it, and I think that's what you see in the show. It's real emotion. I love Kristen too, like Rico."

Audience Q&A. Did Bell do anything special on set to celebrate her birthday yesterday? "We shot until 5am on Wednesday night, and probably about 12.20 Rob made an embarrassing announcement and made the whole crew sing. It was lovely."

Was Bell nervous about being able to reprise the character? "I was nervous about it but I don't think I struggled. There's a very strange connection between Rob's brain and my brain. I've never had a problem remembering his dialogue ever. So it wasn't difficult at all."

Favourite scenes? Thomas: "When I started writing the movie, I would get on the treadmill each day and watch an episode. We got to the Veronica-Logan kiss, and then I rewound it. And rewound it. And rewound it. Then my wife entered, and I had tears in my eyes. It was embarrassing. I was crying at my own work."

Hansen unbuttons his shirt to reveal a 'TEAM DICK' T-shirt.

Colantoni recalls his tiny daughter watching VM for the first time and seeing Veronica call Keith dad.

Thomas says they have two days left of shooting and wrap on Monday.

Thomas: "We made an incredibly ambitious, sprawling, low-budget movie. We couldn't have done it if we'd all been working together for the first time. But the actors know the roles. They are literally getting just three or four chances at a line because we are moving so fast. We never have to luxuriate in a scene, we have to hit it, nail it, and move on to the next scene."

Will any of the other Echolls be returning? Dohring: "No. I know Rob mentioned something about not reprising dead people." Thomas: "Trina did not make the movie. We love Alison though."

Does Thomas feel it's a Firefly-style dream cast? "I feel that way, this is absolutely a dream cast. It's important to get that right early and I think that's one thing we got right."

Any improv during the scenes and who taught Jason how to smoulder? Bell: "The heavens." Daggs: "I don't even think I'd have got this role if it wasn't for the chemistry I had straight away with Kristen in the screen test." Bell: "Improv is wonderful and a lot of magic can come from it, but there needs to be more credit given... a good writer is allowed to be militant about their words. Rob is a really good writer and a word Nazi."

Thomas: "There will be plenty of Easter eggs in there that you will enjoy because you know the TV series, but I didn't want to put too many references in there. I wanted the movie to be start of something. All anyone needs to know is that when Veronica was a teenager, she had this weird part-time job as a private eye."

If they could play any other character, who would it be? Hansen: "Dick." Dohring: "Dick." Capra and Daggs say each other. Bell: "Hmmmmm.... Dick." Thomas: "Principal Clemmons."

Thomas talks about the VM spinoff books just announced. He confirms they will pick up where the movies left off.

Does he want to do more movies? Thomas: "Yes I do. I want to be a Bond franchise. Hopefully next time the studio will just give us the money."

And that's a wrap on this panel. Join me soon for Kick-Ass 2!

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Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars
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