The latest chapter in the world of Veronica Mars, Play It Again, Dick, does not focus on Veronica’s crime solving abilities, nor is it about her pals and enemies in Neptune, Calif. No, the web series Play It Again, Dick, which premiered this week on CW Seed, focuses on the antics of Ryan Hansen, one of the show’s real-life actors. The Ryan Hansen on screen, however, is not really Ryan Hansen, instead it’s a version of Ryan Hansen invented by Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas, back as creator and executive producer of Play It Again, Dick.
As Hansen (the real one) told EW, this Ryan Hansen has more than a little in common with his Veronica Mars character, Dick Casablancas, a jerky, but strangely affable surfer bro. The series imagines fake-Ryan attempting to get a series about Dick off the ground. A number of Hansen’s Veronica Mars co-stars are also back to, like Hansen, skewer their own personas and takes on their Mars characters in this twisted world. EW talked to Hansen about playing this warped version of himself and continuing the Veronica Mars legacy in this zany fashion.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How has it been since the series launched?
RYAN HANSEN: It’s been great. I’m so thankful that the fans have responded so well. They love it so much, and that they let Veronica Mars take this weird web turn for a second and be this goofy little web show. It’s so awesome that they love it.
What was the conversation like between you and Rob that led to a Dick Casablancas-focused web series?
[Veronica Mars producer] Danielle Stokdyk and Andy Mellett [of Warner Bros.] came to me before there was the movie and said, “Hey, we want to do this little web promotion for the movie, and what do you think?” I’m like, “I’m totally in, I think it’s a great idea.” And then we asked The CW if we could do it and they said, “wait, we think this a great idea, we want to put it on our website and all this stuff.” Then Rob got involved and he was like, “whoa, if we’re going to do this, we’ve got to do this right.” So Rob and Bob Dearden wrote this thing. We didn’t do it before the movie, we didn’t have time, obviously. Once I read it I was like it’s absolutely insane, and I think that the fans will love it.
Was the process of devising these versions of the Veronica Mars cast members collaborative?
Absolutely not collaborative. Rob definitely came up with all of it and we were like, this is so great and so fun. Everyone’s obviously playing a heightened version of themselves and even in the pilot that we shoot it’s supposed to be my take on what I want these characters to be obviously and it’s ridiculous. Percy [Daggs III, who played Wallace on Veronica Mars] is so funny in it. And Francis [Capra, who played Weevil] plays this weird, trying to win an Oscar type of thing.
Was it funny to see which personality traits Rob gave you when writing the version of yourself?
I feel like the version of myself is still kind of Dick, which is so fun and funny. In the show-within-the-show I try to play this badass. It was absolutely ridiculous, kind of like David Caruso.
Were there moments of realization when everyone was reading the script, where people said “oh, Rob made me this?”
Everyone kind of went through that, and we wanted to explain, no this isn’t supposed to be you, we’re making fun of ourselves. So I think everyone had to go through that. I bring up Percy. In the show he’s this real gangster—so not Percy, so not Wallace—which is really fun. I think at first he was like, “well, wait a minute, if I’m going to me”—like, no, no, no, it’s just a version of you.
Rob has said that the show has a tonal similarity to Party Down, in which you also starred, I was wondering if you could talk about playing that Hollywood satire.
They are similar in that way that they are really funny and all that stuff, but you feel bad for everyone in Party Down, you definitely feel bad for Dick for trying to make this wannabe action show that is so bad. They are kind of like the anti-Entourage versions of Hollywood.
What was the filming process like?
That is one of the most fun parts about having Veronica Mars back is that we all get to hang out together. Since the show, some of us all see each other sporadically, but for the press of the movie and shooting the movie we all got to see each other and hang. Once again this little web series brings us all back together and everyone’s going to hang again. Having these friendships carry on too is very sweet.
There are always questions about the further life of Veronica Mars. In addition to returning to the show’s Neptune, do you see yourself returning to Play It Again, Dick?
I don’t know! I’m totally game. I don’t know. I think there’s more of a chance of us going back to the real Veronica Mars. Maybe a part two or sequel. I think that’s probably more likely to happen.
I loved that line in the first episode when Kristen [Bell] says that Rob always had a “blind spot” for Dick. What is it that people have latched onto Dick?
He’s the comic relief in some sense. You can make him say or do anything and people kind of go along with it. He’s kind of this lovable douchebag who can kind of do whatever. I think the writers and Rob really enjoyed playing with Dick in that sense. And that kind of translates to this Play It Again, Dick web series you kind of just go with it, because you’re like, well, he can do anything, he’s Dick. It just kind of made sense to have the wacky funny guy to try to do take the Veronica Mars hype and make it a comedy.
In the second episode [spoiler alert] Chris Lowell [Veronica Mars‘ Piz] has a big, naked reveal after video chatting with you. Where did the butt shot come from?
That right there is 100 percent Lowell. That was not written in the script. There’s some stuff like that will pop up in the show that people add to the script itself. Chris Lowell’s naked ass? That’s all Chris’s idea and he loves his naked ass and he will show it any time he gets the chance.