On the CW's Veronica Mars (Tuesdays at 9 pm/ET), Kristen Bell plays a sassy crime fighter who revels in putting the bad guys behind bars (or at least getting a bit of payback). But in the newly released DVD for Fifty Pills, fans will get to see quite a different side of her as a somewhat proper love interest to a fella who has to sell Ecstasy in order to stay in college. TVGuide.com asked Bell about the indie flick as well as the rest of Veronica Mars' Season 3 — including her current take on Logan and Veronica's fate.
TVGuide.com: Fifty Pills has sort of an American Pie kind of vibe.
Kristen Bell: Yeah, it definitely has that feel to it.
TVGuide.com: And you get to play the nice good girl.
Bell: Yes, which is a change. It's probably, to date, one of the girliest characters I've played — and she's not even that girly. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Well, her wardrobe is very put together.
Bell: Yes. And you know, it was kind of the go-to, moralistic girlfriend. There's so much confusion and chaos happening in the movie, and she's sort of the one that's very sweet and straightforward. Most of the time, that stuff can be fairly boring for an actor, but I actually felt that it was cool, because as you see in the scene in the end where she says, "You know, you're just not who I thought you were," it didn't end up being all crazy dramatic. She was just a young college girl realizing that this crush isn't going to be anything more than a crush, 'cause he's not who she needs him to be.
TVGuide.com: When you were in college, did you know anyone like either the popular drug dealer Coleman (Nip/Tuck's John Hensley) or the reluctant pusher Darren (Chumscrubber's Lou Taylor Pucci)?
Bell: Absolutely, I did. [Laughs] I will cease to name names, but I definitely did. And it's funny, because I went to NYU and the writer, Matt Perniciaro, went to NYU. Not necessarily the drugs per se, but the crazy lifestyle and getting in too deep too quickly is common in New York, I think.
TVGuide.com: Right, you can get into a lot of trouble in the city.
Bell: You definitely can!
TVGuide.com: And it's definitely different in L.A.
Bell: It's definitely different having to get in your car. I lived in New York for almost five years, and every time I came out to Los Angeles when I first moved here, I was carsick, even when I was driving. I think I was so not used to it, to the rumble underneath the car. I'm OK now.
TVGuide.com: Don't you have a really long commute to get to Veronica?
Bell: I do. Now I'm the opposite, I'm in the car so much. It's much better now.
TVGuide.com: Do you ordinarily like teen comedy fare?
Bell: I like so many different things, I really don't know until I read it. This one I like, because I thought, this is a fun script, I laughed when I read it, I really like the people involved, and they really assembled an up-and-coming megacast.
TVGuide.com: The cast is amazing.
Bell: And keep in mind, we shot this two and a half years ago. I noticed the producers and director had a very good eye, and I felt the potential behind it. I thought it would be a really fun experience, because I liked everybody going into it.
TVGuide.com: Like your roommate, played by Nora Zehetner. She had a big role on Heroes this season, and before that I didn't really see her that much.
Bell: Right, I love Nora. She was on Everwood for a while, she's great. It's actually just a really fun group of people, we made it for no money, we shot over the weekends — because I actually shot it during Veronica Mars — so it was real, slightly guerrilla moviemaking. It was just what moviemaking was all about, there was nothing "studio" about it, we didn't have to answer to anybody.... Everybody made suggestions, and they were heard.
TVGuide.com: Are you doing anything during your upcoming hiatus?
Bell: I am, I'm doing a movie called Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is Judd Apatow's (The 40 Year Old Virgin) new movie. Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) wrote and is starring in it. Nick Stoller is directing. It's really, really funny, and I'm very excited to be involved in it.
TVGuide.com: Do you look for "funny" stuff, since during the season you're doing action and drama? Not that Veronica Mars doesn't have funny moments, but it's definitely heavier.
Bell: I think I do have my eye out for comedy a little bit more, only because I think I keep my emotions so close to the surface, I tend to audition for and cast easier in dramatic stuff. But what I really love is comedy, and I love the fact that in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, there will be a lot of improv. I love improv comedy, and I think that at heart, I would love to do comedy, so I'm starting to break away from "mysterious" roles.
TVGuide.com: Improv is theatrical, and you have theater work in your background, so it must be exciting being able to use that.
Bell: Absolutely. There are a lot of things that are similar between improv and the theater, and I think that's why it's so exciting to me. At Veronica Mars, they are drill sergeants about every single word, and believe me, they have a right to be, because we've all heard the writing, we've all read it, and it's brilliant. And when you write brilliant words as a brilliant writer, you have the right to hear it exactly as you wrote it. I give them the utmost amount of respect. As an actor, there are certain times when I have the instinct and I'd really like to express myself a bit more, so I think getting to do a little bit of improv would be a way to do that.
TVGuide.com: Veronica is going to be off the air for a little while [taking an eight-week hiatus starting Mar. 6, then returning with five new, stand-alone episodes]. Are you upset about that?
Bell: I actually just found out about it. I don't pay too much attention when the network [changes things]. I mean, the first year they obviously changed us from Tuesday to Wednesday to Tuesday to Wednesday.... I try to focus on shooting the show and making the best episodes possible, production-wise. I'm not that excited about [the hiatus], because there are a lot of really good upcoming episodes, and I want to see them! Everyone seems to be nervous that there's no [ongoing] mystery for the last few episodes.
TVGuide.com: I was skeptical at first, but now I'm excited.
Bell: I'm glad. We just came back from the FX convention in Florida and the cool thing about those is that you actually get to have one-on-one contact with the fans and really hear what people are saying, and all of them seem to be nervous. I was like, "Don't be nervous. I think this is going to open up a lot of room for character development and you're going to see sides of people and relationships develop that you haven't seen before, that tended to be a little more surface. You're going to get to see some cool stuff."
TVGuide.com: Well, I'm excited because I like the mystery of the week that you're always working on.
Bell: Yeah, and there are some really good ones coming up. A lot of us are involved in this charity called Invisible Children, which Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas), his best friend and brother-in-law started. They went to Uganda and made a phenomenal documentary about a little civil war going on because of this group called the LRA, the Lord's Resistant Army, that abducts children and basically brainwashes them to become fighters — and I'm talking kids 5 to 15 years old. [Mars creator] Rob [Thomas] knew how important it is to a lot of us, so there's a whole episode about a displaced child at the college, and that's kind of cool because it's important to so many of us and we can share it with our viewers. We're going to be able to do a PSA at the end, telling people that this isn't just something we made up, please visit InvisibleChildren.com and see how you can help, because it's very, very important to a lot of us.
TVGuide.com: That's not something you normally see on network TV, which is, I think, what makes the show so special, too.
Bell: I agree. I think there are a lot of good souls on this show, and we're all very excited to see this cause get out there, because when your friends actually start a charity from the ground up, it's phenomenally inspiring.
TVGuide.com: I now feel silly asking my silly question, but how do you think Veronica has changed this season now that she's in college? Do you think she's more serious?
Bell: I think that she's learning how to adapt to the world. Veronica has a really sharp wit and a couple more jagged edges that, in high school, looked like a rebellious state, but I think that's who she is. She's a bit more of a porcupine. I know that online [cast members] have been met with, "Why is Veronica so mean to everybody? Why doesn't she realize how much Logan loves her?" My jaw dropped when I heard that, because I'm thinking in every episode Veronica helps somebody, truly helps somebody. Yes, she's got funny comments and that's part of the show, but she honest to god helps the underdog make the right decision every episode. And Logan sleeps with anyone he wants, he's constantly insulting poor people, he doesn't have a job, he makes fun of everyone, but you know what? That's a tribute to Jason Dohring, because Jason Dohring has some James Dean qualities. He blinks or has a little wry smile, and the ladies go nuts.
TVGuide.com: Well, we were recently saying in our TVGuide.com podcast that he sort of was encouraging adultery and other bad behavior, yet everybody loves him now.
Bell: But you know why? Jason is so likable. Logan may not be that likable, but I think that's a tribute to Jason, who allows Logan to be likable. But I certainly wish people would look at the facts and see that Veronica may be more of a porcupine, but she's just a tough chick, that's who she is. She may get a little softer, and I think she's definitely letting people in this season a bit more, certainly with her new relationships. She's still trying to adapt as a girl who has had a childhood the polar opposite of what normal kids should experience.
For more on Kristen Bell and Fifty Pills, read our Q&A from when the indie hit the Tribeca Film Festival.
Send your comments on this Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org.