'Veronica Mars' movie: Kristen Bell says it's finally happening... if you help -- EXCLUSIVE

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UPDATE: The “Veronica Mars—the Movie” Kickstarter campaign has now reached its fundraising goal of $2 million.

A long time ago, we used to be friends, but I haven’t thought of you lately at all…

For some, that’s the opening line to a tune by The Dandy Warhols. For others, that’s the beginning to the theme song of a cult classic TV show that has never left their thoughts: Veronica Mars, the sophisticated teen drama/mystery serial starring Kristen Bell (Showtime’s House of Lies) as a strong and spirited new-model Nancy Drew whose adventures explored and exposed the rotten, complex injustice in her seaside town of Neptune, Calif. Ever since The CW canceled the series in 2007 after three seasons (the first two on UPN), can’t-let-go fans have pined for a movie. So have Bell and Mars creator Rob Thomas. “I have never fallen so deeply in love with a character,” Bell tells Entertainment Weekly. “ We all became so close, and the cancellation of the show left a huge hole in my heart. I would have put on Veronica Mars: The Circus to bring it back.”

Now, in a way, she is. In the spring of next year, the Veronica Mars faithful could be watching their beloved heroine (plus her pals Wallace and Mac, bad-boy ex Logan, proud P.I. pops Keith, and more) on the big screen — as long as they kick in a few bucks right now to get things started. Today, Thomas and Bell are launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a low-budget Mars movie that would be shot this summer. The goal: $2 million in 30 days. If they reach it, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution has agreed to put the movie into production and pick up the tab for marketing, promotion, and distribution. (The film would be released in the first quarter of 2014 for a limited-time theatrical run, before moving to VOD, iTunes, and other digital platforms.) If they don’t reach the goal: No movie.

Thomas tells Entertainment Weekly in an exclusive joint interview this week (click here to buy the issue) with Bell that the Kickstarter strategy represents the only way a Veronica Mars movie was ever going to get made: Warner Bros. had previously determined that a film with a bigger budget and a conventional marketing plan was too expensive and not viable for the studio. Thomas and Bell are confident that fans of the show will rally to the cause — especially since they’re offering an array of rewards packages for pledges as low as $10 (updates during production and a copy of the script on the day of release) and as high as $10,000 (a part in the movie).

Thomas says he has such high hopes for how much they can raise, “I’m afraid to say it out loud.”

“I’ll say it,” says Bell. “$100 million!” (She’s joking.) (Maybe.)

Thomas and Bell have even more to say about their Veronica Mars dreams and schemes in a video they shot for the campaign’s Kickstarter page. The witty short features donuts, a puppet show, several familiar faces (brace yourself for the return of a certain broody someone’s smoldering gaze), and… well, you don’t need any more description, because you can watch it right now, right here:

Fun Fact! That puppet-show theater was built by Bell’s fiancé, actor Dax Shepard.

Another Fun Fact? That video was actually shot in February of last year. Yep: The plan to revive Veronica Mars has been in the works for quite awhile, and you can get all the details from Bell and Thomas about how their plan came together in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands and tablets this Thursday. You'll also get some scoop on the plot of the movie, which involves mystery, murder, and yes, a high school reunion.

Twitter: @EWDocJensen

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