Genius, Dude: Jason Dohring on Searching for Sonny

Going back to high school for another mystery, and whether there's been any movement on the 'Veronica Mars' movie.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


Well, we may still be waiting forever for a "Veronica Mars" movie, but here’s something to tide you over. Jason Dohring stars in a crazy comedy mystery called Searching for Sonny, out on DVD and VOD August 28. He plays a guy trying to reconnect with his high school buddy at their 10 year reunion, but becomes convinced his friend Sonny is missing and tries to solve the mystery with two other losers from high school. There’s flashbacks to high school, flashbacks to things that did or didn’t happen, and Minka Kelly as a femme fatale. We got to speak with Dohring over the phone the week before his movie hit streets.


CraveOnline: What a weird, crazy film this is, huh?

Jason Dohring: Oh, have you seen it too, Fred?


Yes, I have.

It’s pretty fun, man. A story like no other really.


How would you describe the sense of humor that Andrew Disney has?

Gosh, I don't know. It’s kind of like a Kiss Kiss Bang Bang meets Big Lebowski is sort of how I’ve thought of it. It kind of has a dark quality with sort of an ironic sense of humor but very fun at the same time.


What did you think when you read the script?

I thought it was genius, dude. I really did. I quite honestly had not seen anything like it and with the little vignettes that are in the scenes, I could totally just see them in my mind as I was reading it. When you’re laughing out loud as you’re reading a script, I think you know it’s pretty rare.


Were you looking for a role like this? Is it something that’s just not getting offered to you?

Yeah, Andrew Disney and I had met before and just sort of met casually. He said, “Do you want to do this?” I said, “You know, this is probably the best comedy I’ve read in a long, long time.” I guess the character is kind of a lonely nerd who finds himself through the movie. I’d never done really honestly a lead in a movie. So that really interested me, and the fact that the character goes through this transition and the comedy along the way, it’s just priceless. It was such a blast to shoot too. The cast was terrific we assembled and we’re really excited about the movie.


Was the editing style apparent in the script or something you were clear on when you were shooting? Or was it a surprise when you saw it all cut together?

You know, the editing you could see in the script almost. It’s almost like “Family Guy” type editing where there’s little frame cuts where somebody falls down and it cuts right away. You could kind of sense that from the script. Then as far as the look of it though, I was very impressed with the trailer that Andrew had put together. As soon as he cut that together, I could see how dark and beautiful the photography was which kind of lends to the comedy because it plays totally against the way that it’s shot because it’s beautiful and it kind of makes fun of what we’re doing because what we’re doing is so pedestrian. It just adds to the whole farce really.


How about going back and playing high school again? Did you think you were done with that?

Yeah, man, I always think I’m done with that but every time I shave I look at myself in the mirror and say, “Oh, I’m a two-year-old again.” I still feel it’s real. I don’t feel it’s unreal, but hey, if I get to be Minka Kelly’s boyfriend for a day, it’s all good.


Was it part of the joke that you’re not really supposed to look like you’re in high school?

I don't know, I guess that’s right. Obviously we’re going back to high school after we’ve graduated so yeah, we go back obviously with our younger brothers and sisters to the prom and sort of relive the prom we never had. That’s pretty funny.


How instant was the dynamic you had with Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher?

Yeah, Andrew had brought us in a couple weeks before to work on it together. So we got a chance to go to the location, rehearse it, start working together, go out to dinner, sort of get that dynamic going before we even started shooting which is a luxury I guess you don’t really have in television. So I really enjoyed that part of it and I think Andrew did it in a really good way because we sort of felt like we were all a group and we’re all very different characters which is always I think a cool quality to see in a movie where you have distinct but very interesting characters and they all work together in a beautiful way.


Did you feel like you were playing the hard boiled detective role, or just a spoof of one?

No, they’re actually trying to solve something, but the character’s not necessarily strong-willed particularly at the beginning of the story. He’s kind of a loser that’s floating through life, kind of gets on a role and starts going  and the movie really picks up. It’s just a fun ride, the whole thing.


Searching for Sonny is a comedy mystery, and “Veronica Mars”was a mystery with very snappy dialogue. Do you feel they had any similarities?

Oh, that’s a good question. Yes, I do. It’s a totally different sort of vibe with the characters, but it’s almost smart in the dialogue in the story that Andrew put together. I don't know if the characters are necessarily intelligent. You see the intelligence in the whole product of the movie I guess is what I’m saying, instead of just the dynamic being the characters themselves as it was in “Veronica Mars.” But I think the whole movie is very snappy and I think people will really enjoy it.


What’s the latest progress you hear on a Veronica Mars movie?

Oh, buddy, I hear things up and down, you know what I mean? I know the fans were really pushing hard for something to happen in the way of a movie perhaps so I guess we’ll have to see. I don't know, man. I just don’t know what’s happening, buddy, to be honest.


Well, you worked with Joel Silver again, so do you have an in with him?

Oh yeah, he’s awesome, dude. He’s a very cool guy. He was able to bring me on to “Moonlight” no questions asked after “Veronica” which is a really unique experience in itself. He’s just honestly a great guy to have in your corner. I always appreciate his support of me.


What is next for you then?

Let’s see. I think we’ve got this premiere coming and I’m up for a couple roles right now, possibly a movie but probably more TV as well. We’ll have to see how those things pan out and take it from there, but I over the next couple weeks, we’ll just be doing a lot of promotion on the film here and get as many people as we can get to see it.


For TV, have you shot any pilots yet?

Obviously pilot season’s coming up in a few months here, so I think that’ll be sort of the time for that sort of thing, but I did a couple pilots after [“Moonlight”]. I did actually one pilot with Minka Kelly for the CW which I did after “Moonlight” but that one didn’t work out. I did another one for HBO just before that and that didn’t work out either. So you’ve just got to keep rolling the pilots until you get one that works.


What are you watching on TV right now?

I watch Game of Thrones, man. I think it’s probably my favorite show on TV. As risqué as it is, I think the characters from the very first episode so full fledged and fleshed out, really beautiful cinematography, story, great production value. I fell in love with it and I can’t wait six months until the next episode.


How about favorite movies?

Oh, bro, it’s such a huge question. There’s ones I like for acting particularly and for the whole story I thought Blood Diamond was very cool and I thought Crash was probably one of my favorite movies, but I like Top Gun too, so you know.


The Paul Haggis Crash?



You’re aware of the Cronenberg one though, right?

Yes, I am. And there’s also the television series as well.


Yes, the series based on the Haggis movie.

That’s I guess what I was referring to mostly, the movie, although I did see several episodes of the show. But the movie I thought was tops, man, really good.