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Interview: Jason Dohring

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As an actor, you look for roles that you can relate to and that challenge you on many levels. Jason Dohring found such a role in his latest project for the Hallmark Channel. On Saturday, March 14th at 9/8c, Jason stars in the Hallmark movie Portrait of Love.

In the film, a prominent fashion photographer returns to her small town roots at the request of a friend. Surrounded by both memories and loved ones, she must consider a choice between a successful future and rekindling both the love of her life and of her home.

Jason has certainly put together an impressive string of credits and continues to be a sought after actor in Hollywood. On the big screen, he’s appeared in the films Searching for Sunny, The Deep Below and the recently Kickstarter funded Veronica Mars movie. On the small screen, he’s been on the series Motive and the short-lived cult series Moonlight and Veronica Mars. You can next see Jason in the upcoming CW series The Messengers.

Jason sat down with us to discuss why he chose to do the project Portrait of Love, why working on Veronica Mars was so important to him and why the Hallmark brand resonates with its viewers.

Pop Culture Principle – What was it about the script for Portrait of Love that made you want to be part of the project?

Jason Dohring – Well, I have a two year old and a four year old now. I read the script and it didn’t have one drug reference in it or any violence. It was a script that had morality and drama. After reading it, I thought to myself that I really understand this script. There wasn’t any meatless stuff in the script, not that there isn’t a place for that because there totally is, but this was something I was looking forward to. I think there is a spot in everybody that appreciates a wholesome lifestyle. Growing up in my generation, maybe morality has skipped a generation. When this came to me, I thought it was so beautiful, it made sense and while I was reading it, I had a smile on my face. So, to be a part of something like this is really amazing and I was proud to be a part of it.

Portrait of Love Final Photo Assets

Pop Culture Principle – Can you tell us what Portrait of Love is about and your character Luke Dwyer?

Jason Dohring – Sure, I play a single father who had an old flame back in high school. They would get together and work as a team on their artistic pursuits. They sort of went their different ways with her becoming a high powered photographer in New York and my character not really being able to give up the small life. He couldn’t leave his mother behind to pursue the dream even though he was in love with this girl and wanting to settle down in this small town. She comes back and they wind up working together for a local art competition in the town and they sort of rekindle that lost love.

Pop Culture Principle – You had great on screen chemistry with Bree Williamson. What was it like working with her?

Jason Dohring – Thank you. It was great and we got along really well from the start. We both care a lot about acting and to have that as a basis to start with was amazing. She was very professional and showed up with a timeline of exactly when our characters met and so on. It was remarkable because she even had it down to the place where we broke up. She put several yards from where we reconnect in the movie to where we broke up. We met several times even after the film was done just to talk shop and I learned a lot from her.

Pop Culture Principle – The film also boasts an amazing supporting cast including Frances Fisher and Caitlin Carmichael. What was it like working with them?

Portrait of Love Final Photo Assets

Jason Dohring - Caitlin is a ball of fire man. She had won an award while we were on set so we teased her about it and she really got a kick out of it. Dancing with the Stars was on at the time we were filming and she was a fan of one of my buddies who was on the show at the time. I was able to get her some inside information about how he was doing and she really loved that.

Pop Culture Principle – This was your first project working with the Hallmark. What was your experience like working with Hallmark?

Jason Dohring – Again, it goes back to what I originally talked about before. I was recently at a party that Hallmark put on and I had many people come up to me and say that they enjoyed working with me and wanted to work with me. I want to say it’s a different part of the industry almost; it’s like a different brand. They care about who they work with and they care that you are happy. It’s just a beautiful feeling and it makes you work harder and care more about what you do because of that.

Pop Culture Principle – The Hallmark Universe boasts a very loyal and dedicated fan base. Why do you think their movies and series resonate so much with their audience?

Jason Dohring – With Hallmark, you know what you are going to get. You are going to get a Hallmark greeting card as a film. You are going to get a beautiful story that has drama and will probably will make you cry. It will make you feel warm, loved and cared for. You are going to leave in a better mood than when you sat down and it’s so cool to have a brand that you can trust like that. I think Hallmark makes it a priority to keep that standard and I think it’s very appreciated by people who watch their product.

Pop Culture Principle – What message would you like viewers to take away from this movie after they watch it?

Portrait of Love Final Photo Assets

Jason Dohring - Wow, maybe just the idea that love is out there. I just like the fact that the film does have a message at all. Good people can work it out with good communication and really never give up. It’s funny, because there are so many aspects to the film with the art aspect and the love aspect and they all come together in this film and it makes for a great story and I hope people enjoy it.

Pop Culture Principle – You have a new series starting soon called The Messengers. Can you tell us what that show is about and your character Jeff Fairburn?

Jason Dohring – I play a character who makes a deal with the Devil and winds up committing some pretty nasty acts in desperation to persevere his own family life. It’s a cool story with seven characters that die for 24 hours and wake up with a message from God and it’s not a good one. They all have to work together to defeat the Four Horsemen. It’s a very interesting concept and I am really proud to be part of it.

Pop Culture Principle – You were involved in another great short lived series Moonlight. What was your experience like working on that series?

MOONLIGHT

Jason Dohring – It’s interesting. I really didn’t have to audition for that role because I had just come off Veronica Mars. We did a screen test that was like a real screen test. We had lights, make-up and a crew and did multiple takes with different camera angles. We put together a real team so that we could really see what it looked like. I showed up on the first day on set and the fact that it was a vampire show and Joel Silver was producing, there were naked women swimming laps in my pool. I was wearing Prada suits and driving a Ferrari, so it didn’t suck working on that series.

Pop Culture Principle – With the success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter and the Veronica Mars movie, as an actor, how does it feel knowing that show still resonates with its fans?

Jason Dohring – Well, that is what you hope to do. You do one project and then you move on to another. It’s so cool that you put so much into a show and being that it was our first show, we were trying to bring every detail that we knew about acting and class into that show. I think that it has real emotion to it because we were really doing it. We were a family and we lived down in San Diego even though everyone wasn’t from San Diego. We we were sort of each other’s company and would get together and watch the episodes every Tuesday night.

So, to have something that people care about as deeply as you cared to make it good, was fantastic. I am so proud of that show and it’s one of the most amazing experiences in my life. The show meant something to people and I still talk to people that say Veronica Mars got them through high school. There is a lot about that character Veronica that everybody finds in people and I was happy to be in that cast with Kristen Bell.

Pop Culture Principle – Do you think with the success of the movie, that there may be another film?

Jason Dohring – You know, I would think so. I know Rob just released another book that is kind of a chronological sequel to the movie. So, I think there seems to still be great interest in it and the film was certainly profitable; our hands our still sore from signing 90,000 posters. I think there is still enough support to merit another film.

VERONICA MARS

Pop Culture Principle – You also were a guest star on an amazing episode of the series Motive. What was that experience like?

Jason Dohring – There was this director who I think was from Iceland who was the President of the Director’s Guild of Canada or something like that. I met this guy and he was incredible and we got along so well. He had this idea for these two characters for the episode and I thought the idea was great. There is a French word that means two bodies, one mind and it was these two characters who worked together and it was amazing. It was gory and even though it was all fake, I did get sick a little bit with all those body parts and blood being everywhere. It’s funny, after we filmed that episodes, I ended up going fly fishing with the director and just having an amazing time.

Pop Culture Principle – Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

Jason Dohring – I have a movie coming out in April called The Squeeze which is a true story about a track star in high school who was very good at golf as well. He shot like a 62 in this tournament and a guy heard about him on the radio and convinced the kid to join him and go to Vegas to play high stakes golf against the mafia. They go to Vegas and get involved in a million dollar match. The mafia finds out that he’s sort of a ringer and the mob pulls him aside and says if you win tomorrow, we are going to kill you.

So, the kid freaks out and goes to the guy who convinced him to come to Vegas and asked him what he should do. He told him that if you don’t win tomorrow, I’m going to kill you. So, the kid is in a very troubling predicament. I play a two-time U.S. amateur champion that the mafia puts up against this kid. Tom Watson helped finance the movie and Jack Nicklaus has seen it and loved it, so I am really excited about it.

We would like to thank Jason for taking the time to sit down and talk with us. Don't forget, Portrait of Love airs this Saturday, March 14th at 9/8c. His new series The Messengers will premiere April 17th on the CW. If you would like to keep up with all of Jason's latest news, you can follow him on his official Twitter here.

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