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Interview with Jake Johnson of "New Girl" on FOX 10/31/11
FBC PUBLICITY: New Girl Conference Call with Jake
October 31, 2011/5:00 p.m. EDT
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to
the New Girl Conference with Jake Johnson. Phone lines are in a listen
only mode. We are able to ask questions. And at this time, we'll turn
the conference over to Todd Adair.
T. Adair Hi everyone, thanks for joining us today. New Girl returns with
new episodes tomorrow night at 9/8 central following Glee. The show has
been out for three weeks after having a three-week run and we return
with a really big episode for Jake's character Nick. The episode is
called “Naked.” It is up on the Fox online screening room currently. If
you need access to that or if you forgot your passcode for it please
feel free to email me following the call at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jake,
thanks for joining us today and we will open up the session to
Moderator Thank you. Our first question will come from the line of Jim
Halterman with AfterElton.com. Please go ahead.
J. Halterman Hey Jake. Thanks for your time today.
J. Johnson Thanks for having me. This is fun.
J. Halterman Yes. I really enjoyed the episode that's airing tomorrow
night. It was very fun. Talk to me, Schmidt seems to be just a couple of
sets away from having a little sexual identity crisis since he's so
obsessed with your penis. Can you kind of talk about if that's going to
be something we might see or do you think it's possible for Schmidt to
eventually confront why he's very into this?
J. Johnson You know, it's an interesting question that you have to throw
by the writer. I know what my personal opinion is, is that Schmidt is
right on the line. But you never know what's going to happen; that's all
up to Meriwether.
J. Halterman Okay and talk to me about shooting some of the scenes that
you did. You know, you basically had to be pretty close to naked dancing
in front of a mirror. Was that a challenge for you as an actor and just
J. Johnson That was really embarrassing to be honest. Especially because
we work with the same crew all the time and you become like a family. So
there's like 40 members of your family watching you in really tight
underwear dancing to reggae music. And then, you know, Zooey Deschanel
walking in which doesn't feel great to be in tiny underwear in front of
Zooey Deschanel and then Lake Bell coming in. These are two attractive
So it wasn't the easiest day of my work life. I'll tell you that. But I
think the episode turned out. You know, I said to Jake Kasdan who was
directing that episode, I tried to weasel out of it and said, "Maybe
Nick would be wearing a shirt," and he just very easily he said, "No he
would not. He is going to be shirtless in the episode and in tiny
underwear." So that's as far as that talk went.
J. Halterman That's funny. All right. Thanks so much Jake.
J. Johnson Thank you.
Moderator Next we have a question from the line of Chris Ruth with
C. Ruth Hey Jake. Thanks for taking our call.
J. Johnson Oh, yes, no problem.
C. Ruth Hey is there any–do guys know if there's any like family members
of any of the guys that we might be meeting soon, siblings, or parents,
or anything like that that would be brought in?
J. Johnson You know, we haven't. We're on Episode 10 right now and we
haven't met any siblings of anybody. But there are references to, so
far, Nick's parents, and in an episode called “Injured” I think you
briefly meet his parents. Or at least you hear his parents because
there's an episode that's coming up later where Nick gets hurt and
there's a real health scare and he doesn't have health insurance. We
figure out why he doesn't have health insurance and it's because of his
childhood and his parents’ tough love approach with him.
C. Ruth Okay. And then, we know that in the pilot we talked about Jess's
mom and she lives out of the state. Do you know if there are plans on
bringing her in as well?
J. Johnson Yes. I heard there was talk where we all just found out that
Jess was from Oregon. And there's a Christmas episode we're doing where
she's describing her experience growing up and how bubbly Jess saw it.
And I don't know if that's the truth that's just at least through her
eyes. But I think at some point her parents will definitely be coming
into the show.
C. Ruth Thank you.
J. Johnson Thank you.
Moderator Our next question is from the line of Heather Peterson with
For The Love Of TV!
H. Peterson Hi Jake. Thanks so much for joining us today.
J. Johnson Thank you.
H. Peterson Just a–actually a two-part question for you because it seems
to be most of the people that I talk to who really love the show has
been seeing sparks that are kind of flying even this early on between
your character and Zooey's character, Jess. So I was just wondering if
that's something that's just kind of intentional that the writers are
having a path of you guys going down right now or if that's basically a
natural chemistry that you and Zooey are kind of projecting onscreen
J. Johnson You know, I'll be honest, I think it's a little bit of both.
I think when we did the pilot it wasn't necessarily there while we were
reading the pages of it. And then I think when Zooey and I were doing
our things together there was a natural chemistry between the two of us.
And I think we both also really like working with another and I think
the writers saw that and liked it and had been going towards it. But I
think the way they'll play it or the way it's been played so far is the
way, kind of, romances like that work in real life and that's–the stuff
H. Peterson Yes, it definitely come across on screen with you guys just
coming out of long term relationships and kind of knowing where each
other has been. It definitely comes across. I was just wondering if it's
something you thought the writers would move. Actually, for your
opinion, for your character would you like to see him move forward just
down that direction or is everything going to kind of stay platonic at
this point do you think? And what do you want to see?
J. Johnson You know, that's a good question. I kind of think where
they're at right now is they're playing it kind of perfectly and
that's–Jess's character, Justin Long comes on. He'll be coming on in the
third week in November and he plays the Zooey's boyfriend for a few
episodes. And my character started dating a woman named Julia played by
Lizzy Caplan. And I think what it is between Jess and Nick is they're
just really keeping tabs on each other.
I think with all great romances, or at least a lot of them, I shouldn't
say all. But, like, they start off as really solid friendships. And so I
think Jess and Nick are in that state of really kind of feeling each
other out and if it happens to go in that direction, great. And if not,
then not because I don't think they as characters know exactly what they
want to have happen yet. But I think they both definitely noticed each
H. Peterson Great. Well thank you very much. I appreciate it.
J. Johnson Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Kim Jones
K. Jones Hi. There certainly was a lot of promotion before the episode
before the pilot aired. And I'm sure, you know, there's no sure thing in
the television industry. So, I just didn't know, were you prepared for
how quickly it caught on right after the pilot aired and what are your
thoughts about where it's gone from there?
J. Johnson I was not prepared. No. I was very hopeful because we're all
really having a lot of fun doing it. And we all kind of thought within
the inner circle of it that we had something special. But you never
know. So, when right away a lot of people thought–people came in at Fox
and we are at the table reading, all the executives and everyone was
really happy. And that's when I started realizing that we had something
really special and early on successful on our hands.
Then, when we got word while we were filming I think Episode 4 that
we've got picked up for the back 12. And that was a really, really great
feeling and experience to realize this job that I really love and this
character, Nick, who I'm really excited about going deeper with and all
the cast and crew are really special. So I'm like great. Now I get to
keep doing this through April and we get to really develop this story.
K. Jones Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. We go to the line of Jim Halterman with
J. Halterman Hey again Jake. I just wanted to ask you, you kind of
touched on the story where Nick has to go to a doctor and I guess what I
read is that it's a friend of Jess's that plays the doctor or is the
doctor. Can you tell me about that a little bit?
J. Johnson Yes. It's played by June Raphael who's incredibly funny, a
good actor. And, basically, the story is without getting in trouble by
giving too much away is I get hurt playing football. Jess accidentally
knocks into me and my back really hurts so she takes me to a doctor,
because I don't have health insurance, with a gynecologist. And the
gynecologist sees something on me that should actually, seriously, get
checked out. So that starts off the scare, if you will.
J. Halterman Okay. And do you know which episode that is?
J. Johnson You know, we just finished filming that one. So that was
nine. But with this order I don't know if it'll be on TV until January.
J. Halterman Okay. And at this point do you–
J. Johnson It was a really fun one to shoot. Lynn Shelton directed it
and she just crushed it.
J. Halterman Oh, good. Do you feel like at this point it's better if
everybody is single and out there dating as opposed to getting in
relationships whether it's with each other or with other people?
J. Johnson You know, I don't really know. To be honest, I kind of see it
both ways. I like the–in the “Naked” coming up, my character is dating
Lake Bell for an episode. And that was really fun because she was able
just to come in and be hilarious for an episode. But Zooey's character
is dating Justin Long for a bit and it has been really nice having
somebody come back. So, when you have these great guest stars it's
sometimes kind of nice just to have them around a little bit.
J. Halterman Yes. Alright. Thanks so much, Jake.
J. Johnson Yes. Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from Umika Pidaparthy with
U. Pidaparthy Hi Jake. Thanks so much for joining us today.
J. Johnson Thank you.
U. Pidaparthy So, I've noticed that you've actually worked with Jonah
Hill on Allen Gregory and now with 21 Jump Street and previously with
Get Him to the Greek. So do you think we can expect Jonah to perhaps
make a cameo in New Girl? Is there something that could happen which
would be awesome?
J. Johnson Jonah and I became friends when I did a thing called Clark
and Michael with Michael Cera and Clark Duke and Max Winkler. And Jonah
went around watching that and then since then he got me auditions for
his movies and we've become good friends while working together. And I
can honestly say once a week I send him a text saying, "Hey, do you want
to come on the show and do anything?"
So if Jonah Hill it ever wants to be on New Girl I will be in Liz
Meriwether's office begging for them but I’m sure it'll be easy. I know
he's exceptionally busy with his movies right now. But I would love to
see Jonah Hill on the show. He's truly one of the funniest dudes I've
U. Pidaparthy Okay, great. Thanks.
J. Johnson Thank you.
Moderator Next we have the question from the line of Joy Alicia with Pop
On The Pop.
J. Alicia Hello Jake. How are you doing today?
J. Johnson Doing great. How are you?
J. Alicia I'm great. I love the show. So what are some of the
similarities and differences between you and your character Nick?
J. Johnson I think the similarities between myself and Nick is I don't
think either of us necessarily love jumping out and doing things before
thinking about it. I think we both like to try to analyze situations
first which means we might stand on the sidelines a little bit too long.
I think we're both pretty grounded as people.
Differences, he cries a lot more than me and I think he's a little bit
whinier than I am. And I also think the big difference between Nick and
I is, as Jake, I have an acting career and Nick doesn't have anything
yet. So I think Nick would be pretty well off if he found whatever it is
that he likes to do and then starts doing that.
J. Alicia And as far as you mentioned Nick standing on the sidelines do
you think at this point or in the near future that his character could
even ask Jess out on a date because there definitely is some chemistry
there. But as Nick's character do you think he would even, you know,
J. Johnson That's a good question. I don't think he would right now. No.
I think Nick would have to be in love with her for so long that it would
have to be like a gas tank overflowing. And then finally he would have
to force himself to have no choice. But I don't think right now Nick
would have the guts to do it.
J. Alicia I completely agree. And I don't really think Jess would
J. Johnson I don't think Jess would either.
J. Alicia Your career is striving considering that you haven't lived in
L.A. for very long. So when you would get rejected for roles what kept
J. Johnson You know, it's kind of like, I view it like baseball in that
if you get 3 hits out of 10, you're an All-Star. If you get 4 out of 10,
you're a Hall of Famer. So that means you failed 6 times out of 10. I
kind of view it with acting it just takes one or two really good parts
for people to see what you can do. And so all the failures I just kind
of blow them off to the side and say, well just once I started getting
my looks the game will keep getting easier and easier and easier. And
because I really love doing it.
J. Alicia And we just love watching you.
J. Johnson Oh thanks. That's very nice of you to say. It's easier for me
to fail when I really want to do what it is I'm failing at. If I was
like trying to be something like a lawyer and I didn't want to do it
once I failed I'd use that as an excuse to quit law school. But I really
want to act. I really love it.
J. Alicia Yes. That's a very good point. Thank you so much Jake.
J. Johnson Thank you so much.
Moderator Our next question is from the line of Lauren Tracy with TV
L. Tracy Hi. I was hoping you could talk a little bit more about the men
of New Girl or the guys of New Girl. So much of the early press coverage
was about Zooey Deschanel and coming to television. But I feel like a
lot of us are falling in love the bromance of what's going on with Nick
and Schmidt and Winston. And maybe you could talk just a little bit
about working with the other gentleman as actors and also about where
you see some of the buddy-type stories going?
J. Johnson I would say this, honestly, and I've heard other actors say
that and I would think they're phony. But working with Max Greenfield
and Lamorne Morris is awesome. They are so funny and good and become
legitimate friends of mine, that going to work is easy. We all want the
other guy to be funny and good and so no one is trying to take from
anybody else. We just like each other. And I think that makes it a lot
easier that we're doing bits in between takes and keeping each other
laughing. And so when they call action we're already in mid-scene with
And where I see this stuff going, I think it's just kind of–I'm not
really sure. We'll just continue to explore who these guys are because
they're all very different. Especially Schmidt and Nick are almost
opposites. But what always happens in the episodes coming up even when
they really piss each other off because there's a couple of episodes
where they kind of battle each other; they have each other's back at the
end of the day.
And I do feel that way about Max and Lamorne, that no matter what—like,
we went through the audition process together, Max and I were cast
together and we fought to get Lamorne. And so there's already a loyalty
that we all have as guys to each other. So I feel like what's nice is
the characters have that also.
L. Tracy Great and just one follow-up question. How much of what we see
in the final cut were actually words on the page or how much
improvisation goes on on a daily basis while you're shooting with Max or
J. Johnson You know, I would say probably 90% to 95% is on the page. But
what happens is there are a lot of like we'll shoot the scene and then
once we get it they'll be writers will throw different outlines and then
we'll goof around a little bit. But the TV schedule is so intense and we
have so much to do in a day that we're not able to like–in the movies
I've done we've mostly had like time to completely improvise. And that's
not quite the case where we each add our own kind of taste to it. But
it's mostly pretty much on book.
L. Tracy Alright. Thank you for your time.
J. Johnson Thank you.
Moderator Having time for one last question we'll go to the line of
Chris Ruth of VoiceofTV.com.
C. Ruth Hi Nick. You kind of just touched on this a little bit but I was
just wondering if there was anything coming up in the episodes that are
strictly the guy centric storylines?
J. Johnson Yes. There's a story coming up. I think it's “Bells,”
actually, where ... redirected but he did a phenomenal job on, where
Winston's story goes with Zooey and Schmidt and Nick have a storyline
just the two of them really where Nick thinks of himself as a fix-it
man. So whenever something goes wrong in the house Nick fixes it. And
Schmidt who's got a little bit more money than him would rather hire
somebody to actually fix them. And Nick and Schmidt have a full on
battle and it turns into a war between the two of them and how the house
should be run. It's just a really funny fun stuff where Nick and Schmidt
are just blowing up at each other and fighting and just having a war and
kind of getting after it.
C. Ruth All right. Yes, that's been my favorite part of the show so far
is the dynamic between Nick and Schmidt.
J. Johnson That's nice to say. Max is a really fun guy to work with.
We've been having a really good time.
C. Ruth Alright, thank you very much.
J. Johnson Thank you man.
Moderator Thank you. And there are no further questions in queue so
T. Adair Yes. Thank you everyone for joining the call today. Again, New
Girl returns with new episodes tomorrow night at 9:01/8:01 central.
“Naked,” the episode that premieres tomorrow night, is on the Fox online
screen room. Jake, thanks again for taking the time out of your
production schedule to join us today and we hope to talk to everyone
soon. Thank you.
J. Johnson Thank you guys.
Moderator Thank you. That does conclude our conference for today. We do
thank you for your participation and for using the AT&T Executive
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