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By Suzanne

Zooey Deschanel

Interview with Zooey Deschanel of "New Girl" on FOX 9/15/11

FBC PUBLICITY: New Girl Conference Call with Zooey Deschanel
September 15, 2011/12:00 p.m. PDT

Todd Adair Ė FBC Publicity
Zooey Deschanel Ė New Girl, Jess Day


Moderator Welcome to the New Girl Conference with Zooey Deschanel. At this time, phone lines are in a listen only mode, but we will have a question and answer session. To ask a question today, you may press star followed by one. Also, todayís conference call is being recorded.

Iíll now turn the conference over to Todd Adair.

T. Adair Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. New Girl is our new comedy series. Weíre very excited about premiering on Tuesday, September 20 at 9/8 Central following the third season premiere of Glee. Zooey, thanks for being on the call today. Zooeyís calling in from New York and weíll get the conference started.

Moderator Our first question is from Joshua Maloney with Niagara Frontier.

J. Maloney So, in your estimation, do you think itís better to be the ďitĒ girl, or to sort of fly under the radar? How do you like being the center of everyoneís entertainment world these days?

Z. Deschanel Itís good being both. I always think of myself, in my mind, I always think of myself as an underdog type. But, Iíve been called ďitĒ girl so many times, at different points in my career. So, I guess ďitĒ girl is sort of a flexible term. I mean either one, I just like working and having a job. Itís nice. But, I like that I have a show that the network is really behind and that is really fun to work on. So, Iím just happy.

Moderator Our next question is from Alice Chapman-Nugent with the Times Courier.

A. Chapman-Nugent When did you decide to do comedy? Youíre so good at it. Was it like a natural thing for you, or did you kind of fall into it, or howíd that come about?

Z. Deschanel I always liked doing comedy when I would do plays in school always. I would play the comedic roles. I guess thatís kind of how it started. But, I always think of myself as comedic actress. I guess later I found that I could do drama as well, but I really started out thinking that I was more of a comedic actress. Thatís what I really love to do. So, Iím super happy and excited that I get to do funny stuff every week on the show.

Moderator Our next question is from Anne Brody with Elle.

A. Brody Iím just thinking that Jessicaís a very strong and very unique character. Iím wondering if the writers based it in part on your personality and character.

Z. Deschanel I think it was kind of actor/writer kismet situation, because I know that Liz Meriwether, who created the show. I know it wasnít written for me initially, but it was sort of a perfect fit, you know. You go to a store and thereís a dress that just looks like it was made for you, but it wasnít. Thatís sort of like what it was like. Then, now that Iím on the show, it is written for me. Itís wonderful to have all these great writers writing stuff for me.

Moderator Next, weíll go to the line of Ethan Altier with Television Without Pity.

E. Altier In addition to ďitĒ girl, youíre often also associated with the pop culture term manic pixie dream girl. Do you have any feelings about that classification and the debate that goes along with it? It feels like that type is both loved and hated in equal measure.

Z. Deschanel Well, I think that itís interesting. Itís this weird phenomenon. I donít know who coined that term and how itís weirdly broad and specific at the same time, if you know what I mean. But, I think thatís sort of an example of if you think of a dream girl, you think of someone that youíre looking at from afar, like someone whoís like a weird modern dream girl.

But, I feel like in a way thatís a very distant point of view. Thatís not really what I want to portray necessarily. I donít mind; Iím fine if thatís for some of the parts I portray. But, I would prefer to be a person that people relate to than somebody that people feel distant from. But, sometimes, I think a lot of that has to do with maybe being in films that are from a more masculine point of view.

Itís nice to be on a show that was created by a woman, starring a woman even though thereís guy humor in it, too. But, itís just nice to have a little bit more intimacy, I guess, with the character. So, I hope that answers your question.

Moderator Next, weíll go to Hunter Walker with The Daily.

H. Walker I know that the plot line of the new show involves you recovering from being cheated on. Iím wondering if youíve ever dealt with that experience in real life.

Z. Deschanel Oh, thatís a personal question. I think thatís too personal a question to ask. But, you want to ask another question, because Iím not going to answer that.

H. Walker Do you think that the male perspective on relationships would help someone who was getting over being cheated on?

Z. Deschanel I definitely think that in terms of this character. I think that sheís starting a whole new life. Sheís been in one mode for a really long time. Sheís sort of living out the stuff that should have happened in her late teens and early 20s in her late 20s. So, I think in a weird way, she bypassed all this stuff because sheís with the same guy for a long time.

I think more specifically than generally, these guys are helping her get over this experience, but not just that. Itís not just getting over the break-up. Itís also finding her way in a new life being a single woman in her late 20s.

Moderator Next, weíll go to David Martindale with Hearst Newspapers.

D. Martindale Iíve never made up a theme song for myself, but all of my dogs and my bird, they have theme songs. I was wondering if youíre the type of girl who would in real life be likely to make up a theme song for yourself or if you actually have.

Z. Deschanel Yes, I actually did when I was seven. I made up a theme song for myself. My parents still sing it to me. Itís still embarrassing, so.

Moderator Next, weíll go to Rose Kerrio with Ö Sugar.

R. Kerrio So, I was wondering what the adjustment to working on a TV show has been like for you. Are you enjoying it? Have you faced any difficulties in adjusting to working on a set?

Z. Deschanel I really have, I think, adjusted well because just love being busy. I love having a lot of content. I prefer to have constant stimulation. So, I like going to set every day and working with the same awesome people. I really like that, even though itís really long hours and itís a lot to memorize. Itís really exciting and itís really fun. Itís fast moving, but I really love not waiting around. I like getting everything done quickly. Thereís something really exhilarating about it. So, I really enjoy that.

I also enjoy getting to develop a working relationship with a group of people; that thereís always a little bit of summer camp sadness to doing a movie. If youíre having a really good time, it ends. Then, thereís a certain amount of I think melancholy to that. I like that doing a TV show, you have potential for this to go on. So, that potential is a really nice thing.

Moderator Our next question is from Michael Bayliss with The Huffington Post.

M. Bayliss I saw the episode also, and enjoyed it very much, especially the characterís few attempts at singing. And, was just wondering if thatís a hidden talent of that character? Will we be hearing more from her in that regard?

Z. Deschanel Well, I think that sheís not really, sheís not a singer, although that is something I do as a profession. I felt like Jess should beóher singing comes out of pure self-expression. I just didnít want her to be like Maria Callas or whatever, Beyoncť. I just didnít want her to be a really great singer.

I thought she should be whatever manner she tries to sing in should match her mood at the time, and that sheís not really singing out of showing off her vocal togs as much as trying to express something she canít express, and to express a certain awkwardness. Yes, she sings a lot. Thatís one of her character quirks. So, you will definitely hear a lot more weird random singing.

Moderator We now go to the line of Danielle Tratiano with the LA Examiner.

D. Tratiano I just wanted to chat a little bit about the future for Jess, because so far in the pilot episode she is pretty distraught by this break-up and it seems like she is going to be relying on these guys to help her a lot. But, they maybe are not the best equipped for that. So, how fast do things turn around for her?

Z. Deschanel Sheís definitely distraught in the pilot, and the pilotís a lot about the break-up. There is some stuff about the break-up. But, itís more, I think, finding her way in the future is more of the focus and less the getting over the break-up. Itís more the totally Iím used to being a single woman and finding her way in that world. That is more the sort of territory that we cover in the episodes to follow the pilot.

Moderator Next weíll go to the line of Colin McAvoney with the Express Times.

C. McAvoney I was wondering you spoke a little bit about the differences between filming a movie as opposed to filming a TV show. But, I was wondering, correct me if Iím wrong, but most of your work has been in film it seems. Youíve done some spots on TV shows like Weeds, and things before.

But, I was wondering how is it that you ended up getting tapped in this show. Is that something like starring in a TV show was something you were looking for? Or, did they approach you with this role specifically? Or, how did that come about?

Z. Deschanel No, I wasnít looking for a TV show. I was sort of developing a show last year for HBO that was a little bit in development limbo. I was also thinking about maybe doing an arc on a TV show or something, just looking into it, because Iíd been tour with my band all last year and had really taken a lot of time off working as an actress.

I just happened to read this script. I was so blown away by how perfect it was for me and how funny it was, and sweet, and smart. I just fell in love with this project. I guess I hadnít seriously considered any television shows before, but this was just too great to pass up.

But, yes, they offered me the part. So, they sent it to me and I said I liked it. They offered it to me and took a chance that I would be able to do it. They took a chance on me.

Moderator Now, weíll go to Alex Sternberg with

A. Sternberg Zoe, I wanted to know what your favorite aspect of Jess is.

Z. Deschanel I really love that sheís totally herself, even though sheís awkward at times and kind of nerdy at times. Sheís not afraid of being herself, whether it comes out as being a little bit naive or something else, or just a really strong sense of self. Sheís totally herself. I think thatís really nice to see in female characters, because a lot of times female characters are just reacting to the men. Especially in comedies, I think a lot of time the female characters are there to provide a balance for guys.

And, I really donít feel thatís true with this character. I really feel like sheís equal to all the guys. I really, really love that. Sheís a real true modern woman.

Moderator Now, weíll go to the line of Troy Rogers with

T. Rogers I wanted to know how did you relate to Jess in terms of being the only woman in a house full of men.

Z. Deschanel Well, I feel like itís easy to take the show and be like, oh, itís a girl and three guys. Obviously with any sort of plot, you can boil it down and turn it into something that sounds like generic. And, I do think that that is too generic.

I think that as far as this goes, itís really about the person whoís having a big change in her life, and these people that help her. Itís less about male/female dynamics and more, I think, about these particular individuals relating to one another. I have a lot of guy friends and they all have helped me a lot in different ways. So, I feel like itís less about her moving in with guys and more of about the person whoís really in transition in her life and her friends helping her.

Moderator We now go to the line of Lori Rackos with Chicago Sun Times.

L. Rackos I was wondering, I was watching the show and all the three men clearly have issues of their own. I know that Coach is going to be leaving, unfortunately, after just one episode, and being replaced by Winston. I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about what his hang-ups are; what kind of dynamic he brings to the table.

Z. Deschanel Winston? Is that what youíre asking, Winston?

L. Rackos Yes, Coachís replacement.

Z. Deschanel Yes, I know who youíre talking about, coming through Winston. It was confusing.

L. Rackos Yes, sorry. Talk a little bit about Winston.

Z. Deschanel Yes. Well, Winston is Nickís friend from childhood who has been playing basketball overseas in Latvia for two years. He had been living in the apartment and then moved out with subletting to Coach. So, thatís the plot.

But, basically, heís a guy who is figuring himself out, too, because heís been away chasing his dream. It didnít really work out. Heís back. Heís trying to find a job. He is a guy whoís really great at everything, but his dream didnít come true. He wants to win all the time. So, thatís his little thing, is that he wants to win all the time. Heís really good at everything, but he doesnít always win. He canít quite understand it.

May I say Lamorne Morris, who plays Winston, is a really wonderful actor, is really, really funny. Weíre very lucky to have him.

Moderator Weíll go to the line of Rianna Harry with

R. Harry Iím curious what the rapport was like with your costars. I think in the pilot you guys all seemed to play off each other pretty naturally. So, kind of walk me through it how read each otherís comedy styles and how you started to work together to create it.

Z. Deschanel Yes. I actually pretty much read with every single person that came in for a callback or almost everybody that made it past the first three, I read with. So, I felt like being a part of that casting process was really eye opening for me as an actress. Also, it allowed me to experiment with my character. It also allowed me to really see who I was going to work best with, because when I was cast, no one else was cast.

I read with all those guys from the beginning. Really, we just cast the people who were the best actors. Obviously, you want the best comedic actors. But, I find that the best actors also tend to be really funny because the comedyís coming out of the situation rather than just the ability to deliver jokes.

So, we really, first and foremost, were telling a story. We just wanted the people that could really help tell these stories and were also hilarious and great actors as well. We really have a great rapport. I really love these guys so much.

Moderator We now go to the line of Geri Miller with Ö.

G. Miller This is a lot about Jessís dating life. What are the biggest mistakes that men make? And, conversely, what are the qualities and behaviors that always win women over on dates?

Z. Deschanel The biggest mistakes that men make? I think being disingenuous. I donít know. From my perspective probably women are won over by people who are sweet and respectful and courteous and kind and funny. I think those are the things that win women over. I think that the mistakes that anyone can make going on dates is probably not being themselves because you can only trick people for so long.

Moderator We now go to the line of Christina Aveena with Rock-on Requests.

C. Aveena I just want to tell you first of all, before my question, that I really loved your rendition of Itís So Easy on the Buddy Holly compilation that just came out.

Z. Deschanel Oh, thank you, thank you.

C. Aveena Ö Iím sorry. The new sitcoms that come out seem to have the hardest time when it comes to gaining a loyal viewership. What do you think it is about the New Girl that will most draw people in and keep them coming back to watch?

Z. Deschanel To be honest, this is a new world for me. So, Iím like that little kid, I donít know. I have to say thereís something about this showóand Iím not saying it has anything to do with me, because I obviously wouldnít want to say that, but this show I feel so lucky I jumped aboard this train, because the writing is so great and it just feels really special to me to be working on it. I canít explain it.

I have had this feeling about a small number of things Iíve worked on, very small numbers. I just have a really special feeling about this. I think itís really the writing. Itís a good group of people. I think itís different.

It plays more like a romantic comedy than a sitcom, per se, even though it has some of the physical comedy that some of the classic sitcoms have. Weíre telling stories that are not purely comedic. I really believe that you end up caring about these characters. I think that for me thatís what has brought me into loving shows. But, obviously I just think that if I like it, then probably, hopefully somebody else will.

Moderator Now, we go to the line of Alicia Tamile with

A. Tamile You have so much going on. So, Iím just curious how do you juggle everything? How do you manage to unwind or de-stress at the end of the day?

Z. Deschanel I donít. I go to sleep. At the end of the day, I basically eat and learn my lines at the same time. Itís really just trying to multi-task as best I can. Sometimes, you have to scramble to get stuff done, or a lot of times you have to scramble to get stuff done.

But, I really love it because I love being busy. Iím a person who has a lot of energy. So, yes, I donít really stop to rest or de-stress. I just keep going. I figure that if you donít stop, then youíll never notice how tired you are.

Moderator We have time for one final question. Thatíll come from Lisa Steinberg with Starry Constellation.

L. Steinberg Jess has been described by the network as adorkable. Is Zooey?

Z. Deschanel I donít know. Thatís sort of like an outside in description. I donít really talk to people when they say stuff about themselves. I can be like well, Iím the type of person who blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I wouldnít trust myself. I donít know. Letís say this: Thereís a lot of Jess that is very much like me.

I feel like I understand her very well. I feel like she is very much like I was when I was 13. I was not the coolest kid in my class. I feel like that inner dork is a wonderful thing to have. And, on behalf of middle-schoolers all around, I like to represent.

So, yes, I donít know. I definitely have a part of myself is a lot like Jess. So, Iíll leave it at that. But, I donít know if Iíd describe myself as particularly adorkable. I donít know.

T. Adair All right. Thank you everyone for participating in the call today. Zooey, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to do this.

Z. Deschanel Thank you.

T. Adair As a reminder, New Girl premieres on Tuesday, September 20th at 9/8 Central following the third season premiere of Glee.

Z. Deschanel Thank you. Okay, bye. Thanks, guys.

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