September 19th, 2011 by thetvchick
New Girl premieres tomorrow night on FOX and it was one of my favorite new comedies. It stars Zooey Deschanel as Jess, who goes through a huge breakup and moves in with three guys Nick (played by the super charming Jake Johnson), Schmidt (played by Max Greenfield), and Coach (played by Damon Wayans, who sadly will be written out after the pilot because of Happy Endings). I have so many great things to say about this show, so look out for my advance review tomorrow. But I recently had the chance to chat with Zooey Deschanel on a media call about her new show, what she loves about Jess and what made her take on a television role.
When did you decide to do comedy? You’re so good at it. Was it like a natural thing for you, or did you kind of fall into it, or how’d that come about?
I always liked doing comedy when I would do plays in school always. I would play the comedic roles. I guess that’s 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. That’s what I really love to do. So, I’m super happy and excited that I get to do funny stuff every week on the show.
I was wondering if you’re the type of girl who would in real life be likely to make up a theme song for yourself or if you actually have.
Yes, I actually did when I was seven. I made up a theme song for myself. My parents still sing it to me. It’s still embarrassing, so.
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?
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 it’s really long hours and it’s a lot to memorize. It’s really exciting and it’s really fun. It’s fast moving, but I really love not waiting around. I like getting everything done quickly. There’s 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 there’s always a little bit of summer camp sadness to doing a movie. If you’re having a really good time, it ends. Then, there’s 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.
I especially enjoyed the character’s few attempts at singing. And, was just wondering if that’s a hidden talent of that character? Will we be hearing more from her in that regard?
Well, I think that she’s not really, she’s not a singer, although that is something I do as a profession. I felt like Jess should be—her singing comes out of pure self-expression. I just didn’t want her to be like Maria Callas or whatever, Beyoncé. I just didn’t 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 she’s not really singing out of showing off her vocal togs as much as trying to express something she can’t express, and to express a certain awkwardness. Yes, she sings a lot. That’s one of her character quirks. So, you will definitely hear a lot more weird random singing.
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?
She’s definitely distraught in the pilot, and the pilot’s a lot about the break-up. There is some stuff about the break-up. But, it’s more, I think, finding her way in the future is more of the focus and less the getting over the break-up. It’s more the totally I’m 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.
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?
No, I wasn’t 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 I’d 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 hadn’t 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.
I wanted to know what your favorite aspect of Jess is.
I really love that she’s totally herself, even though she’s awkward at times and kind of nerdy at times. She’s 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. She’s totally herself. I think that’s 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 don’t feel that’s true with this character. I really feel like she’s equal to all the guys. I really, really love that. She’s a real true modern woman.
I wanted to know how did you relate to Jess in terms of being the only woman in a house full of men.
Well, I feel like it’s easy to take the show and be like, oh, it’s 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, it’s really about the person who’s having a big change in her life, and these people that help her. It’s 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 it’s less about her moving in with guys and more of about the person who’s really in transition in her life and her friends helping her.
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.
Yes. Well, Winston is Nick’s 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, that’s the plot. But, basically, he’s a guy who is figuring himself out, too, because he’s been away chasing his dream. It didn’t really work out. He’s back. He’s trying to find a job. He is a guy who’s really great at everything, but his dream didn’t come true. He wants to win all the time. So, that’s his little thing, is that he wants to win all the time. He’s really good at everything, but he doesn’t always win. He can’t quite understand it. May I say Lamorne Morris, who plays Winston, is a really wonderful actor, is really, really funny. We’re very lucky to have him.
What do you think it is about the New Girl that will most draw people in and keep them coming back to watch?
To be honest, this is a new world for me. So, I’m like that little kid, I don’t know. I have to say there’s something about this show—and I’m not saying it has anything to do with me, because I obviously wouldn’t 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 can’t explain it. I have had this feeling about a small number of things I’ve worked on, very small numbers. I just have a really special feeling about this. I think it’s really the writing. It’s a good group of people. I think it’s 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. We’re telling stories that are not purely comedic. I really believe that you end up caring about these characters. I think that for me that’s what has brought me into loving shows. But, obviously I just think that if I like it, then probably, hopefully somebody else will.
New Girl premieres tomorrow night at 9 PM on FOX.Tweet