Q&A: Jake Johnson Talks 'New Girl,' The Adorable Zooey Deschanel & 'Stud' Jonah Hill
”(500) Days of Summer” star Zooey Deschanel heads to television on Tuesday night as the quirky and heartbroken Jessica in the season premiere of FOX’s new comedy, “New Girl.”
The series pits the adorable actress opposite three handsome roommates, happy to take in an offbeat female renter with models for friends.
Jake Johnson plays Nick, the rock of Jessica’s new boy bunch, recently heartbroken himself, and as fans will see in the premiere episode, which airs at 9/8 C on FOX, possibly falling for his new housemate already.
The actor himself, though, is already completely on Team Zooey, after hitting it off during the audition process.
Access Hollywood: When did you actually realize Zooey was adorable?
Jake Johnson: The audition process. I had to go in there and do chemistry tests with her, and you can do chemistry tests with actors and they can be really cool or not very cool, and she jumped up and was really friendly… and I think she hugged me.
AH: What exactly is a chemistry test – does it involve scientists and Bunsen burners?
JJ: That’s right, it’s all chemicals. A chemistry test is just — you have to go through a whole audition process to get there and then it’s between you and a couple of other people and they bring you in a room with the star. I had to do one with Ashton [Kutcher] for ‘No Strings [Attached]’ — and they just see if you guys are gonna work on set.
AH: Was there a moment in the test where you knew you got the part?
JJ: No, actually… After I tested, I stayed up all night, I couldn’t sleep and I got the call the next morning. I had some alcohol in my system and I was wearing a robe. They called and told me I got the job, so I was able to sleep for a day and I started work soon thereafter.
AH: There’s a little chemistry with Nick and Jessica in the first episode. Will Nick end up the Jim to Jessica’s Pam, “Office”-style?
JJ: [Creator] Liz Meriwether has hinted at that, but they keep us really in the dark. I think they would like there to be that kind of built in chemistry between us and it’d be really fun to play because she’s such a talented actress.
AH: More fun that being just “the buddy.”
JJ: That’s 100 percent right. And you don’t know me, but I’m not that nice of a guy, and I wouldn’t just say all these pleasantries if I didn’t feel them (laughs) — I’m not one of these actors. I don’t believe everyone’s ‘awesome and incredible,’ but she’s really awesome and incredible (laughs), so working with her and having that has been really easy and fun.
AH: What’s one thing your castmates don’t know about you that they should?
JJ: I like listening to R. Kelly in my trailer before scenes.
AH: Is there some “I Believe I Can Fly” involved?
JJ: No, “Step in the Name of Love.” (CLICK HERE To listen) There’s been murmurs where Max [Greenfield, who plays Schmidt] and Lamorne [Morris, who plays Winston] will say they’re hearing weird sounds coming out of my trailer, but I like to get my energy up before a scene, so there’s some push-ups in my trailer listening to some R. Kelly before a scene.
AH: As soon as you hear the show is getting a full series run, what’s going to be your first big purchase?
JJ: I think what I’m going to get is one of those O.J. Simpson-type broncos, but I want it open top.
AH: An old Ford Bronco? That’s definitely a lady magnet.
JJ: That is a lady magnet. Tell my wife that (laughs).
AH: You’re in the new “21 Jump Street” movie. Did you cross paths with Johnny Depp?
JJ: Unfortunately not, but I heard some stories. I got the [word] that he was like the coolest dude in the whole world and he was just unbelievably professional and awesome and no one could believe that Johnny Depp was doing the movie. He had a bunch of stuff and he shot it all in, I think, 20 straight hours of work. He’s just a mad man, but I got to work with Johan [Hill] and Channing Tatum. Those dudes are just such studs. I got to work with Jonah on ‘Alan Gregory’, the animated show… Being able to work with him so much has been such an inspiration because the dude is so talented and so young.
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