“New Girl” co-stars Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield say they felt lucky just to be cast in this season’s hit comedy, much less have their names mentioned as possible Emmy noms.
Greenfield has spent most of his career as a serial guest star and occasional regular while Johnson is experiencing his first full-time gig on TV.
When describing their characters, Johnson says pessimistic bartender Nick is “kind of an everyman.”
“I think he’s someone a lot of people can relate to, the guy who is teetering on a point between who he was and what he’ll be,” Johnson says. “As an actor, it’s fun to play a character who isn’t fully defined.”
Greenfield says he didn’t have a good idea of where he was going to take his character this year, but remained open to everything the writers threw at him as the womanizing, often-shirtless Schmidt.
Greenfield knew Schmidt had a good hook, but he didn’t want to make him cartoonish.
“They kept putting me out there and I made the most of it. There’s a moment of vulnerability when he gets in bed with (Jess’ model friend) Cece that has carried through the season,” Greenfield says. “You can forgive him for so many things because his intentions are never bad.”
Johnson says he knows Nick resonates with the public because people stop him on the street to give advice for the character, including how to get together with Jess.
“They are really invested in this,” Johnson says. “Nick isn’t the loudest or the flashiest guy, but people really care about him. He’s the perpetual underdog.”