Interview: Zooey Deschanel Chats FOX's NEW GIRL
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For her lead role as Jess on NEW GIRL, Zooey Deschanel recently was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Earlier this summer, she won the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series (tying with Amy Poehler). Last season, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award (Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical).
Her starring roles in the feature films include “(500) Days of Summer,” “Yes Man,” and “My Idiot Brother." She also co-wrote and performed “So Long” in “Winnie the Pooh,” which earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Song Written For Visual Media.
After making her feature film debut in 1999 in Lawrence Kasdan’s “Mumford,” Deschanel’s breakout performance was in Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous.” She earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Lead Actress for “All the Real Girls” and lent her voice talents to the animated feature “Surf’s Up.” Deschanel was the lead in the Emmy Award-nominated miniseries “Tin Man.”
Her additional credits include “The Good Girl,” “Eulogy,” the holiday classic “Elf,” “Failure to Launch,” “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” “Bridge to Terabithia,” “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” “Live Free or Die,” “Flakes,” “Gigantic,” “The Go-Getter,” “The Good Life,” “Winter Passing,” “The Happening,” “Abandon,” “Big Trouble” and “Your Highness.”
The season 2 premiere of NEW GIRL launches Tuesday, Sept. 25 with two episodes: a special episode airing at 8/7c, and a second episode in its regular time slot airing at 9/8c. Zooey will also be the main guest on THE SIMPSONS season premiere airing Sunday, Sept. 30 at 8/7c on FOX.
Deschanel took time out of her busy production schedule last week to speak with TalkTVWorld and other media outlets about the upcoming second season of NEW GIRL. Check out the interview below!
Has comedy always come easy to you or is it something you’ve had to work at?
I think comedy’s just about being interested in comedy and what makes people laugh and experimenting. I’ve always loved making people laugh and that was in school I a lot of times would play the comic relief character. So, it’s different patterns; something that always pops up. But, I did drama, too. I sort of consider myself a comedic actress, not a comedienne. I think it’s different. You know I’m not a stand-up or anything. But, playing into comedic situations is sort of where, I think, my strength lies.
Yes. I’m really excited, you know. I heard at the beginning of the season that we had talked about maybe having Jess’ parents come in last year, but it didn’t happen. Then, this year, before even the season started, we talked about the fact that they were going to introduce Jess’ parents in the Thanksgiving episode. So, we talked about a bunch of people and these were just beyond my wildest dreams. They’re people that I think would be just so perfect. I can’t wait to start shooting with them.
Your mother’s an actress as a lot people are aware, especially from 'Twin Peaks'. But, did anybody ever talk to her about her interest of possibly coming on the show as your mother?
I would love to work with my mom, but I think you want to keep things a little bit more imaginative. If I were to work with my mom, I probably would not want her to play my mom. That would get too real....
I’m wondering what new shows are you looking forward to watching this year?
I’m looking forward to this whole Tuesday night lineup. I’m very excited about Ben and Kate and Mindy Project, along with us and Raising Hope. I think it’s pretty exciting that they built a night with us. There are a lot of great shows. I’ve seen the pilots of those shows and I think they’re really terrific. I think it’s just an exciting time to be working in comedy on TV.
I’m just curious—there’s this character who shares this apartment with all these guys and it’s kind of a quirky thing. Do you have anything like that in your real life that you can compare to the TV show? Or, do you have any friends like that or did you ever have to have funny roommates?
I never had funny roommates really. I’ve always had a lot of guy friends, so I love the camaraderie between Jess and the guys. So it’s, I think, nice to have. I have a lot of girlfriends, too, but I think it’s important to have guy friends because it sort of provides a different perspective. I really like that relationship.
The male-female relationships on the show are really great to watch because they’re really platonic and they seem to represent kind of a more modern understanding of relationships between men and women. But, I also like the emphasis on diversity that the show has. Could you speak a little bit to that because you guys clearly have different ethnicities playing in the show.
I know that was like one thing that was important to our exec producers and also to Fox that our show be diverse and that it’s not diverse in a way where we’re making a big deal out of the diversity. It’s just friends. I think to speak to what we were talking to before about the relationships between men and women; the diversity is also nobody makes a big deal out of. It’s just more of an intermingling; it’s just more modern relationships. You see more and more on TV this happening. I think it’s speaks to you more like a modern sensibility because that’s the way people are now.