I had an in with Zooey Deschanel. Ever since (500) Days of Summer, I’ve thanked her for helping me get over 500 days of Diane. She remembered that, since it was so specific. So as the Television Critics Association crowded around her to talk about her new show, New Girl, I got her full attention to ask about my new TV crush, her character Jess.
CraveOnline: Thank you again for helping me through my 500 days of Diane.
Zooey Deschanel: Oh, that’s right, of course. I’ve talked to you a million times. I remember that.
CraveOnline: How much fun was it shooting the title sequence?
Zooey Deschanel: Oh, I think that might be a temp one.
CraveOnline: You should keep that title sequence. It’s great.
Zooey Deschanel: I know, I like that one. I’m not sure what we’re doing with that. I like the title sequence. We had originally imagined it as a dance sequence and we had shot like a dance sequence, but we had to leave it to the last day of shooting. It was five in the morning when we were done with everything and there just wasn’t really enough time to get it so I think they had that freeze frame one as a temp, but maybe they’ll keep something like that in. I wrote the music for the theme song and then the writers wrote the lyrics. That was really fun.
CraveOnline: What about the pillow dance?
Zooey Deschanel: The pillow dance?
CraveOnline: The striptease you do in the beginning. I call it the pillow dance instead of the naked dance.
Zooey Deschanel: Oh yes, well that, I think actually on that day we went in and we had to figure out, obviously it’s network television, not HBO, so we had to figure out ways of covering me up. She’s also a little bit timid and goofy so we were trying to figure out ways we could cover her up and make it fun and use the props that were in the room. There was a pillow there so we were like oh, let’s use the pillow and let’s use the plant. Let’s knock over the plant.
CraveOnline: Will Jess be dancing a lot in the series?
Zooey Deschanel: Yes. I mean, she likes to sing and dance. I think in her mind she’s in a musical always.
CraveOnline: How does it make you feel to have all these adoring male fans?
Zooey Deschanel: Oh, stop, I don’t. I think because I love this character, I hope and think maybe other people will love her as well.
CraveOnline: Will you do more silly dances and crazy stuff?
Zooey Deschanel: Well, I just feel like the fun thing about that character is I can just completely throw myself into it without vanity. I feel like vanity is the enemy of an actor ultimately so I feel like this character, when we started, I was like I’m gonna really go for this in a way that could be so unattractive. In the end, I think it’s a wash maybe.
CraveOnline: If you were making fun of it, it might be obnoxious. Is the difference that sincerity makes it endearing?
Zooey Deschanel: I never wanted there to be a moment where she’s crying and it’s fake crying. I want all those emotions to be as real as you would ever see them. I’m not playing a comedy. I wanted to be playing at the truth of the moment and then I think that the comedy comes out.
CraveOnline: Jess also made some very specific references to Lord of the Rings. Will there be more throughout the series?
Zooey Deschanel: Oh, definitely. Definitely. Without a doubt.
CraveOnline: By the way, Winnie the Pooh was awesome.
Zooey Deschanel: Oh, thank you. I love this movie. So fun to work on.
CraveOnline: In the early stages, did you know it was something special?
Zooey Deschanel: Yeah, they showed me some really rough animation early, early on to get me excited about it. They had actually mocked up a She & Him song in the rough animation so they initially just asked me to do the beginning credits song. Then they liked that so they asked me to write the end credit song which I did and then asked me to sing a few more songs. It ended up being something that built.
CraveOnline: And it’s going to be around forever.
Zooey Deschanel: I know, I’m really excited about it.
CraveOnline: What’s coming up for Jess in the upcoming episodes?
Zooey Deschanel: Some fun stuff with the ex-boyfriend which was fun. Some sort of farcical stuff. There’s some really funny stuff. They’ve done an amazing job.
CraveOnline: How has your life changed with the TV schedule?
Zooey Deschanel: Well, we start on Monday [August 8.] I expect to have little time to socialize but that’s okay. I’ll socialize with my friends on set.
Fox Photo | AUTUMN DEWILD