Jake Johnson on Getting Cast in ‘New Girl’: “That was the beginning of my life being different”

New Girl actor Jake Johnson has had a major shift in his career after making his debut on the FOX sitcom as Nick Miller.  He also stars in the much-talked about indie film Safety Not Guaranteed, in which he takes on a dramatic role.

Johnson talked to NBC New York about the changes in his career.  He said, “It’s been a crazy year, yeah.  Since it started, I shot the New Girl pilot, and then I forgot about the pilot because I viewed the pilot as an eight-day independent movie, that we were making a long short.  Then I was in Seattle for Safety Not Guaranteed—I knew I was going to do 21 Jump Street after, and so I thought, ‘Well, I have my summer planned.  I’ll go home for a while, relax a bit and figure out the fall and or winter.’  My wife came and visited me.  We were at the hotel, relaxing, and I actually checked ‘Deadline Hollywood.’  I got on and it said ‘New Girl has been picked up to series.’  I didn’t get the call from the agents or anything, and then I thought, ‘New Girl has been picked up to series?  Weird.’  Then I got a call and everyone called, and they said, ‘You’re going to Up Fronts in two weeks.’  That was the beginning of my life being different.”

Although New Girl has been picked up for a second season, Johnson is still remaining open about his career choices.  He noted, “I want to just do interesting stuff.  The idea of celebrity doesn’t mean very much to me.  The idea of getting bigger and bigger, it’s not as cool as I thought that it was when I was 12…I don’t understand this new era of people wanting to be celebrities for the sake of celebrity and reality stars.  I think that is the least interesting part of the business that I’m in, but what I’d love to be able to do is get opportunities to do interesting projects and play characters who are on either side of the fence of likeable or not likeable, or good or bad and try to find some truth to them where I, as a man, can say, ‘This guy is a murderer,’ or this guy is a blank, but I can see it through his eyes for this four and a half weeks in wherever we shoot it.”

Safety Not Guaranteed is now in theaters in limited release.

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