Jake Johnson: New Girl’s New Guy

After a string of gay-inclusive projects, New Girl star Jake Johnson talks about kissing costar Max Greenfield, bonding with his gay college roommate, and being too fat for Fox.

BY Brandon Voss

October 30 2012 9:00 AM ET

Johnson and Ashton Kutcher in No Strings Attached

 

As a married man, what are your thoughts on marriage equality?
I 100% believe that gay people should be able to get married. I’ve been with Erin, my wife, for seven years, and we weren’t really planning on getting married until I got hit in the head and had to go to the hospital for a potential concussion. I was being a melodramatic baby about it because I thought I was dying, so Erin was talking to the nurse. The moment the nurse found out that Erin wasn’t my wife, it was like Erin lost all validity in the conversation. Afterward, we realized we needed to get married because of simple things like that. So it sickens me that some people can’t marry the most important person in their life and share those same simple privileges of marriage.

Your New Girl costar Max Greenfield played gay in Greek and Happy Endings. Could you pull off a gay role?
I’m not sure the world’s ready for that, but if given the opportunity, I think I could do something interesting with it. When I book a gay character, I’m going to do some Daniel Day-Lewis stuff and follow you around for two months. I’ll go full method and make people call me Brandon Voss.

Who would you cast as your male love interest?
Joe Pesci. We could do a weird Brokeback Mountain and just call it Mean Mountain.

Which gay celebrity would you want to play in a biopic?
Billy Crystal’s character in Soap.

Eli, your sidekick character in No Strings Attached, had two gay dads. What inspired that?
Our New Girl creator Liz Meriwether actually wrote that screenplay and wanted to give the character more depth. A Mexican busboy at a Vietnamese restaurant in my neighborhood had only seen the trailer and told me, “Your character’s like, ‘Yeah, I like pizza; go have sex with her!’” And he was right. But having two gay dads made him more likable and interesting.

There’s a great little moment at the end of the film where Eli is seen hugging and jumping up and down with his gay dads. Was that in the script?
No, that moment was documented after we wrapped. I was walking home, I saw those two guys carrying balloons, and we all just jumped in each other’s arms for a while. Because I felt when we were shooting the movie that they really were my dads, and all three of us still talk every day on the phone — we conference call, and I call them both Dad. [Laughs] No, that was actually one of the first things we shot on that movie. What was really great about that scene was having the famous and amazing Ivan Reitman direct me and say, “Jake, run into your dads’ arms, jump up and down, and be excited.”

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