Zooey Deschanel reveals on the first episode she turned down a role on ‘The Office’ to be on ‘New Girl’
Zooey Deschanel is well known for her turn as Jessica Day on Fox’s “New Girl,” but before she accepted the role, she was considering an arc on NBC’s “The Office.”
Deschanel explained her choice on the first episode of “Welcome to Our Show,” a “New Girl” rewatch podcast hosted by Deschanel and costars Hannah Simone (who played Cece) and Lamorne Morris (who played Winston), which premiered on Monday.
Deschanel said she was about to accept a smaller role on “The Office” when she was reading the “New Girl” script — and it helped her open her mind to a TV project. Prior to “New Girl,” she’d worked primarily on movies.
“I was all set to do it, we were kind of just negotiating, and then I got the script for ‘New Girl,’ and honestly, if I hadn’t thought in my mind that I was going to do this arc on ‘The Office,’ I wouldn’t have even been open to reading a TV script,” she said on the podcast.
The actress recalled laughing out loud while first reading the script for the Fox sitcom on a plane. She then thought that “if this were a movie” more people would be jumping at this opportunity.
Plus the ability to immerse herself in the show — which ran for seven seasons — and her character for longer was more appealing than filming a shorter arc for “The Office.”
“It’s actually a great opportunity because I can play this character for hopefully a longer period of time and kind of get into the character in a deeper way than if I were just doing it for two hours and that’s it,” Deschanel added.
At the beginning of the episode, Deschanel, Simone, and Morris also discussed what they had been doing before auditioning for “New Girl.”
Deschanel explained that she had started acting as a teenager and worked on about “30 something” movies, such as “Elf” (2003) and “500 Days of Summer” (2009), but hadn’t really considered being on a TV show.
“At the time, you either were a movie actor or a TV actor,” Deschanel recalled. “There wasn’t really any crossover.”
“I hadn’t really thought that much about doing TV, and at the time, I started watching a few comedies on TV, and I was like, ‘You know what? This seems like a pretty fun thing to do,'” she added. “I was watching a lot of ’30 Rock’ and ‘The Office,’ and I was like, ‘Maybe I’d like to do something like this.'”
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