Zooey Deschanel admits receiving her first Emmy nomination was, “exciting, overwhelming, and I was just blown away and so moved.” Nominated for playing Jess in the new hit Fox series “New Girl,” she is in one of the most competitive Emmy categories of the year — Comedy Actress.
Among the other six nominees are four previous winners of this race (Tina Fey, Melissa McCarthy, Edie Falcom and Julia Louis-Dreyfus), an overdue Amy Poehler and the much buzzed about Lena Dunham. Sizing up this lineup, Deschanel says “I’m so honoured to be mentioned in the same sentence as them, it’s just a dream.”
To take on such a competitive field, she has an ace up her sleeve — her episode submission that voters will watch. She chose “Bad in Bed” explaining, “I picked it because … that particular episode had a really good range of some of the more emotional stuff and the sillier stuff and all the best things about ‘New Girl’ I thought were in that episode. It was a really fun one to do so I thought that would be a good one.”
In the episode, Jess struggles to consummate her relationship with a new boyfriend. Seeking advice from her flatmates results in an over-the-top role play scene where she pretends to be an old-time newscaster and chokes him. “That was probably the weirdest scene I’ve shot in my life, I’ve done like 40 movies and now a lot of television and that was maybe the weirdest scene I’ve ever done, and I just thought ‘you know it’s very unique and special.’ So I felt like that was a good episode.” Having such a memorable moment coupled with her character being both sympathetic and huggable could help her pull off an upset.
On playing Jess, the actress says, “here’s someone who’s awkward and a little bit silly and very optimistic who in her head thinks she’s the star of her own TV show. That was sort of the way I approached it going into the last season, and then that’s how she makes herself feel better about life. She has a theme song and it optimistic in that kind of way… That outlook makes her special.”
Prior to “New Girl,” Deschanel starred in many feature films including “500 Days of Summer.” On making the move to TV, she says, “the film industry is changing a lot. Things aren’t the same as they were when I was 17 when I started making movies and I thought, this material is so good and it’s really satisfying as a performer to get immediate feedback … Right before I took the show, I noticed I had been watching so much television, more television than movies, there was such good stuff to choose from and it’s amazing how many incredible shows there are on television now… and I’m really excited to be amongst all these incredible people.”
Despite this commitment, she still finds times for more work. She’s also the lead singer and lyricist for the music duo “She and Him“ and reveals, “I actually just was working on a new “She and Him” record on my hiatus … I didn’t do a movie on my hiatus cause I was working on the record, but maybe next hiatus I’ll do a movie. I still find time for other things, but I love doing this show and it’s really an amazing experience for me”
With season two production of “New Girl” now underway, she teases what fans can expect. “First episode Jess gets fired from her teaching job … it’s what she’s always wanted to do so it sort of throws her into like a chaotic state … she’s going to continue to look for jobs for a little while, and men… There will be a lot of fun things we are going to get to try as far as Jess’ new job and hobbies.”
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