Jake Johnson, who plays the slacker-y Nick Miller opposite Zooey Deschanel's quirky Jess, is set to spend his hiatus in New Orleans shooting an action comedy titled "Let's Be Cops" opposite
"I like doing something people don't expect, and an action comedy with Damon Wayans Jr. is something people don't expect," Johnson said of his upcoming role, which has him and the
PHOTOS: Summer Sneaks 2013
The 34-year-old rings a more familiar bell with "Pretty One" opposite another offbeat Z-lady,
Johnson has had roles in a number of romance-tinged indies, including the Michael Cera faux documentary “Paper Heart” and last year’s time-travel comedy
Despite the thematic (and titular) similarities between "Pretty One" and “New Girl,” Johnson says he's been struck by the differences between a get-’er-done world of indie film and the slow burn of a season of television production. "One's like a firecracker, light it and it goes. And the other's more of a family,” he said, showing a penchant for metaphor the sort-of smooth-talking Schmidt might appreciate.
PHOTOS: Hollywood backlot moments
The actor is taking a career path embraced by a growing number of young actors: build a fan base with a TV show and leverage that into a career in the indie-film world, where producers are eager for names that don’t also cost them
Johnson said that both films and even his Fox sitcom have offered a chance to flex some new acting muscles. “People are relating to Nick in the second season,” he said. “I don’t think that happened in the first season.”
He also, he adds, enjoys changes at a more follicular level. "I shot two movies last summer," he said of “Pretty One” and "Drinking Buddies." "And I had a beard in both. I mean, I had to get them done in a pretty tight window so I could be clean-shaven for 'New Girl.' But it was all worth it. I got to have a beard in two movies."