Archive for the ‘News’ Category
On “New Girl,” Max Greenfield plays the likable character Schmidt — a popular role that’s earned the actor Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Prepare to like Greenfield, 33, that much more. No matter how much acclaim or recognition he gets, the funnyman said at home, he knows who’s in charge and who’s most important — his wife Tess and daughter Lilly.
“I’ve been married for so long now, I don’t even remember dating,” Greenfield, 33, joked about tying the knot in 2008 to Tess Sanchez, a Fox casting executive.”She’s the boss!” he said of his powerful counterpart. “Yeah, she’s the boss. She keeps me in the ground, as opposed to grounded,” he joked.
Greenfield added that his wife was impressed with his recent work in “About Alex,” a film that debuted last week at the Tribeca Film Festival. “[My wife] did turn to me after seeing this film and said, ‘I feel like you gave a strong performance,’” he said. “I thought, ‘I must be really good in this! She’s never done that!’”
The indie drama About Alex features a number of well-known TV actors, including Parks and Recreation‘s Aubrey Plaza, New Girl‘s Max Greenfield and Parenthood‘s Jason Ritter.
The movie’s writer-director, Jesse Zwick, who makes his feature film debut with the project, also has a TV background, not only writing for Parenthood but also being the son of legendary producer Ed Zwick (Thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, Once and Again).
The elder Zwick executive produced the project, but his writer-director son is quick to clarify his dad’s involvement, noting that while he didn’t provide any of the film’s funding, he did offer guidance throughout the process.
He also helped get the film’s primary producer, Adam Saunders, on board.
“I met Ed through our last movie; he sort of mentored us,” Saunders explains to The Hollywood Reporter. “And he sent me the script and asked my opinion of it, and I said, ‘It’s amazing, and you have to let me produce it.’ He said, ‘It’s not my decision; it’s Jesse’s, so he introduced me to Jesse, and I was lucky enough to have Jesse choose me to produce it.”
The Big Chill-like film focuses on a group of college friends who reunite for a weekend away after drifting apart following graduation.
“About Alex,” which premiered at the festival, tells the story of six friends who reunite after one (Jason Ritter) tries to commit suicide. Starring Ritter, Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Max Minghella, Nate Parker, Maggie Grace, and Jane Levy, the film looks at adult friendships in a time when hyper-connectivity (thanks to social media and technology) rules all, yet friends still manage to “slip through the cracks.”
Greenfield (best known as Schmidt on Fox’s “New Girl”) said that the experience was an emotional one for him. “It was when Jason’s character first enters the house, having come back from the hospital, and it was the first time in a scene seeing the bandages, and I went, ‘I misjudged the movie. I didn’t think it was gonna be so heavy. I can’t do this for the next 30 days.’
“It was terrifying, but it was a real moment, and that was kind of like… I’m glad I had the day off the next day,” he added. “It was one thing to read it, but it was another to get up, be in it, and see it. It was a very shocking moment.”
Co-star Ritter agrees with the heavy reality of the film and felt playing a group of friends made the ensemble cast close off camera. “We got to such a point where we all did legitimately care about each other,” he said. “There was one time, and it was in the scene where Aubrey’s on the bed with me, and she keeps on asking me like, ‘Are you OK? Is there anything I can get you?’ and all this stuff, and at some point I just say, ‘You need to stop asking me.’ And she’s just supposed to go ‘OK, I just really care about you,’ and when I said ‘You have to stop asking me,’ …I saw these tears spring to her eyes and all of a sudden I felt so loved and cared about and that she worried about me.
About Alex, which recently premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, is not a comedy, but stars Max Greenfield and Jason Ritter somehow make it feel like one. The dark drama centers around Alex (Ritter), a 30-something man who tries to commit suicide and in turn reunites all his college friends as he recovers. When we sat down with Greenfield and Ritter, they revealed how they formed their dynamic on set with their costars, the amount of improv on set, and their most embarrassing ’90s moments and outfits. And for you New Girl fans, Greenfield also dishes how Josh is a “f*cking assh*le” version of Schmidt.
POPSUGAR: Though About Alex is a dark and dramatic movie, it also has a lot of comedy. Did that balance of emotional and comedic moments come naturally for you two?
Jason Ritter: Yeah, I think so. It’s happened in my life, too. It’s in our nature to balance and right ourselves when we go too far one way. Some of the hardest I’ve ever laughed in my entire life has been during some of the most tragic times, because it’s a release. We knew at a certain point that this was a very heavy movie and we all got really into the reality of what had happened, and once we had that, it felt like we had tied a rope to a tree and we could just lean as far the other way as we wanted to and knowing that it would never uproot the tree.
PS: The dynamic between the cast, and you two in particular, was fantastic. Was there any ad-libbing off each other?
JR: There were some. For the most part it was all scripted but no, there were a lot of buttons put on scenes and also different introductions and a lot of playing around in between. But there was a lot of it that was pretty written out.
Max Greenfield: Yeah, I felt it was a difficult movie to fully embrace the improv end, just because there was usually so many people in the scenes. Unless you were in a two shot, then you’re doing coverage of all these different people and it gets dicey when you have one camera and you’re going between everybody and then all of a sudden one person starts improv-ing. When we cut that together, it’s not going to make sense.
People around the world, and the younger generation in particular, have used social media in recent years to allow those they’re connected with unrestricted access into their everyday, personal lives. But even the seemingly most unhindered insight into a person’s daily routine doesn’t always offer the most in-depth vision into their true feelings and motivations. That intimate exploration of how well friends really know each other, particularly with the public persona people often create on social media, is explored in first-time feature film writer-director Jesse Zwick’s new drama, About Alex.
About Alex, which recently had its world premiere at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, follows a group of estranged college friends as they gather in a country home in the wake of the title character’s (Ritter) attempted suicide. The group sought out to help their friend after he alerted them of his intentions by posting a suicide note on Twitter. Even though Alex has been experiencing severe emotional distress, his friends still have trouble pushing their own problems to focus on his dilemma.
The tension between the friends grows even further as many of the characters have had romantic relationships together in the past. Josh (Greenfield) and Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) are entangled in a destructive sexual relationship, even though he also secretly pines for Ben’s (Nate Parker) long-time girlfriend, Siri (Maggie Grace). Siri has secrets of her own though, as she and Alex may be secretly in love with each other. Making things even more complicated is the fact that Isaac (Max Minghella) and Kate (Jane Levy) are set to start a potentially serious relationship, even though he and Sarah may be concealing a long-dormant affection for each other.
Jason Ritter and Max Greenfield recently took some time to sit down with us in New York City for a roundtable interview to talk about filming About Alex. Among other things, the actors discussed how having friends in similar emotional distress like Alex made the story seem even more authentic, how social media has its advantages but also makes people ponder how much of their lives should be made public, how the writer-director aimed to make the drama completely unique from the similarly-themed The Big Chill, and much more.
In person, Max Greenfield is engaging, chatty and often hilarious. Here, in New York, we’d say that he likes to schmooze. The 33-year-old actor has shot to fame over the last three years by playing Schmidt on the Fox series “New Girl,” and he’s the kind of person fans hope all their favorite actors are in real life: appreciative, but good-humored about success.
Thus far, Greenfield has spent the bulk of his career on television. Before “New Girl,” there were roles on “Ugly Betty,” “Veronica Mars,” “Greek,” that reboot of “Melrose Place” and even “The O.C.” This year, though, he’s becoming a movie star: In addition to a cameo appearance in the “Veronica Mars” movie, Greenfield has featured roles in David Wain’s new comedy, “They Came Together” (out this summer), and the Tribeca Film Festival debut, “About Alex.” Directed by Jesse Zwick, that film is a spin on ’80s ensemble dramas such as “The Big Chill”: Following a suicide attempt by the title character (Jason Ritter), a group of college friends (Greenfield, Aubrey Plaza, Nate Parker, Max Minghella, Maggie Grace) reunite after years apart for a weekend of memories, drinking and drama. Greenfield plays Josh, the cantankerous malcontent of the group, who thinks society is headed to hell on an express train (don’t even think about getting him started on social media). As Josh jokes during one of the film’s group scenes, he hates nostalgia, can’t stand the present and thinks the future looks even worse.
HuffPost Entertainment spoke to Greenfield following the Tribeca premiere of “About Alex.” An edited transcript of our conversation is below.
Max Greenfield: I follow the HuffPost on Twitter.
That’s good. You’re very funny on Twitter.
I try to not dive into anything that I’m unqualified to talk about. As many seem to do. I mean, what the fuck? Some people comment on shit and it’s like … there’s something that takes away from the importance of the issue and whatever point you’re trying to make by putting it in 140 characters on Twitter. Cut it out.
You might not know it from his body of work, but New Girl star Jake Johnson (whose buddy comedy Let’s Be Cops is out next Friday), is kind of the brains of the operation. But when I suggest that he might want to take credit for some of his booze-fueled moments of genius—they range from a successful improv duo, to a hit Comedy Central TV series, to an underground tennis association (to which complete strangers are pledging allegiance)—he only laughs. So not taking the bait. He’s more of a behind-the-scenes type, anyway: Johnson will make his screenwriting debut with next year’s Anna Kendrick-Orlando Bloom starrer,Digging for Fire. And though he loves a good, old-fashioned bender (there’s a science to how he builds his ideal buzz), today is more about sitting at the wood bar at Little Dom’s in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz, where Don Draper himself slugged martinis on Mad Men, wearing house slippers, and sipping lavender-scented bourbon out of a coupe glass. Hey, just because he doesn’t need his name up in lights doesn’t mean he’s not a storyteller.
So, Jake, as a big fan of New Girl, I firmly believe that Nick and Jess should be together. Where do you stand on that?
Honestly, I know it’s not the right answer in an interview, but whatever [showrunner] Liz [Meriwether] wants to do, I’m really happy with. So if they’re together, great! But if they’re not, as an actor on a TV show, you really don’t have any creative input besides how we play our characters, and how we play our moments. In terms of story stuff, the writers don’t call us, they don’t e-mail us; we show up to the table read, and try to execute the plan.
It’s rare to find stars of a buddy flick who are actually good friends in real life. Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson, whose on-set chemistry in Fox’s “New Girl” is undeniable, bring their comedic partnership to Let’s Be Cops. Filmed in Atlanta, Let’s Be Cops shows the actors in their best-improvised form: hilarious, outrageous, and absolutely relatable. Wayans Jr. and Johnson spoke to Creative Loafing about their favorite experiences filming in the city, what it’s like to have a large Samoan man’s testicles in your face, and revelations that the food in Atlanta is, in fact, much better than that in L.A.
So, do you like the movie?
Jake Johnson: We do, yeah. We’ve been able to see it with some audiences, which is fun, because it feels like a movie — you don’t wanna watch this movie alone on your computer. It’s a big movie, and it has big set pieces, like when that guy’s balls are in [Damon's] face.
Damon Wayans Jr.: They were not on my face. They were near.
JJ: Yeah, but you were pushing your face closer.
DWJ: No, you and Rob Riggle grabbed him by his ankles and dragged him closer.
When the assignment was to find a comedy team to take on impersonating police officers, funny men Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. – of the TV series “New Girl” – fit the uniforms perfectly for the new film, “Let’s Be Cops.” Add in the always hilarious Rob Riggle, and let the games begin.
Riggle is a well known comic character presence on “The Daily Show” and films like “The Hangover,” “21 Jump Street,” “Big Miracle” and the upcoming “Dumb and Dumber To.” Riggle is also famous for having served in the Marines and Marine Reserves for a total of 23 years – retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel – and began his comedy career after his first military stint.
Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson are practically a comedy duo. They portray pals Coach and Nick on Zooey Deschanel’s sitcom “New Girl,” and are best-friends-turned-fake-policemen in “Let’s Be Cops.” Wayans comes from the comedy family of his father Damon, and his uncles Keenan, Shawn and Marlon – The Wayans Brothers – and also was on ABC-TV’s “Happy Endings” sitcom. Jake Johnson is doing more film work, having appeared in the independent favorites “Safety Not Guaranteed” and “Drinking Buddies,” and has a role in the 2015 film “Jurassic World.”
HollywoodChicago.com interviewed all three co-stars of “Let’s Be Cops,” and found out about a prank that Jim Carrey liked to play on the Wayans family.
HollywoodChicago.com: Damon, what attracted you to ‘Let’s Be Cops,’ and how did you know you could make the character of Chang work?
Damon Wayans Jr.: Initially, what attracted me to the film was the premise. It’s like a twist on a pretty familiar genre, the cop comedy, and the twist is they’re not really cops. I liked that they got into a lot of trouble because of that, and I liked the action at the end. When I heard that Jake’s name was floated around as the co-star, I called him and said I’d do it if he did it. They helped my decision.
Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. just can’t seem to get away from each other!
In addition to sharing the small screen on New Girl, the duo star in the new buddy comedy Let’s Be Cops. So it only makes sense that for the film’s big premiere, they were joined by several of their co-stars, including Lamorne Morris, who got to play red carpet reporter for an evening and grill his cast mates.
In the exclusive video below, however, Hannah Simone turns the tables on Morris when the focus turns to season premiere guest star Jessica Biel. “I will say this: Justin Timberlake is a very lucky man,” Morris says.
Want to get a first look at Biel’s appearance? Check out the exclusive video HERE for that and more interviews with the cast.