Five questions with Max Greenfield of 'New Girl'

Posted 7:07pm on Wednesday, Feb. 06, 2013

Max Greenfield

Max Greenfield, one of Zooey Deschanel's scene-stealing co-stars on New Girl, says he has little in common with the character he plays. It stands to reason that he'd want to point out some differences. Schmidt, a self-involved, wannabe ladies' man, doesn't have many endearing qualities. He's a creep, in fact. Greenfield, on the other hand, is a devoted husband and father and is far less likely to be called out for his idiotic, egotistical behavior as Schmidt always is by his roommates. (Schmidt has to put a dollar in a jar each time he does something jerky.) The fact that Schmidt has become a viewer favorite and an Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for the show (which airs 8 p.m. Tuesday on Fox) is a testament to Greenfield's likability.

1 What was it about the character of Schmidt that made you want to play him?

I was just happy that I got to audition for the show, let alone get the role. It's so funny when people ask me about it, like I had some sort of choice in the matter. I read the material and really responded, and I was so excited to get the audition and just hoping to give a good read. Then, to get the job, I was like, "You've got to be kidding me." But it certainly has worked out wonderfully.

2 Can you relate to Schmidt in any way?

Of course. I think there are and there have been many moments in my life where I've tried just a bit too hard. I think anybody can relate to that. That's Schmidt's problem. He has difficulty being comfortable in his own skin and, as a result, puts a little too much effort into everything.

3 Do you ever say and do things that warrant putting a dollar -- or a 20, or even a 50 -- in a jar?

Oh, sure. Plenty of times. But it's usually just dumb things where my wife will be like, "What's wrong with you?"

4 What do you think of the on-again, off-again romance between Schmidt and Cece (played by Hannah Simone)? Do you want to see these two star-crossed characters wind up together?

Personally, yes, I'd like to see them back together. You play the character and try to make it as personal as possible and, at this point, Schmidt is working so hard to get back with her that I think I personally want to just win already. But every time they make up, it seems as though he'll totally mess it up again. Then they'll find a place in friendship. And once they get settled into a normal friend relationship, he feels the need to go after her again.

5 A few episodes ago, Schmidt performed a lap dance for Nick (Jake Johnson). Where on earth did you pick up those moves?

I don't want to say I was a stripper, because that's not the right word. But I was an exotic dancer for quite some time. That's not only Channing Tatum's story, but it's mine as well. It's a shame that he was so much more famous than I was at the time the story came out. Because I don't want to feel like I'm copying him.

-- David Martindale, Special to the Star-Telegram

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