Beau­ti­ful geek: New Girl’s Zooey Deschanel ...

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CONTENTS - New Girl: Sun­days, 8pm, Ten, Ten SC

ZOOEY Deschanel, 31, is a sea­soned ac­tress who has logged main­stream cred­its ( Elf, Yes Man) as well as the art-house fare ( Al­most Fa­mous, (500) Days of Sum­mer,

Our Id­iot Brother) with which she is more closely iden­ti­fied.

Deschanel comes from show­biz stock that in­cludes her Os­car-nom­i­nated cin­e­matog­ra­pher fa­ther, Caleb, her ac­tress mother, Mary Jo, and sis­ter Emily, who stars on the long-run­ning crime se­ries Bones.

She is mega-pretty with her raven fringe, creamy skin and blue eyes that seem in a state of per­pet­ual sur­prise.

A re­fresh­ingly nor­mal per­son sparked by an en­dear­ingly icon­o­clas­tic style, she reigns with in­die cred: film dom’s ‘‘al­theroine’’, as New York mag­a­zine put it in a re­cent Deschanel cover story. She is, how­ever, con­fronting the prospect of big-time star­dom on a big-time net­work TV hit, New Girl.

On the show, she plays Jess Day, a school­teacher who is goofy, good- na­tured and un­guarded in her deal­ings with the world, par­tic­u­larly tone-deaf with re­spect to men. When she catches her boyfriend in their apart­ment with an­other wo­man, she bolts for new quar­ters that she finds online, on Craigslist. It is a spa­cious loft she will share with three guys (played by Jake John­son, Max Green­field and, re­plac­ing Da­mon Wayans Jr, af­ter the pi­lot, Lamorne Mor­ris) who, de­spite their reser­va­tions, wel­come her as sur­ro­gate big broth­ers.

Jess is the sort of gal who sings to her­self her own theme song (‘‘Who’s that girl? It’s Jess!’’); mourns her breakup by watch­ing Dirty Danc­ing while she blub­bers a half-dozen times a day; sets her hair on fire with her curl­ing iron; and greets a strange man in a bar with, ‘‘Hey, sailor!’’

‘‘Well, I guess I can’t hide my crazy,’’ Jess laments to one of her roomies af­ter her lat­est foible.

For New Girl to suc­ceed, the viewer must be­lieve that a beau­ti­ful girl can also be such a dork that her so­cial life and well-be­ing are rou­tinely up­ended.

‘‘Here’s the thing: You can be a nerd and be awk­ward, and be at­trac­tive at the same time,’’ Deschanel says.

‘‘Jess is a per­son who spent six years with the same guy. She’s not a dater. And now she’s be­ing put out there in a way she’s never been be­fore. She’s a lit­tle bit guile­less and tries to see the best in peo­ple,’’ Deschanel laughs, ‘‘and you know that al­ways goes wrong!

‘‘She’s dif­fer­ent from me in some ways, but there’s a part of my­self that re­ally is her: 13-year-old me was very much Jess – op­ti­mistic, ex­cited all the time.

‘‘I made a ca­reer be­ing cast as smar­taleck-type char­ac­ters, but I’m not sar­cas­tic at all. I’m not ironic. I’m very sin­cere, gen­er­ally. So this role played into a part of my­self that I hadn’t been us­ing on the screen.’’

New Girl

stars Max Green­field, Jake John­son, Zooey Deschanel and Lamorne Mor­ris.

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