Q&A with New Girl star Hannah Simone
Canadian-bred, LA-based actress and model Hannah Simone plays Cece Meyers, the best friend of Jess (Zooey Deschanel) in New Girl.
New Girl had a lot of buzz when it came on-air. How did you first hear about it?
Last year I was in pilot season reading scripts. When I came across [New Girl creator] Liz Meriwether's script I knew from the first line on the page that it was different and special. Then I saw the names attached! I auditioned and thankfully got the part.
Had you met Zooey before?
No. The first time was at a chemistry read before shooting. She was funny and very warm.
What do you do to bond together? Go out and have a few drinks?
No [laughs]. You can't force chemistry. It's either there or it's not. You can't create it. They really took their time casting because they wanted it to feel authentic.
There are some very, umm, modern plotlines …
The reason so many people like the show is it talks honestly about that period in your life where you're out on your own trying to figure everything out. You're no longer living at home with your parents, you're not married with kids yet and your friends form this dysfunctional family. The Schmidt and Cece relationship explored the idea that for so many in our generation, physical intimacy is easy but emotional intimacy can be really hard. And they did it in a funny, honest way.
Schmidt and Cece: did it seem like an obvious relationship to you?
I had no idea it was coming. We shot the pilot and Schmidt and Cece were on opposite ends of the spectrum. She was the well-put-together model and he was a guy who required a douchebag jar.
I remember getting the script and saying, "You have gotta be kidding me!"
What was the most surprising thing about Cece?
The dynamic of the friendship between her and Jess was refreshing. Quite often women are pitted against each other for an easy joke, so they fight or steal each other's boyfriends. To me, that's not really true to life. I love that Jess and Cece don't fit in these one-dimensional boxes.
The first season went for 24 episodes. Was it a long year?
It's like school. We start in the end of August and you go five days a week and then you get a summer vacation.
That final episode of season one seemed pretty emotional for Schmidt and Cece?
We shot it in the desert in the middle of the night. We didn't know what was coming in season two, so for them to break up, I was really sad for our characters. It meant we were excited to come back in season two and say, ''Now what?''
You have done a lot of modelling and other work. Is acting what you've always wanted to do?
I've been on stage since I was eight. As a girl growing up in Cyprus, Saudi Arabia and then India, the idea of cracking the industry in America seemed crazy. So, thankfully, the way I was raised was to be an open person. When I had the chance to move to LA four years ago, I did it.
Ten, Mondays, 7.30pm.
Season one is available on DVD.