Exclusive: Jake Johnson on reprising his role in Minx Season 2: I don’t really feel pressured

Somewhere between playing the hilarious Nick Miller in New Girl and voicing the lovable Spider-Dad in the animated Spider-Verse movies, Jake Johnson perfected the art of playing the everyman. The actor has been collecting relatable characters like Pokémon cards throughout his filmography and now, he’s done it again with Minx. The show sees him play an adult entertainment publisher who helps set up the first erotic magazine for women. In Season 2, the actor delves deeper into Doug’s delightful nuances. In an exclusive interview with Filmfare, Jake Johnson opens up about returning to roles, Doug’s arc and more.

How do you end up playing roles that perfectly fit your persona?

For New Girl’s Nick Miller, it was showrunner Elizabeth Hughes Meriwether who did a movie called No Strings Attached with me and then she said she’s got a pilot. I auditioned for it and got the part. For Spider-Verse, Phil Lord wrote and said that he had a character with me in mind. For Minx, I got an offer and I felt like I saw the whole world. Apart from Doug, I really liked the magazine, Joyce’s arc (Ophelia Lovibond), and the time period. The director Rachel Lee Goldenberg had a whole lookbook and in the end, after I had sunk my teeth into Doug I thought he’s such a fun character. My only question about it was that I didn’t want it to just be Doug and Joyce’s will-they-won’t-they. It wanted it to be about the capitalism of Doug seeing money and not sex. So yeah I thought I’m all in because it’s such a great show.

Jake Johnson Minx

Doug isn’t above doing shady things. What was your process of digging into his psyche and morality?

Jake: I think Doug’s a real guy. A lot of times on TV, people either play bad guys or good guys. Or they play really sleazy guys and try to gross you out. Sometimes they really want you to like a character. There’s a big note studio executives give a lot saying that the character is not likeable enough. But in my experience, the people you meet in life are a bit of both. Especially when you’re very close to people you see that they do a lot of good stuff but also a lot of shady stuff. I don’t view Doug as a good guy or a bad guy. I think Doug cares about the business. He wants to succeed economically. And he’s willing to cut corners to get there. But he also cares about people. He’s a complicated character in a fun way.

Doug is also quite comfortable with male nudity around him. Can you talk about that character detail?

You know Boogie Nights is one of my all-time favourite movies. I recommend everyone to watch it. What they do so well in that movie is that Burt Reynolds’ view on big pen*ses is not threatening. It’s not the way men are mostly perceived which is either they can’t see it or are threatened by it. But Doug just sees it as a big dollar sign. It’s so funny. When I saw Doug’s view and I read the script, you would see it the way Better Reynolds would see it – a big pen*s just means a lot of money.

When you reprise a role, do you feel pressured to top the previous instalment?

I love doing reprised roles. Some actors love always doing something new every time. I prefer TV or the way the Spider-Verse is. I love revisiting Peter B. Parker and I hope to do it for a long time. I hope to play Doug for a while too. I feel like when you reprise a role you get to know the character in more ways. It basically turns it from a short story to a novel. You get to learn more and understand more. I don’t really feel pressured. I just feel the excitement with that.

Jake Johnson Minx

Does playing all these relatable characters blur the line between fiction and reality for you?

Not really. But the only unique thing that happened while filming for Minx was the way Doug dresses – he wears a lot of suits and jewellery. When I go to work I’m usually dressed in shorts and a t-shirt with flip-flops because I live in California. And you get to work early and you leave late. I was leaving work one night and I was playing Doug for 12 hours that day. On my way home, my wife asked me to grab groceries and I was in the freezer section of the store. I reached out and I realised I didn’t have any rings on and no bracelets, my hand felt naked. When I looked down I realised I was wearing shorts. It felt like I was wearing underpants. I looked at my outfit with shorts and flip-flops and I felt like a slob. I realised that hell yeah, his clothes had changed me. I might dress differently when I go out now just because the ’70s fashion for men was just a little different than it is right now. I like leaning a little bit more to where they were.

You are majorly known for your role in New Girl. Do you worry about being typecast?

No, it’s such a joy. I didn’t start working till my late 20s. So the fact that people care about New Girl means that there’s a good chance that they’ll watch Minx and there’s a good chance that they’ll watch my new directorial Self Reliance. And without New Girl that base isn’t there. Also, fans of the show are very sweet people because it’s such an optimistic show. So the fanbase of people is supportive and kind human beings. If there’s any show that I’d want to be associated with, I think New Girl is on top.

Minx Season 2 is currently streaming. 

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