Prince asked his role to be to bring characters Jess and Nick together
The creator of New Girl has discussed working with the late Prince, who guest-starred in a special episode of the show broadcast immediately after the Super Bowl in 2014. Prince died on Thursday (April 21) at his estate in Minnesota, aged 57.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, New Girl creator and showrunner Elizabeth Meriwether said that Prince gave her notes on the script for the episode, in which the sitcom’s characters crash a party at his house.
In the episode, Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Prince were due to have a scene in a cupboard together, in which Prince was to shine a flashlight under his chin, but Prince had other ideas.
“We were shooting,” Meriwether told EW, “and somebody nudged me and I looked up and he was standing on a balcony pointing at me and beckoning me with his finger.”
After following him, he took her into a bathroom and switched off the lights without a word. “I was like, ‘Uh?’” Meriwether recalled. “I didn’t know what was going on. And then he flicked on a lighter under his chin — one of those long, skinny lighters — and then he just looks at me and goes, ‘Isn’t this funnier?’”
The suggestion ended up being used in the episode. “That was just an example of the level of detail that he was thinking about,” Meriwether added. “He was thinking about the prop that he was going to use in the scene and whether or not it was funny enough. He’s Prince; he doesn’t have to be doing this. But he just cared that much.”
Actor Jake Johnson, who plays Nick, has also revealed that Prince asked that in his appearance he help bring together Nick and Jess. The other stars of the sitcom Zooey Deschanel (Jess), Lamorne Morris (Winston) and Max Greenfield (Schmidt) have also paid tribute to him on social media.
That episode of the sitcom, named ‘Prince’, is due to air again on Tuesday on American Fox.