‘New Girl’: Jake Johnson Wants Fans to Know He’s Not Like Nick Miller, Nick Miller Is Like Him

Is Jake Johnson just like Nick Miller or is Nick Miller just like Jake Johnson? That is the question. Johnson is getting tired of people claiming he is just like his New Girl character, when in fact, it is the other way around. Nick Miller is just like him! Find out why our favorite loft member is a reflection of the actor himself. 

Nick and Jess
Nick and Jess | FOX Image Collection/ Getty Images

Jake Johnson prefers not to be the star of the show

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Similar to his character on New Girl, Jake Johnson isn’t a very flashy person. He prefers the simple life, and would rather watch other people reach for the stars as opposed to being the one to do it himself. The actor admitted in an interview with Off Camera that he would prefer to be “in the shadows” of the leading person as opposed to being the star himself.

This personality trait bleeds through on the Fox series, considering Nick is an extremely supportive character on the show. Johnson said, “I have a lot of fun being behind that person, kind of in the shadows… That feeling has been a lot of my career where there’s somebody who’s really excited about somebody, and then I’m right next to that somebody. And it really deeply doesn’t offend me. I like it…” 

The creator of ‘New Girl’ allowed Johnson to be himself 

Jake Johnson praised New Girl creator, Liz Meriwether, for allowing the actors to put their own personalities and perspectives into their roles. In an interview with Good Morning America, Johnson said,

“Liz Meriwether, our creator, one part of her brilliance is that apart from being a good writer is that she wants parts of her actors. So she’ll say like, ‘But what do you think? Open this up. Improvise that.’ So a lot of Nick you’ll see in every character I do that I’m allowed to improvise.”

Because Johnson was given the freedom to incorporate his own personality into the role of Nick, he was frustrated when someone tweeted him saying, “You even dance like Nick Miller,” To which Johnson wanted to reply, “No, that fool dances like me!”

Johnson said whenever he’s allowed to improvise, he always incorporates parts of himself into the role. Considering his history of improv, it seems as though this method of acting is most natural to him.  

Jake Johnson was a high school dropout before making it in Hollywood

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Sometimes life imitates art. Other times, art imitates life. This seems to be the case with Johnson, whose character on New Girl plays a law school dropout, despite the fact that he only had 3 semesters left to go. The stakes were arguably higher in real life, when the actor decided to quit high school during his sophomore year. He claims in his Off Camera interview that he was getting sent to the principal’s office almost every day as a kid, and simply “didn’t care” about his grades or his school projects because they didn’t mean anything to him at the time. 

He said, “I truly believed school was an opportunity to compete with the teacher for attention… they sent another friend and I to the school therapist to see ‘why are you getting in so much trouble?’” 

After dropping out, Johnson felt like he was at rock bottom. He decided to go back to school a year later, yet this time he focused on studies that he actually cared about. He went back to school to study acting and writing. After focusing on the arts, Johnson realized, “that’s my thing.”

Now, the actor is more successful than ever.

Remind you of anyone? Oh, that’s right. Nick Miller. On the series, Nick plays a dropout at rock bottom, who at the end of the series becomes a wildly successful writer.

It’s no wonder people think Jake Johnson is “just like Nick.”