‘New Girl’ Star Jake Johnson Received Devastating News After Getting Nick Miller Role: ‘I Almost Started Crying’

Jake Johnson may have been the perfect Nick Miller, but when he was cast for the New Girl role, the network wanted him to change just a little. Miller explained how a call from his manager, telling him that he needed to lose 10 or 15 pounds, almost left him in tears — but not for the reason you might think.

Zooey Deschanel as Jess and Jake Johnson as Nick  on 'New Girl'
Zooey Deschanel as Jess and Jake Johnson as Nick on ‘New Girl’ | FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Jake Johnson shared the bad news he got when he was cast in ‘New Girl’

During the Aug. 21 episode of the Thirst Aid Kit podcast, Johnson took a walk down memory lane, all the way back to the beginning of New Girl. Landing the role of Nick was a huge win for the actor, but when he found out the network wanted him to lose weight, he was devastated.

He wasn’t so much offended but was crushed by the timing of his manager telling him the network’s request. He was on his way to eat a big celebratory meal, so the news seriously impacted his dinner plans.

Johnson was on his way to gorge himself at a Mexican restaurant, where he planned to splurge on a pitcher of margaritas and extra sides with his new TV money. Then his manager called and said Fox wanted him to lose 10 to 15 pounds for the role.

It definitely took the wind out his sails. “No part of me was offended the way one might be offended by that,” he said. “I have a really thick skin, it takes a lot to offend me. I almost started crying because I wasn’t going to be able to eat the meal I was so excited for.”

RELATED: ‘New Girl’: Zooey Deschanel Said She ‘Felt Violated’ by the Show’s Original Title and Almost Didn’t Read the Script

One joke on ‘New Girl’ saved Johnson from needing to lose that weight

During the podcast, Johnson shared how the Mexican meal didn’t quite go as he envisioned it. After receiving the network’s request from his manager, the margaritas and sides were replaced by a salad with no dressing.

The actor found a way out of the weight loss demand, however, and he owes it all to a joke his co-star Max Greenfield, who played Schmidt, made about Nick.

“Once I was in the show and it got established, they can’t fire me for being chubby,” Johnson explained. “They made a bunch of jokes, once Liz [Meriwether, the show’s creator] made a joke about it and Max Greenfield hit the joke and everybody laughed.”

That joke allowed Johnson’s character to be a bit thicker. “I think everybody at the network could exhale and say, ‘Nick Miller, he can be the chubby guy,’” he said.

And, there’s a happy ending, too — Johnson got to splurge on that meal after all. “As soon as that joke happened, I got my two sides, I got my margaritas, I was back to eating the way I should eat,” he said.

Jake Johnson thinks a ‘New Girl’ reunion is very likely

Since New Girl ended, fans have been hopeful about seeing the cast get together for a reunion. While there are no solid plans to reunite the gang, Johnson doesn’t rule it out entirely.

“Hannah Simone and I were texting two nights ago… Zooey and I still text. All the guys and I are on a text chain,” he said. “Everybody’s still linked up, so I would be surprised if there’s not some sort of a thing at some point where everybody comes back.”

“Liz Meriwether would have to crack a great story, and if she does that, it would be really fun to get everybody back,” he added.

While fans patiently wait for that to become a reality, Johnson did have a mini New Girl reunion with his former castmates on his new animated Netflix series Hoops. Simone, Greenfield, and Damon Wayans Jr. have all lent their voices to the series.