RAMA’S SCREEN – Thanks to Universal Pictures and in celebration of #TheMummy which opens this weekend, I recently had the opportunity to interview actor Jake Johnson whom you may recognize from his role in Fox’s long-running sitcom, “New Girl”
In “The Mummy,” which is part of Universal’s big ambitious Dark Universe, Jake Johnson plays Chris Vail who is essentially Tom Cruise’s treasure-hunting compadre. When they unearth a mysterious Egyptian crypt beneath the desert, an evil ancient princess inside it comes back to life and brings unimaginable terrors as she reclaims her destiny.
Jake talked to me about his experience working with action man Tom Cruise, and we also got chat a bit about “New Girl” upcoming final season. Here below is my entire interview with Jake Johnson.
Heads up! This interview contains SPOILERS!!!
Rama’s Screen: Hey, Jake! I’m a big fan of “New Girl,” thanks for the opportunity. So congrats on “The Mummy.” How was working with Tom Cruise on a big movie like this one compared to working with Chris Pratt on an equally big movie like “Jurassic World?”
Jake Johnson: “Well the difference was time on set with each actor. On ‘Jurassic World’, I only worked with Pratt for a day, I was there, my first day with him was his last day. And on this one, with Tom, I went through the experience more with him. So both guys are great movie stars, it was fun working with both of them. But Tom was more experienced, he likes to act and make movies, he’s a ball of energy.”
Rama’s Screen: Did he really force you into doing your own stunts like he always does for himself?
Jake Johnson: “Ya know, I jokingly said he forced me but really he doesn’t, and he loves it. So if you’re going to jump on a Tom Cruise movie, you’re kinda missing part of the experience not trying to but we end up having to do a lot of training and a lot of work and I had fun making this movie.”
Rama’s Screen: How do you feel playing these characters that essentially crack us up in these films?
Jake Johnson: “Honestly a lot of these it’s based on the writing. I was just trying to do the job that I got cast and I was trying to do everything I could to make it work. I was so fortunate I was given the chance to do that.”
Rama’s Screen: You and Tom went through some crazy action sequences in this film, like that rooftop gunplay, that looked fun!
Jake Johnson: “The rooftop scene was intense, man! The explosions and everything were very real. And the two-story building that collapsed to the ground. Tom likes having everything practical in camera so you can feel the adrenaline bursting through. It was a really intense few days of work.”
Rama’s Screen: Were you in that Zero-G plane sequence as well?
Jake Johnson: “No, I wasn’t in that because my character was already dead at that point. They didn’t want me try to float around the zero-G like I was dead.”
Rama’s Screen: And talk to me about your makeup too, man! Because you essentially played a corpse, your face looked super creepy.
Jake Johnson: “Yeah, it was pretty crazy, I spent about three hours in a chair every morning to get it looking right. And it ended up really helping me step into character, it’s a really fun thing to do as an actor because you look the part before you even start.”
Rama’s Screen: Were you always a fan of classic monsters? And are you stoked about what Universal Pictures is planning with this whole dark universe?
Jake Johnson: “I’m excited to see what they come up with. I was never a huge fan of the genre before but I was never against it. So this is kinda of a start for me in this universe as opposed to something I had grown up loving. I’m excited to see what they do but I’m coming at it with fresh eyes.”
Rama’s Screen: When will we get to see Jake Johnson leading man movie?
Jake Johnson: “You gotta go see some of my indies, man! “Win It All” on Netflix, check it out!”
Rama’s Screen: Awesome! I definitely will. Now, I can’t let you go without asking you questions about the heartbreaking news that “New Girl” is coming to an end after season seven. What’s your response?
Jake Johnson: “That’s sad, isn’t it. I had heard that it was going to be over after season six, and so rather than be sad that it’s coming to an end after seven, I feel really honored that Fox is giving us eight final episodes and that we get to end this show right and we get to end it in a way where we get to say real goodbye to the show and the fans. So I feel really happy about it.”
Rama’s Screen: But don’t you feel that perhaps “New Girl” could have a couple of seasons left in it?
Jake Johnson: “No, I know for sure we don’t because Fox said eight and done. But I’m glad. It could’ve been over this summer so the fact that we have more, I’m choosing to have gratitude towards that rather than sadness toward the fact that it’s over.”
Rama’s Screen: “Let’s Be Cops 2,” is it ever going to happen? Are there talks about it?
Jake Johnson: “I would work with Damon Wayans Jr. on anything anytime, man! He is as funny as he gets and as cool as he gets. We need the right script, the right director and we’d be ready to go.”