14 Irresistible Facts About New Girl

New Girl was initially—and, ratings-wise, successfully—promoted as a starring vehicle for the "adorkable" Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day, before evolving into a funny ensemble comedy about four roommates in Los Angeles, including the young but consistently grumpy Nick Miller (Jake Johnson), the vulnerable creep with a heart of gold Schmidt (Max Greenfield), and Winston Bishop (Lamorne Morris), a pro basketball player-turned-police officer who is terrible at pranks.

The extended ensemble includes Cece Parekh (Hannah Simone), Jess' longtime friend and Schmidt's on-again/off-again girlfriend, and Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.), a personal trainer who is friends with the group but disappears for seasons at a time (thanks to Wayans' busy schedule.) Here are some facts about the series, which airs its fifth season finale tonight.

1. ITS CREATOR HAD NEVER WORKED ON A TV SHOW BEFORE.

New Girl creator Elizabeth Meriwether was completely new to the world of television when she began developing the series in 2011. The then-29-year-old came to the attention of 20th Century Fox when the mother-in-law of Jonathan Davis, the studio's president of creative affairs, sent him the playbill from one of Meriwether's theatrical productions. Davis read her work, liked what he saw, and gave Meriwether a call. She pitched a sitcom based on her experience of spending four years moving from one Craigslist sublet to another in Los Angeles. It was originally titled Chicks & Dicks.

2. JESS WAS PARTIALLY INSPIRED BY DIANE KEATON.

"She’s so massively, heart-wrenchingly funny, and she is never just playing one thing," Meriwether told The New York Times. "Whenever we get criticized that the Jess character is too this or too that, I think about Diane Keaton." Meriwether was also inspired by Tasmin Greig's character in the British series Green Wing (2004-2006).

3. ELIZABETH MERIWETHER IS BOTH A NICK AND A JESS.

Meriwether's colleagues have said that Nick Miller has a lot of the New Girl creator in his personality; one example is that they both pull their hoodies over their heads. However, Meriwether has said in interviews that Jess—in addition to Keaton and The Green Wing—was based on herself. New York magazine wrote that, like Jess, Meriwether sings to herself when she's uncomfortable. By the end of the first season, she believed Jess Day was a hybrid of herself, Zooey Deschanel, the writers, and the editor.

4. JAKE JOHNSON HAD TO LOSE 15 POUNDS TO PLAY NICK.

After learning that he had booked the New Girl pilot, Johnson and his wife went out for Mexican food to celebrate. "In the car, I was already thinking about what I was going to order," Johnson told The Advocate. "I was going to get chips and guacamole, a blended margarita, a quesadilla for the table, and a chicken burrito for me. I knew she was going to get tacos, so I figured we’d do a little mix and match on that. Then I got a call from my manager, who told me I needed to lose 15 pounds before we started shooting. So when I got to the restaurant I had chicken salad with no dressing."

5. COACH LEFT THE FIRST TIME BECAUSE HAPPY ENDINGS WAS RENEWED.

It was a bit of a "surprise" to the cast and crew of Happy Endings when the ABC series was renewed for another season. It was a particular surprise to Damon Wayans Jr. who, thinking the show was going to be cancelled, took on the role of Coach in the New Girl pilot. When New Girl was ordered to series and Happy Endings was set to continue, Wayans was contractually obligated to return to the latter. Because replacing Wayans with another actor would mean an 80 percent reshoot of the pilot, they kept Wayans in and opted to introduce a new character—Winston—in the second episode. But when Happy Endings was finally cancelled in 2013, Wayans came back to New Girl in its third season.

6. WAYANS AND ZOOEY DESCHANEL GO WAY BACK.

The two went to high school together, at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California.

7. MAX GREENFIELD DIDN'T WANT SCHMIDT TO BE SUCH A JERK.

”I went to [executive producer] Jake Kasdan and said, ‘Let’s just try to make this character as not-douchey as possible,”’ Greenfield told Entertainment Weekly. "And he goes, ‘Well, just don’t play him douchey.'"

8. MERIWETHER ASKED JAKE KASDAN TO DIRECT BECAUSE OF HIS WORK ON FREAKS AND GEEKS.

Meriwether "more or less cold-e-mailed" Jake Kasdan and asked if he could direct the pilot. "He blended comedy and emotion beautifully on Freaks and Geeks, and that was one of the main reasons I wanted him to direct the pilot so badly," she explained. He would later direct six other installments of New Girl, and is an executive producer on the show.

9. THEY OFTEN HAVE TO NEGOTIATE WITH STANDARDS AND PRACTICES.

For the first season episode "Naked," in which Jess had issues saying "penis," Fox's standards and practices allowed the show to say the word five times. They also were allowed to say "b-hole," but not "a-hole." The writers got excited when they found out the usage of the word "dick" was permitted, provided it wasn't being used in reference to a body part.

10. THEY PURPOSELY NEVER EXPLAIN THE RULES TO "TRUE AMERICAN."

According to Meriwether, explaining the rules of how to play the drinking game won't make it "easier to comprehend. Our goal is the opposite, actually, to make it harder and harder and harder to understand." The idea for True American came from one of the writers, who played a similar game when she was in college, but she couldn't remember the rules.

11. JOHNSON PITCHED THE IDEA OF TRAN.

One of many story ideas Johnson has pitched to Meriwether via late-night texts was, "What if I have a Vietnamese friend in a park? And he doesn’t speak English, and his family gets really mad at me for hanging out with him?"

12. THE NICK/JESS KISS WAS CAREFULLY CHOREOGRAPHED.

"Embarrassingly, I actually did try to tell them how to kiss," Meriwether admitted. "I walked up to Jake Johnson between takes and said: 'I want you to kind of take her, and then do this—' (I demonstrated by making my fingers kiss each other) 'Then wait and do that again, but kind of like this—' (more finger kissing). He just stared at me for a beat, and then, to his credit, nodded and said, 'I think I got it.'"

13. DENNIS FARINA WAS IN UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY.

Dennis Farina played Nick's father, Walt, in two episodes. And according to New Girl executive producer Brett Baer, the actor seemed to be having a good time. Farina told Meriwether he had never been on a set before where he didn't have a gun and couldn't say 'f*ck.' Farina passed away in July 2013, a few months after Walt was killed off.

14. PRINCE WAS A FAN AND WAS ORIGINALLY ASKED TO BE IN THE "VIRGINS" EPISODE.

Meriwether believed he turned down a cameo appearance in "Virgins" because it was "too racy." Instead he appeared in "Prince," the season three episode that aired after the 2014 Super Bowl. When Prince heard the idea that he would be the one to get Jess to tell Nick she loves him, he referenced Silver Streak (1976) and Hitch (2005). "I was incredibly shy around him, convinced that I would say the wrong thing and make him leave," Meriwether told Vulture. "But once I got over the initial terror of speaking to him, I realized we were just two people who were both obsessed with making the episode good. He wanted to choose the name of the non-speaking chef character, the chef’s wardrobe, the paintings on the walls, the linens in the bedroom set, his wardrobe, Zooey’s wardrobe, the music, the pancakes, the hairstyles ... he had a piece of art, a poem written out in the shape of an egg, flown from Minnesota to hang on the wall of the set. His vision of the episode was all-encompassing, but I never felt overpowered. He always asked what I thought. It was like he was asking me to rise up to meet him."

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Twentieth Century Fox
Big Is Coming Back to Theaters for Its 30th Anniversary
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

Break out your giant piano: Big is coming back to theaters! As Entertainment Weekly reports, the hit Tom Hanks-starring comedy will be making its triumphant return to the big screen to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies and 20th Century Fox.

Though the movie itself was released on June 3, 1988, these special anniversary screenings will take place next month. More than 700 theaters across the country will welcome Big back into cinemas on July 15 and July 18, with 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. screenings on both days.

Though the role of Josh Baskin—a teenager who magically gets his wish to be a grown-up, with both hilarious and dramatic complications—seemed tailor-made for Hanks and his talents, the production wasn’t all smooth sailing. Originally, Steven Spielberg (whose sister co-wrote the script with Gary Ross) was attached to direct, with Harrison Ford in the lead. When Penny Marshall came on board, Hanks was her first choice, but he passed on the part (as did Kevin Costner, Warren Beatty, Albert Brooks, and a string of other in-demand actors). Robert De Niro was attached for a time, but that eventually fell apart, too.

Fortunately, the project came full circle and Hanks was eventually convinced to come aboard. He earned his first of five (and counting) Best Actor Oscar nominations for the role.

Visit the Fathom Events website to find out if Big is coming (back) to a theater near you

[h/t: Entertainment Weekly]

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Columbia Pictures
10 Fun Facts About Can’t Hardly Wait
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

When the teen film Can’t Hardly Wait—which was named after the Replacements song of the same name—arrived in theaters on June 12, 1998, it grossed $25,605,015 on a $10 million budget. In the 20 years since, the movie has found an even larger audience through DVD and cable. The premise follows Preston Meyers (Empire Records’s Ethan Embry) trying to connect with his dream girl, Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt), all the while seeking advice from his best friend, Denise Fleming (a pre-Six Feet Under Lauren Ambrose).

Originally called The Party, most of the movie takes place during a rambunctious graduation party, featuring a before-they-were-famous cast, and Jenna Elfman as a stripper dressed as an angel. The movie culminates with Preston and Amanda sealing their romance and living happily ever after. Written and directed by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, the two would later team up for Josie and the Pussycats. Here are 10 fun-filled facts about the ’90s teen comedy.

1. THE PLOT WAS BASED ON LOGISTICS.

Can't Hardly Wait was Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan’s directorial debut, so they liked the idea of having a self-contained and low-budget story to direct. “It was all practical,” Elfont told TIME. “The idea of doing a movie set at a party came first, because it seemed like it would be really cheap to shoot a movie in one location. Then we thought, what hasn’t been done? Nobody’s really done a high-school movie in a while. So we kind of fell into it that way. It was kind of an accident.”

2. SEVERAL SCENES IN THE FILM WERE CHANGED TO AVOID AN R RATING.

A year before the raunchy American Pie was released and jumpstarted R-rated teen films, Can’t Hardly Wait got watered down to get a PG-13 rating. Sony had issues with the underage drinking, and the fact there was no parental supervision at the party. “Well, who would have a high school party and have your parents there?!” Hewitt asked the Los Angeles Times. Seth Green, who played the virginal Kenny Fisher in the movie, gave a rundown of deleted or altered scenes, to Vulture.

“When [Jennifer] Love [Hewitt] first walks into the party, there’s a kid behind her holding a balloon and covering his mouth,” he said. “That used to be a beer bong, but the most expensive CG in the movie was [used] to make it [look] like that kid was smiling and holding a balloon. And then, there’s a scene where Charlie [Korsmo] and Peter [Facinelli] are at the piano. They toast, and then they cut to a wide shot where neither of them are drinking and then cut back to a close-up of them putting their glasses down because you can’t show the kids drinking.”

3. ETHAN EMBRY FORCED HIS WAY INTO PLAYING THE LEAD.

“It had been a while that I had the opportunity to play the ‘guy that gets the girl,’” Embry told VH1. “I had done those roles when I was a lot younger and this was the first time that someone would see me as a lead.” After Embry auditioned for the movie, he got offered the William Lichter part, which eventually went to Charlie Korsmo. But Embry turned the supporting part down. “I wanted to play the guy who gets the girl. That was sort of the driving thing.”

4. MELISSA JOAN HART AND JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT GOT “HIGH” ON B12 VITAMINS.

Hart purposefully chose the small role of the manic Yearbook Girl, as she was working full-time on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and couldn’t fit in a bigger part. While filming a night scene with Hewitt, Hart took B12 vitamins to stay energized, and offered them to a skeptical Hewitt, who thought the vitamins were drugs. “I finally convinced her it’s a vitamin, you can do it,” Hart told TV Guide. “So we took B12 vitamins, and then there was an owl in the tree. [Hewitt] was like, ‘See I’m high now, because there’s not really an owl in the tree.’ We were having these silly night giggles and just attributing it to B12 vitamins.”

5. JASON SEGEL HAD A CAMEO.

The actor was a year away from starring on Freaks and Geeks and seven from How I Met Your Mother when he signed on to play Watermelon Guy. Kaplan and Elfont recognized his talent immediately. “We knew how funny Jason was but there wasn’t a bigger part for him, so we were, like, let’s cast him as this watermelon guy,” Elfont told TIME.

Many other actors either got their start in the movie or became more famous as a result, including Lauren Ambrose and Freddy Rodriguez (both from Six Feet Under), Clea DuVall, Selma Blair, and Sean Patrick Thomas. “Everyone in that age range came in to read because there were no other jobs,” Kaplan told TIME. “That whole crop of people who turned out to be so talented and do so well for themselves afterward were in our movie literally, I think, because there was nothing else for them to do.”

6. EMBRY DOESN’T REMEMBER MUCH ABOUT THE SHOOT.

Embry admitted to VH1 to being “the world’s biggest stoner” while making the film. “Nothing sticks out because I was so stoned the entire time,” he said. He also confessed, “I haven’t seen the movie all the way through ... I never read the script.”

One thing he did remember, though, was the only scene he filmed with Hewitt, at the end of the movie. Before their characters kissed at the train station, Hewitt—knowing he smoked—had a basket of breath mints sent to Embry’s trailer. “And there was a basket of breath mints, you know? Like real pretty,” he said. “Like almost you give somebody flowers or a fruit basket but she gave me 50 breath mints. And it’s all different types. It was all very sweet. And that always makes me laugh thinking of that. Aww, Jennifer wanted me to smell good.” Embry took advantage of the gift and popped some breath mints into his mouth before filming. “They were rather nice cottonmouth alleviators,” he said during a Reddit AMA.

7. EMBRY DOESN’T KNOW—OR CARE—WHAT HIS CHARACTER'S LETTER SAID.

Early on at the party, Amanda finds and reads Preston’s letter and spends the rest of the film trying to find him. It must’ve been a powerful letter, because it finally brings them together at the end. “It was a prop! It was an envelope,” he told VH1. “I think I remember the directors asking me if I knew what was in there. It was a prop. It doesn’t matter. Like I know what’s in there? It’s called acting.”

8. THE CAST WOULD LOVE TO DO A SEQUEL.

In 2015, some of the cast reunited at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a screening of the film. Hewitt tweeted: “Can’t Hardly Wait reunion movie anyone? Let’s get them to make it!” In a 2013 interview with VH1, Embry was tepid about a sequel. “Maybe if they paid me more than last time,” he said about a second one. “[He and Amanda] would have to not be together anymore. Amanda and him had a horrible breakup and there were kids involved. He drinks himself silly over a typewriter. I’d make that sequel.” But in a 2015 interview with The Huffington Post, Embry changed his tune. “Of course I would be thrilled to work with any of the players involved again,” he said. “If all the stars aligned, I would be happy to entertain that possibility.”

Peter Facinelli, who played Amanda’s ex-boyfriend Mike Dexter, told IFC his thoughts on a sequel. “You know how the whole movie takes place at the high school party? We could have the whole movie take place at the reunion. I thought it’d be a fun movie.”

9. PETER FACINELLI THINKS MIKE DEXTER TURNED INTO A LOSER.

If a sequel did occur, Facinelli has an idea about what happened to Mike. “Now he’s basically the loser,” he told IFC. “The nerd was the loser in the first movie. Now he’s like the loser and then he kind of climbs back and gets back on his horse. And the nerdy kid is now the Bill Gates who is kind of like the Mike Dexter, bossing everyone around. I think [Dexter’s] just literally a loser. He’s filled with self-doubt and he would basically rise to self-confidence again and come back on top.”

10. EMBRY THINKS PRESTON AND AMANDA ENDED UP WITH WEIRD JOBS.

VH1 asked Embry where he thinks the characters would be today, and he said: “She’s j*rking off dudes in Vancouver, and he’s making horror movies in upstate New York.”

Elfont took a more serious approach to the question, for TIME. “[The on-screen text at the end of the movie] says they’re still together,” Elfont said. “Who am I to argue?”

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