Jake Johnson Reflects on Uncovering Olivia Rodrigo’s Talent During New Girl Days

by Barbara

In a nostalgic trip down memory lane, Jake Johnson, famed for his role in New Girl, fondly recalled working with rising pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo during her guest appearance on the Fox sitcom’s sixth season. The actor recently shared his impressions in an exclusive interview with Rolling Stone, highlighting Rodrigo’s undeniable talent even at a young age.

Rodrigo, known for her chart-topping hits and Grammy wins, made a cameo in the 2017 episode titled “Young Adult,” portraying the character Terrinea, a student at Jessica Day’s (Zooey Deschanel) school. Johnson, who played Nick Miller, Jess’s roommate, remembered the unique experience of collaborating with Rodrigo and her fellow cast members.


“The Olivia Rodrigo [episode] was really weird because I remember her and those girls,” Johnson reminisced. “And some kid actors are just good.”


During the interview, Johnson revealed a playful behind-the-scenes joke he shared with Deschanel. They pretended to be competing “fake managers,” vying to sign the talented guest stars. In Rodrigo’s case, Johnson admitted he was keen on recruiting her. “I was for sure trying to scoop them up because I was like, ‘There’s money in these kids!’ They were just good actors,” he recalled.


As Rodrigo’s career skyrocketed, spanning Disney projects like Bizaardvark and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Johnson kept an eye on her success. “My kids and I watched Bizaardvark after that, and I remember being like, ‘I knew that f—ing kid was good!'” he exclaimed.

The New Girl star praised Rodrigo’s evolution, particularly in her music career, expressing his newfound appreciation for her albums. Reflecting on his time with Rodrigo, Johnson shared these sentiments while discussing his upcoming feature directorial debut, “Self Reliance,” set to premiere on Hulu on Jan. 12. The film features a stellar cast, including Johnson himself, Andy Samberg, Anna Kendrick, and Natalie Morales.

As Rodrigo’s star continues to rise, it’s clear that Johnson’s keen eye for talent recognized the potential of the “sweet kid” who would go on to become a Grammy-winning sensation.


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