Justin Long said he couldn't wait to play Zooey Deschanel's love interest on 'New Girl'

paul and jess laying in bed after having sex on new girl
Justin Long and Zooey Deschanel on "New Girl."Fox
  • On the "New Girl" rewatch podcast, Justin Long said he was quick to accept his role on the show.

  • The actor played opposite Zooey Deschanel as Paul Genzlinger on five episodes of the Fox sitcom.

  • Long said he was always a fan of Deschanel and jumped at the chance to play her love interest.

Justin Long joined the "New Girl" cast on season one as Jess' short-term love interest Paul Genzlinger, and the actor was very eager to take on the role.

On Monday's episode of iHeartRadio's "New Girl" rewatch podcast "Welcome to Our Show," Zooey Deschanel (Jess) and Lamorne Morris (Winston) interviewed Long about his arc on the series.

Long revealed that he jumped at the chance to act opposite Deschanel

On the podcast, Morris asked Long how he got involved with "New Girl."

"I got a call from my manager saying there was this new show ... I just knew Zooey was on it, and I'd always been such a fan of hers and thought she was so talented and sweet, and I just wanted to work with her," Long said. "It was as simple as that."

The actor continued to say that the only thing he knew about the role was that he'd be playing Deschanel's love interest, and that was all it took to get him to say yes.

Deschanel and Long also reminisced about their favorite Jess-and-Paul memories

paul, jess, and bearclaw performing a musical number on new girl
paul, jess, and bearclaw performing a musical number on new girl

Justin Long, Zooey Deschanel, and Josh Gad on "New Girl."FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Although their romance was short-lived, Deschanel described Long's character as "Jess' exact counterpart."

Long agreed, adding that Genzlinger had essentially been pitched to him as being "as guileless as Jess," which he "loved playing."

"I kind of aspire to be that present and positive and take people in that kind of way — like treat people with that kind of positivity," he said.

Deschanel also shared that her favorite memory of working with Long was filming a sex scene where their characters are trying to role-play using old-timey actor impressions.

"It was the weirdest choices, but people ended up really liking them," she said. "And I was very bolstered by the fact that you were like playing along so well with like all that ... the experimentation of finding those voices in that scene was just really fun."

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