Hannah Simone is just as emotional about the end of New Girl as you are.
The actress, who plays Cece, has spent the past seven years filming on-screen hijinks with the cast that includes Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Lamorne Morris, and her TV husband, Max Greenfield. For the show’s final season, Cece and Schmidt (Greenfield) are navigating life as new parents, saying goodbye to the indecisiveness of their twenties and maturing (more in Cece’s case than Schmidt’s) into actual adulthood. Fitting, since so many fans of the show have grown up with the loft-mates themselves.
And while she’s prepping to say goodbye to her first major TV role, Simone’s also looking ahead to another character that just might land her in the history books. The actress is set to play Meera, an Indian-American woman from Cleveland in the reboot of the classic superhero series The Greatest American Hero. The role will make her the first female of South Asian descent to ever don a cape on network TV.
We chatted with Simone about emotional goodbyes on New Girl, the problem with Apu and other South Asian characters on TV, and how to really play True American.
What’s it been like saying goodbye to the show?
I think we’ve felt lucky that we had the chance to say a proper goodbye to a show that we all loved so much. Most shows don’t get that opportunity. Jake Johnson said it was like the senior year of high school. It kind of felt like that. I think it did have that kind of an atmosphere where you’re just really spending a lot of time reflecting on the past seven years of your life. We all know our paths are going to cross again, we all genuinely became really good friends, but we’re all going off to different colleges.
Was there a scene this season that brought the tissues out when you were filming?
You don’t shoot in order and the last scene of our series, all of us were together. I don’t want to spoil the series finale, but we’re all together in a way that was so perfect, I think for the fans when they watch the show, but also for us as a way to say goodbye, and that I feel like was the most emotional moment to shoot.
Are fans going to be happy with where Cece and Schmidt end up?
It was cool to be able to do a season with Cece and Schmidt as parents. Fans have been very vocal about what they’ve always wanted to see and to know about the cast and I think that this was kind of our goodbye love letter to them, so we tried to jam as much of that into the eight episodes. I think they’ll be incredibly happy.
You’re set to become the first female superhero of South Asian descent on network TV with The Greatest American Hero reboot. Is it wild to you that this character even exists on TV in 2018?
Yeah, the landscape has changed so dramatically in the past seven years. I auditioned for New Girl seven years ago and have been living in that bubble. At that time, the fact that I was even going in for a role as a main character of a cast for this American sitcom blew my mind, because that was the only one I was going in for. The fact that it worked out is shocking.
I remember saying to Liz Meriwether, “You have no idea what you’ve done putting a South Asian girl in the main cast of the show.” They weren’t looking for an Indian woman. She kind of looked at me like I was crazy and said, “I just cast the funniest actor and I don’t see what the big deal is.” That was even more incredible, that they weren’t trying to fill some sort of quota. She was unique in that aspect, that was definitely not the norm.