Entertainment Television

Lamorne Morris: 'New Girl' star, Chicago native and True American

With Fox's "New Girl" returning its third season, star and Chicago native Lamorne Morris recently visited RedEye to talk about the show and what's in store for Winston, Jess, Nick and Schmidt. More importantly, Morris talked about the origins of the drinking game True American, which the show's characters introduced to fans in Season 1.

In the game, players must stand on chairs, tables, countertops or anything that keeps them off the floor, which has become molten lava. Through a series of commands, shouts, trivia or whatever else players invent, they move around the room and sometimes—most of the time—drink. Like, wasted drink.

The iO and Second City alum said the show's writers called the game True American and had written some lines for the scene, but mostly the cast members, led by Zooey Deschanel, just improvised while filming.

"Zooey happens to know something about everything. Like literally, it's not even a joke. Like American history, she knows all about it," Morris said. "She was making up stuff."

Fans immediately grabbed hold of the game and made it their own. Now websites are dedicated to fan versions. Morris said the whole cast was surprised by the "insane" reaction from fans.

"Every day I still get tweets going, ‘Hey, I want to play True American with you.' 'Hey, what are you doing tonight? Let's go play True American,'" he said. "And one day I'm gonna show up at somebody's house and play True American."

Before playing True American with RedEye staffers, Morris talked about what fans can expect in the new season, his favorite drink and what he wants to do for his 30th birthday. Oh, and his dream date for Winston: Rihanna.

"New Girl" returns at 8 p.m. CT Tuesday, Sept. 17, on Fox.

Have you ever had the experience that Winston had where everybody he knows forgot his birthday?
No—because I won't let them. I will not let them forget my birthday. It's really funny, I always have a couple of friends who know it's my birthday and so that's my excuse to let everyone else know. I'll go, "Oh, what are we doing for my birthday? I don't know, let's plan something. Let me text everybody. As you all know it is my birthday so I'm thinking maybe we all go grab drinks here or go, you know do that." My birthday was August 14, and I'm still planning my birthday party because I don't know what I want to do because I just turned 30. And so I didn't have a birthday party last year at all, like nothing. And so this year I'm like I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do it.

You haven't figured out what you want to do?
Well, I have a plan. This is going out to everybody: I want to throw a birthday party. If you were a company looking to sponsor something, by all means, we've already got a liquor sponsor onboard. Thank you to Crown Royal. What I want to do is have like this big mansion with a pool and it to be a bunch of people that I know, some people I don't know. But not like at a club or a bar or anything. I want it to be at like a house.

The Playboy Mansion?
If I could have a party at the Playboy Mansion that would be the greatest thing ever. It's probably not gonna happen. Although I did just turn 30. So Hugh, if you're watching this, it would be great if you could oblige me in this request.

And he's from Chicago, Hugh.
And from Chicago.

Just like you.
That's right man. That's right man. Don't do me like that.

Let's talk Season 3 of "New Girl." First of all, are you tired of Nick and Jess yet?
Yes! No, I'm not tired of it. Lamorne is not tired of it. Winston is tired of it, for sure. My character is fed up. Myself, it's great for the show. It's like, "Yeah, let's ride that thing out." As long as it has legs let's use 'em. But I think they won't play with it too long. I think they'll break away somehow and then come back at the end. Because I think the "will-they, won't-they" was like [big], then it happened. I think we're going to go back to normal life eventually. But then it's going to be a real "will-they, won't-they" towards the end. That's just my own opinion, but the writers don't tell me anything. What do I know?

Do you think Winston and Schmidt are over it too?
Especially Schmidt. Some of the episodes coming up—I don't want to spoil anything, but some of them he's really going for it trying to break them up. And it's hilarious.

He likes to be the center of attention himself.
Yeah. You can't have a couple and they're doing coupley things and no one is paying attention to Schmidt. He's got to get his attention back. So it's really funny watching him do the goofy things that he does, it's hilarious.

Will Winston continue to date several people, or is he going to get a love interest that lasts a while?
I think he's gonna date around for a while. I would like it to be that way for a little bit. I like the idea that everyone's in a relationship except for my character, because if there were three relationships, it would be a very weird show. Change the name from "New Girl" to "Relationships" or something because you already have two.

One's pretty good, one's rocky from when we left off. Schmidt had to choose between CeCe and Elizabeth ... I think it's fun to keep introducing new female characters to the show. There are a lot of funny people coming on the show. So yeah, I'm just excited about who they're bringing on as guest stars for me to date.

Now, if you said I had to be in a relationship I would 100 percent choose Rihanna to do it for a while just to see—honest, just to see if we could like hit it off in real life, you know what I'm saying? Just to see if she kind of wants to maybe, possibly get that off-screen love thing going on. Because I think she's a method actress. She'd have to really dive into the role.

And are you a method actor?
Yeah, for sure.

At least in that case.
In that case, for sure. Like relationship stuff I have to like really feel her out a little bit, you know what I mean? Like, yeah, and I did use my hands.

Your show has a history with characters feeling each other up.
Yeah, we do. Well, Nick definitely felt Jess's boobs a bunch of times.

So it wouldn't be a shock.
No, not at all. Not at all, not at all. ... My hands or my mouth. What did you say?

Are you as bad at practical jokes as Winston is?
Winston's the worst. He has no sweet spot. He'll either want to give you a really big hug as a prank or he'll want to murder you as a prank. Myself in real life, I don't prank. I do stupid pranks like I like hack my friends' Twitter accounts or their Vine accounts and post stupid videos on their behalf. Those are the kind of pranks that I do. For myself, I don't do real dangerous pranks. I'm not that risky. ... Someone will sue me. I'm on a TV show now, people will go, "He preyed on me; he put Saran Wrap on the toilet seat; I peed on myself; I want a million dollars." People will do that.

Although they're your friends. Would they do that if they're your friends?
When money's involved.

I've read that Damon Wayans Jr. will be coming on as a guest to play Coach?
He is. He's coming on I think for six episodes. ... We're gonna dive into I guess the past of him and Winston and their competitive nature between each other. ... I don't know what he's gonna be doing on the show, but he might be getting his old room back. I think they'll play with that a little bit. There is a room that may possibly open up in the loft I think. That's the rumor; that's not written in stone. That's just something they're playing with.

Are you looking forward to it? You think it'll be fun?
I'm sure it will be. Everyone says great things about working with him. I've never worked with him. I know him but I've never actually shot with him. Watching him he's hysterical. So it'd be good to have to black dudes on the screen at the same time on network television. We got to step it up.

What else is happening with Winston, can we expect from him?
Winston has weird ailments. His competitive nature gets explained a little bit in the first episode of Season 3. He's so competitive. And one thing Winston has is this weird obsession with puzzles. It sounds really stupid and dumb. And when you watch it, it's really stupid and dumb. But it's really funny. It's really funny and throughout the episode we'll explain why he has this obsession with puzzles. And then you kind of dive into some of Winston's quirks a little bit and why he is so nuts. Why one day he's so nuts and why one day he is the voice of reason in the loft. We play with that a little bit. So I can't tell you what, but it happens.

I always like how he goes to the extreme: When two people present options, his is always the very extreme option.
Yes, always. Let's do something about this guy. Yeah, let's take him to the desert and dig a ditch and bury him. Or, or we could talk to him.

Do you find that you get a lot of a say in what Winston does? Do you kind of have a conversation about some of the plot points and things like that?
We really don't. We have suggestions once the ideas have been presented. But it's usually you go read the script for the first time like everybody else and then you can play around with some improv stuff onset. But you can't really change too much of where they're going. You can email Liz [Meriwether, show creator] and say, "Hey I was thinking about this. This would be funny if this would happen or that happen." And you can go in that direction if you want. But so far the way it's been working is just let the writers do their thing. They're really good at it.

Do you have to email Liz because you can't talk to her in person? That's not allowed?
Well no, her phone got disconnected because she didn't pay the bill on time. Damn Boost Mobile. So we just email her. Or we can tweet her sometimes. She wears shades a lot so we can't look her directly in the eyes either.

Another character trait for Winston is he likes fruity drinks.
Yes he does.

What do you prefer to drink?
I prefer to drink vodka, splash of tonic. Vodka splash of tonic. Any vodka drink usually is my drink of choice. I'm a vodka guy.

So you have to drink slowly because that can get you.
Vodka's pretty strong. My liver is this big. No, I don't drink a lot though, that's the thing. I just like to chill and have a drink. I can do two drinks for the whole night and I'll be fine. Or I can do 17 drinks for the whole night and not be fine.

Well, now at 30, recovery time takes longer.
I'm thinking about the party that I'm gonna throw. And when I should start the party and when I should pass out at the party. Like I've been thinking about that the whole time. This is like a real thing. This is been me going, "OK this is my 30th." So I want to start drinking early, it's a day party. So I'm gonna start drinking early. When will I black out? Because I want to enjoy the whole party but you can't really drink the whole night and enjoy, unless you drink water in between.

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Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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