David Walton Talks Disrupting 'New Girl' Romance, His New Approach to Pilot Season

New Girl Jake Johnson and David Walton - H 2012

New Girl Jake Johnson and David Walton - H 2012

David Walton is becoming one of TV's more familiar faces -- despite the fact that none of his starring vehicles from the last few seasons have aired more than a handful of episodes.

The 34-year-old actor, currently wooing Zooey Deschanel's Jess on an open-ended New Girl arc, most recently top-lined NBC's short-lived Bent and Perfect Couples.

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"I felt like those were both good shows that were carried to the two-yard line and then they were fumbled," Walton tells The Hollywood Reporter. "With Perfect Couples in particular, it was a real tight group -- like they are on Happy Endings and New Girl. I think that's why those shows are so successful. Everyone is having so much fun together."

And Walton says he's enjoying his time playing Sam, who gets a little more back story during Tuesday's episode of the Fox comedy. The less rigorous schedule is also affording him the time to work on his next step: developing a comedy at CBS with Bent creator and EP Tad Quill. Also a starring vehicle for the actor, it follows a bachelor firefighter who's suddenly charged with taking care of a nine-year-old girl.

Walton recently spoke with THR about the project, his time on New Girl and his current trend of showing up on other people's shows for Halloween specials.

The Hollywood Reporter: How much do you know about your New Girl character -- other than his love of Creed?
David Walton: There are a lot of techniques for developing a character. The one we're doing on this show is the actor has no idea who he is, but each time he gets a script, he learns a little bit more. I can't really give anything away, I can only saw that we find out that Sam is not who he thinks he is. That throws Jess for a loop and then she has to deal with new emotions for him.

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THR: New Girl fans don't seem to like it when she has emotions for other men.
Walton: Jake [Johnson] and I have a lot of scenes in this episode. That Nick and Jess romance, I think there's a lot of people who are rooting for that, right? At the end of this episode, I may get some hate mail. I may have stuff thrown on me in the street. It's going to be bad. I'm getting nervous.

THR: That would imply you're sticking around a little longer. Have they told you what to expect?
Walton: I've been told anywhere from two or five more episodes. I never know exactly how it works, but they're breaking stories. They'll put a pin in you saying they think they'll need you, but you never know how the final script will pan out. I'm definitely in at least five. I'm really just kissing up to them to try to become a series regular.

THR: Have you heard if your arc will coincide with Olivia Munn's?
Walton: I really need to speak to Olivia and see what they've signed her up for. We had a lot of fun on Perfect Couples. I think it would make sense if Zooey and I go on a double date with Jake and Olivia. I'm going to push for that with the writers.

THR: You were on Happy Endings' Halloween episode last year, mistaking Elisha Cuthbert for a transvestite. Is this a trend now?
It's so weird, and I think the next one I'm in is the Christmas episode. I'm becoming holiday guy. I have no idea why.

THR: You've had a lot of series get canceled after just a few episodes, and now you have a new comedy in the works. Is it hard to rebound?
Walton: I would just say I'm realistic. Tad and I sold a show to CBS which we we're developing now, and it's really cool to be in the beginning process. It also makes me realize how insanely long and heart-wrenching this process is for the writers. If it goes to series, we're talking a year, two years of your life dedicated to one idea. There's a lot of risk, but I know I can handle the disappointment now, so I'm far more optimistic than I've ever been. It's not for the faint of heart, but it's really thrilling profession for that reason.

THR: Where are you in the process?
Walton: The outline has been approved, and now we're writing it. We should have it written before Christmas -- and then hopefully film the pilot. Tad is so talented and has a really cool voice. We're taking everything we've learned, and by now I've had quite a bit of experience working on shows. New Girl has been an education too. Their tone is so fresh and unique because of the way they operate on set. [New Girl creator] Liz Meriwether has a really cool system going.

Walton's latest episode of New Girl airs on Fox on Tuesday, at 9 p.m..

Email: Michael.OConnell@THR.com; Twitter: @MikeyLikesTV