Nate Corddry on Finding the Comedy in Creepy 'New Girl' Role

The "Harry's Law" alum (and Rob's younger brother) tells THR about his guest gig: "They were looking for the face of someone nice who could unsuspectingly murder. And my face is the face that they chose."
Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Tuesday's New Girl presents the not-entirely-far-fetched scenario of Nick (Jake Johnson) suspecting one of Jess's (Zooey Deschanel) adult ed students might be secretly plotting against her. The would-be creep, guest star Nate Corddry, has been to this rodeo before.

"I played a similar kind of character, in a way, on The United States of Tara," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "They were looking for the face of someone nice who could unsuspectingly murder. And my face is the face that they chose."

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But Corddry, who previously starred on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Harry's Law, doesn't just give off a latent killer vibe. New Girl executive producers Brett Baer and Dave Finkel approached him about the role after first collaborating on Tara.

"They came to me and said, 'We have a couple pieces of a script and think you would be really funny in this part. You would play this potential murderer,'" he says. "I didn’t see much of a script, but I trust those guys so much, and the show is so funny. There are few [series] that actors are desperate to guest star on, and New Girl is absolutely one of those shows for me."

Making more dramatic rounds of late, Corddry says the collaborative comedy was a welcome change.

"It opens up a window of insecurity in yourself, because you hope you can hang and be a part of the discussion, but you just kind of throw that aside and jump in," he says, "They keep the water very warm."

"I think people were confused that I was doing a David E. Kelley law series [Harry's Law]," Corddry adds of switching between comedy and drama. "But that makes it a lot more interesting for me. And this is the season where you start making decisions that lead to the next seven years of your life and all you have is 40 pages to go on."

While he waits for a pilot that might interest him in possibly committing seven years, Corddry will next be seen in the Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock vehicle The Heat and is always open to returning to his brother Rob Corddry's Adult Swim comedy Children's Hospital.

And New Girl, incidentally, seems like one of the few shows the older Corddry hasn't appeared on in the last season. With recurring guest spots on Happy Endings, Ben and Kate and Community, on top of Children's and regular film work, it's something Nate jokes that the rest of the Corddry clan has gotten quite accustomed to.

“They’re so over it," Corddry says, laughing. "There was a time when they were like, 'Oh my god, Rob auditioned for Blue Man Group! He’s going to be a star!' And now it’s just, 'He’s doing what movie with who? Oh, who gives a f---?' I’m exaggerating. They’re only supportive, but they’ve gotten comfortable.”

Nate Corddry's potentially creepy turn on New Girl airs Tuesday, at 9 p.m., on Fox.