Some guest stars walk on set, read their lines, and then leave. Not Prince: When the musician, who died Thursday at age 57, played himself on a special post-Super Bowl episode of New Girl in 2014, he didn’t shy away from putting in his own two cents.
The script for the episode, which featured the whole New Girl gang crashing a party at Prince’s place, said Prince would take Jess (Zooey Deschanel) into a dark closet and shine a flashlight under his chin. Then he realized he had a better idea. “We were shooting, and somebody nudged me and I looked up and he was standing on a balcony pointing at me and beckoning with me with his finger,” showrunner Liz Meriwether tells EW. And when Prince beckons, you go.
She went upstairs, where he led her into a bathroom and turned the lights off without speaking. “I was like, ‘Uh?'” Meriwether laughs. “I didn’t know what was going on. And then he flicked on a lighter under his chin — one of those long, skinny lighters — and then he just looks at me and goes, ‘Isn’t this funnier?'” Apparently, yes: That lighter ended up replacing the flashlight in the scene.
“That was just an example of the level of detail that he was thinking about,” Meriwether says. “He was thinking about the prop that he was going to use in the scene and whether or not it was funny enough. He’s Prince; he doesn’t have to be doing this. But he just cared that much.”
Revisit Prince’s New Girl debut when Fox airs the episode Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. ET after two new episodes of the show premiere that same night at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET.