Joyce’s publication may have been a hard sell at first — but Minx‘s pilot was anything but. The new HBO Max series, which was written by Ellen Lapoport, is making a buzz thanks to Ophelia Lovibond‘s determined Joyce and the sleazy-yet-endearing publisher Doug, played by Jake Johnson, who takes a chance on her.
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“It’s about a young female writer [Lovibond] who wants to do a magazine, like a very feminist magazine, but she can’t get anybody in 1972 to publish it. So she pairs with me and I’m, like, a smut publisher, but I want to use her feminist take. And I want to get that dialogue out there, and I want to get that writing out there to women, but I want to have male models in the middle of it,” Johnson, 43, exclusively told Us Weekly about the comedy. “I want it to be basically Playgirl before Playgirl. And so it’s about that story of the creation of this magazine, and the pilot was one of the best things that I’ve read in years.”
Although Doug is backing the erotic magazine, his vision becomes a challenge for Joyce at first. However, the shocking number of naked models on photo shoots, police raised and mafia-owned distribution tricks are some things she’ll just have to get used to. Doug is convinced that the idea — to create a rag that now objectifies men instead and is a platform for feminist ideas — will find an audience.
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“I love television. Television, I think for me, I will always like it more than films because I like working with the same people and I like stories that build,” Johnson told Us of the medium. “People talk about [New Girl‘s] Nick Miller a lot and what they like about him. Well, part of that is we had seven years to develop that character. Characters can change and grow. So for a movie, you have an hour and a half and then they are gone.”
The Tag actor and Lovibond, 36, star alongside Idara Victor, Jessica Lowe, Lennon Parham and Michael Angarano on Minx.
Johnson, for his part, is also a producer on the show. In addition to the Fox comedy New Girl, he also voices Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and wrote last year’s Ride the Eagle. The actor hopes to continue to work both in front of and behind the camera.
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“For me, it’s always a mix. I love acting. I love acting when I’m not writing. I like acting where I’m just in somebody else’s vision. I do like acting when I’ve written it. But I did come up as a writer,” the Illinois native explained to Us. “I went to NYU dramatic writing. I was an aspiring playwright when I first started. So for me, I always need the mix. If I do one too much, I think I get a little bit bored. I would get bored if I didn’t act for too long. I like being on set. It’s all about opportunities. It’s hard to pitch something and get something made. I hate development. So I would rather not develop for a year and a half with a studio. I don’t like doing all of the notes and all of that. I’m happy to act in the bigger things, but I’ll probably stick to writing the smaller things.”
New episodes of Minx drop every Thursday on HBO Max.