From New Girl to older woman: Hello, My Name Is Doris, in theaters March 11, stars Sally Field as a quirky lady who falls head over heels for a hip young coworker played by Max Greenfield. After chatting with the handsome Emmy nominee, we can hardly blame her.
By Brandon Voss
The Advocate: In Hello, My Name Is Doris, you play Sally Field’s love interest. Where does one go from there?
Max Greenfield: [Laughs] I know. It’s over, man. I’m going out on top. I think the second scene we shot was where I’m shirtless, we’re making out, and I throw her up on a counter. After that, it’s all pretty much a blur.
What’s your favorite Sally Field movie?
Maybe Steel Magnolias, because I remember that’s the only movie I watched as a kid where death really resonated with me. I thought Terms of Endearment was a movie where Jack Nicholson played a really cool astronaut. I watched it years later, as an adult, and thought, Where did all the cancer come from?
You played gay characters on Greek and Happy Endings. Are you conscious of your gay following?
Oh, yeah. Paul James and I on Greek had the first gay kiss on ABC Family, and we went to the GLAAD Awards and everything. It means a lot, because you guys have the best taste. Listen, if the gay community thinks you’re doing a good job, you’re in. I don’t think anything gets done in this business without the gay community — at least not anything good.
Aren’t you due for another gay role?
You’re telling me. I’d actually love to play Sonny in Dog Day Afternoon now that it’s being adapted for Broadway. People don’t talk about that movie that much, but it’s really a beautiful gay love story.
Who should play your lover?
Your character, Schmidt, and Jake Johnson’s Nick have quite a beautiful bromance on Fox’s New Girl.
Well, the ongoing joke on set is that Schmidt’s going to run away with Nick at some point. [Laughs] It does look like it’s going in that direction, so we’re preparing ourselves. I’ll bet there’s some good fan fiction out there.
You grew up in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. What was your introduction to the gay community?
My parents were involved in the record industry, so I was exposed to the arts very early. Then I moved out to Los Angeles when I was 18 and met my wife when I was 22, and I don’t think she has any straight friends. Our wedding reception was like a night at the Abbey. The dance floor was all gay men and women, tearing it up. I told my wife that our children are going to think the majority of people in the world are gay. When they see a man and a woman together, they’re going to think it’s strange.
Gabriel, the junkie you played in American Horror Story: Hotel, was sodomized by the Addiction Demon’s drill-bit dildo in what showrunner Ryan Murphy called “the most disturbing scene” in the show’s history. A number of outlets referred to it as a “gay rape.” Obvious addiction metaphors aside, is that an accurate description?
I didn’t even think of that thing as a human being, so the last thing in my mind was that it was a gay rape. But I was very aware that people were going to go, “What’s happening here? I don’t want to see Schmidt get raped!” That’s why I liked it so much. It was so different than anything I’d ever done. But if it were with anyone else but Ryan Murphy, I would’ve been hesitant. The main reason I did the show is because I wanted to work with Ryan, and he did not disappoint.
How did you see Gabriel’s sexuality?
Man, that guy went whichever way the wind blew. I know those guys, just walking down Hollywood Boulevard with a pep in their step. It all depends on the day.
Your first major credit was an arc on MTV’s Undressed in which you wore nothing but women’s panties. That set the tone for a very queer, half-naked career, didn’t it?
It did. But you know what? I feel like my best naked work and my best gay work is ahead of me.
The Advocate, April/May 2016 issue.