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On paper, Max Greenfield has a fairly ordinary biography. Originally from Dobbs Ferry, New York, Greenfield’s very normal childhood gave way to a carefree high school experience. After that, he went off to college, and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to be near his recently relocated parents. Like many Los Angeles transplants, Greenfield couldn’t ignore the allure of the entertainment industry in Hollywood, and thought he’d try his hand at acting. Sounds pretty typical, right? Still, Max Greenfield is a stand-out Hollywood success story, not only because of his rapidly expanding acting resume, but also because of his ultra positive attitude and unrelenting determination.
As a fledgling actor he took every opportunity given to him and felt that he had to work harder than other actors because of his late start. But, after some time in Los Angeles, he became all too familiar with the grind of the industry.
“For the most part, the business is a grind and you kind of find yourself in situations that, every so often, have you going ‘I don’t think I can keep doing this,’” said Greenfield. But he did, and his perseverance has paid off.
For years he has had a variety of successes with guest starring roles and lead roles on short lived series, making him a familiar face on the small screen for much of the last decade. As a veteran actor, he has had his successes with his 2004 breakout role in the indie film Cross Bronx and as one of the leads in the short lived ensemble cast of the WB’s Modern Men. Greenfield is better known for his recurring roles as Leo D’Amato on Veronica Mars, as Nick Pepper on Ugly Betty, and the gay Teaching Assistant on Greek. His guest starring roles include Gilmore Girls, Boston Public, Sleeper Cell, The O.C. and Melrose Place. His most recent small screen successes include Raising the Bar, Castle, Lie to Me, No Ordinary Family, Hot in Cleveland and Happy Endings.
Although he has been successful to a point that many aspiring actors never reach, he has paid his dues and been faced with rejection, a reality of any profession. Throughout the constant auditions, the infrequent roles, and the aspirations to reach the top, Greenfield has kept his focus on realizing his full potential, putting everything into his work. Some of his inspiration comes from watching other actors. When he’s watching another actor he [tries] to look at all the positive things that that actor is doing, rather than what a lot of other people do so often saying, ‘oh this guy sucks.’
“I like to try and figure out what they’re trying to do, what’s working, and what’s not. I’d say a majority of the guys that are having success are having success for a reason, that’s because they are good.” In short, Greenfield chooses to focus on the positive, rather than the negative.
An actor that “does no wrong” and for Max is “like an acting lesion” is Peter Sellers. Sellers, who was a comedic genius in his own right, was an actor that immersed himself in every role, an element that was not only tangible on screen, but led him to be referred to by colleagues as ‘the chameleon.’ This is a trait that Greenfield has adopted for himself, improving on previous roles by delving deeper into his subsequent roles. Other actors that he admires include Ty Burrell of Modern Family and Steve Carell of The Office. Greenfield’s successes have afforded him the opportunity to call the shots on his own projects with the first being The Gentleman’s League. The Gentleman’s League, which aired on DirecTV, was a series that followed Greenfield and real life best friend Jerry Ferrara in their fantasy football league. The series was produced and directed by Greenfield. Being able to really explore the industry through personal projects such as that one are what really make the experience worth while for Greenfield. For now he is putting all his efforts and energy into making The New Girl a success, and will hopefully be able to produce more personal projects.
His latest and probably most important role to date is his lead in the new FOX sitcom, The New Girl. The New Girl first aired on Fox in September and received high ratings. The quirky comedy stars Greenfield as the resident overgrown frat guy, opposite Zooey Deschanel. He is a young professional who is a ladies man that sees his new female roommate as an opportunity to sharpen his womanizing skills as well as an opportunity to score. Schmidt is one of three roommates that bring Deschanel’s character into their bachelor pad. Ambition is the name of his game and Greenfield ensures that there is some truth to the character that he plays on the show. While Max himself isn’t always scheming like his character on The New Girl is, Schmidt’s desire to constantly succeed and maximize on his opportunities is something that Greenfield can honestly relate to. The show, which was created and written by Liz Meriwether, of No Strings Attached acclaim, was a major factor that attracted Max to the project. Speaking very highly of both Meriwether and Deschanel, he sees this opportunity as the one that his whole career has been leading up to.
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