Jake Johnson never intended to become an action star, but in The Mummy, a reboot of the classic monster franchise and the first installment of a proposed "Dark Universe" franchise, he’s embraced the genre fully. The actor, best known as Nick Miller on New Girl, plays Sergeant Chris Vail, a former military man who plunders archeological sites for pricy artifacts. He’s the wise-cracking counterpoint to Tom Cruise’s leading man, Nick Morton, and together they're a squabbling comedic duo forced to deal with the awakening of some very ancient evil. It was new ground for Johnson, whose taste of blockbuster moviemaking was six days on 2015’s Jurassic World that required no prior experience leaping off burning buildings.
Vail takes an unexpected turn in the first third of The Mummy, out today, and Johnson is aware that discussing the role can lead to a few plot spoilers. Still the actor, who will return to LA to shoot the seventh and final season of New Girl after his press tour on The Mummy, has a lot to say about his experience. We spoke with Johnson in London about how he found himself starring in a huge summer movie alongside Cruise and how the two of actors continue to be a friendly duo off-screen.