On the Starz series, Johnson plays a publisher of the first erotic magazine geared toward women.
While promoting season 2 of Minx, which will return on Starz after being canceled by Max, star Jake Johnson revealed the awkward moment one of his daughters found one of the nude magazines creator Ellen Rapoport sent him during the pandemic while developing the workplace comedy about the launch of the first erotic magazine for female readers.
"What's actually funny is Ellen -- when we were working on ideas of playing this part -- she was sending material that got her very excited. And she sent me, [during the] pandemic year, a bunch of naked dude magazines to my house," the actor recalled to ET's Will Marfuggi, referring to his role as Doug Renetti, a low-rent publisher of niche magazines and owner of Bottom Dollar Publications, who ends up partnering with a young, ambitious editor, Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond), to launch Minx.
"And so, I got them and I was like, first of all, I don't, like, need to look through these. I know what they are," Johnson continued, revealing that he "put them on this shelf" before Lovibond jumped in to share that she looked through all the ones Rapoport sent her.
"What do you mean? I did," she said, joking that she asked for more. "I love getting them. My mom came over and went to the other room to make a cup of tea, came back in and was like, 'This is fantastic.' She's like, 'I remember these original ones.' I was like, 'Do you really?'"
That's when Johnson revealed he had a similar encounter, but his version didn't involve a parent. "I had that experience, but it wasn't my mom, it was one of my daughters," he shared. "And I had to go like, 'Give me that now…' And I had to say, 'Hey, Ellen. Not again.'"
After throwing them out, Johnson recalled how he said, "Let's stick to the Spider-Gwen masks. Those work way better in my house." Of course, that being a reference to the actor's other role as the voice of Peter B. Parker in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as well as the sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, in which he plays the first Spider-Man character with a child.
Of course, nudity is just part of the job when it comes to working on the series, which returns with season 2 on Starz as it continues to follow the lives of the magazine staff as they work to publish issue after issue while navigating notoriety and fame that has followed in the wake of Minx's unexpected popularity.
Just like in season 1, there's no shortage of full frontal male nudity, with the series depicting what it's like working for an erotic magazine as models strip down in front of the cameras. (Audiences get a sense of all the skin to come in a red band trailer Starz released on National Nude Day, just ahead of season 2.)
While Johnson previously noted that the nudity eventually became "normal" during season 1, he added that "you never get desensitized" to seeing it on set, even while filming season 2.
"It's always strange. Imagine if one of the camera operators wasn't wearing pants," he said, offering up an example of what it's like to be surrounded by naked people all day. "This is the same feeling for us. We get to work, you hang out, and then there's somebody wearing a robe. They stare at the ceiling, they drop the robe and you go, like, 'There are your buttcheeks, man.'"
He then recalled how surreal it is that the nude extras will start making small talk between takes. "They'll go, like, 'So, you're from Chicago?' And I'll go, like, 'Yeah, my man, you want to throw a robe on and then I'll ask you where you're from?'" the actor shared, explaining, "It's always weird. But you don't make jokes. You don't laugh."
Lovibond, however, said, "We do feel different about that." She added, "Honestly, for me, it was very quick. After a while, you do become desensitized. I mean, I'm not gonna pretend that you don't notice. But it is just, you're at work."
The co-stars' different takes on the nudity kind of plays into the dynamic between their two characters, who often butted heads in season 1 over the creative direction of the magazine and their approach to the business. While it's possible to see a "Sam and Diane"-like element to their relationship, both Johnson and Lovibond said what bonds Doug and Joyce is Minx's success.
"There's a begrudging respect for one another. But they don't go and hang out just the two of them for pleasure. It's a business situation," Lovibond explained, revealing that "Rapoport has always said, like, it was never in the cards, in her mind, that they would hook up romantically."
Echoing that sentiment, Johnson added, "Their relationship is capitalism, I think. They see success in each other, they don't see romance… The connective glue between these two is a lot of money."
And, of course, that leads to plenty of conflict and drama between editor and publisher in season 2, as they two are put into situations that Starz teases, "neither of them know how to handle."
Minx season 2 will premiere Friday, July 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Starz and will be available to stream on the Starz app starting at midnight. Season 1 is currently streaming on the Starz app.
These interviews were conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, which began on July 13, 2023.