'Physical': See Zooey Deschanel Return to TV as a Network Star in Season 3 (Exclusive)

Physical season 3
Apple TV+

ET has the first look at the former 'New Girl' star, who joins Rose Byrne's Apple TV+ series in the final season.

After playing Jessica Day for seven seasons on New Girl, Zooey Deschanel is returning to TV as a network star who decides to enter the fitness industry in the third and final season of Physical. Only ET has the first look at Deschanel in character as Kelly as well as other new images of Rose Byrne as Sheila Rubin and Dierdre Friel who plays Greta Hauser in the half-hour Apple TV+ dramedy from creator and executive producer Annie Weisman. 

According to Deschanel, "Kelly is like Sheila’s shadow side and she challenges her on every level. She’s her frenemy, her foil, her obsession," the actress tells ET.  

"I really love this show, loved watching the first two seasons, so it was wonderful getting to jump on and helping to create a really unique character in the world of the show," she says. "It’s such a different role from anything I’ve ever done before!"

Apple TV+

And adding to the uniqueness of the role is the physical transformation she underwent to become Kelly in season 3. "I loved getting to transform into Kelly -- she is a complete departure for me," Deschanel says. "I loved working with our amazing hair, makeup and costume teams. I walked around our studio lot completely unrecognizable to anyone who came by. As an actor, I think these are my favorite kinds of parts." 

She adds, "There is a certain freedom that a totally different look gives you as an actor. When the level of physical transformation matches the creative transformation of becoming a given character, there is a certain alchemy that can be explosive, and really, really fun."

And if Deschanel's blonde makeover looks familiar, it's because the actress teased the transformation that has her resembling Farrah Fawcett -- or even Jane Fonda's workout video days -- on Instagram back in May. "Who's she?" she captioned the photos, while not revealing it was actually for her upcoming arc as Kelly. 

Apple TV+

First premiering in 2021, Physical has followed Sheila as she went from being a quietly tortured, dutiful 1980s San Diego housewife who supported her husband, Danny Rubin (Rory Scovel), as he made a bid for state assembly to finding an escape in the energizing world of aerobics, with her fighting for a place in the burgeoning fitness industry. 

Over the course of the series, and with the support of fellow housewife Greta, Sheila has successfully launched her first fitness video, encountered the likes of Vinnie Green (Murray Bartlett) and his short shorts while navigating various obstacles on her path of continued self-discovery. 

Now, in the final 10 episodes, "season 3 [sees] Sheila truly stepping into her shoes as a mastermind powerhouse wellness trailblazer," Byrne tells ET. "But the cost is high." 

Apple TV+
Apple TV+

Since Sheila's no longer the only game in town, she finds herself having to outrun some fierce new competitors on the road to building a full-fledged fitness empire. Among those people are newcomers to the industry like Kelly, who sees an opportunity to extend her own fame and fortune in seemingly similar fashion to the many real-life stars who dipped into the world of aerobics and fitness during the 1980s and '90s. 

And when it comes to Deschanel, "we were so lucky to have Zooey join us," Byrne says. "Be prepared for the unexpected, the unnerving and the insanely brilliant performance only she could bring!" 

Echoing Byrne's excitement for the upcoming episodes, Deschanel says, "Rose is absolutely amazing and so lovely to work with. We had so much fun doing these scenes together [and] I think people are really going to be surprised and delighted by this season. Can’t wait for everyone to watch!"

Physical season 3 premieres Aug. 2 on Apple TV+.