Max began his acting career in 2000, with the 'MTV' anthology 'Undressed.' He was seen as ‘Victor’ in three episodes of the series. Later, he made brief appearances in the drama 'Boston Public' and the 'The WB' “dramedy” 'Gilmore Girls.'
In 2004, Max made his film debut as ‘Ike Green’ in the short drama 'Cross Bronx.' He then landed the recurring role (11 episodes) of ‘Leo D' Amato’ in the teen noir mystery drama 'Veronica Mars.' Max portrayed ‘Leo D'Amato’ till 2007. He reprised the role in the film adaptation directed by Rob Thomas, which released in 2014. Max’s character was introduced as the new Sheriff's Deputy.
Max was next seen in the 2005 comedy film 'When Do We Eat?' The movie featured him as ‘Ethan,’ a failed businessman turning into a religious Hasidic Jew. In 2007, Max played the younger version of the character ‘Sandy Cohen,’ the protagonist portrayed by Peter Gallagher, in the 'Fox' teen drama series 'The O.C.'
Max appeared as ‘Michael’ in five episodes of the 'ABC' family comedy–drama 'Greek.' The character had a romantic angle, with ‘Calvin’ played by Paul James. In 2009, he had a brief recurring role (four episodes) as ‘David Steinberg’ in the 'TNT' legal drama 'Raising the Bar.' Max voiced the characters ‘Boo Boo’ in the 'Fox' animated sitcom 'Bob's Burgers' (2013 to 2016) and ‘Kipper’ in 'All Hail King Julien: Exiled ' (2017).
Max was seen as ‘Josh,’ a crestfallen PhD candidate, in the 2014 drama film 'About Alex.' Following this, he played ‘John Fremont,’ the title character’s (played by Sally Field) colleague, in the 2015 romantic comedy 'Hello, My Name Is Doris.' Max had a recurring role (eight episodes), as ‘Nick Pepper,’ in the comedy–drama 'Ugly Betty.'
In 2015, Max essayed the character of an immoral Florida-based mortgage broker fond of targeting strippers in the 2015 biographical comedy–drama 'The Big Short,' which was an adaption of Michael Lewis’s novel 'The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine.'
Max began playing the breakthrough role of ‘Schmidt’ in the 'Fox' sitcom 'New Girl' in 2011 and continued playing the role till 2018 (for seven seasons). His character underwent a dramatic transition, from being an obese 'Syracuse University' student to becoming an overly confident ladies' man. Later in the series, ‘Schmidt’ turned into a successful marketing associate in a female-dominated office and began living with Jess (Zooey Deschanel).
His portrayal of ‘Schmidt’ earned Max three ‘Best Supporting Actor’ nominations, one each for the 'Critics' Choice Television Award,' the 'Golden Globe Award,' and the 'Primetime Emmy Award.' The same role also helped him earn a 'Teen Choice Award' nomination for ‘Choice TV Scene Stealer – Male.’ Initially, Max was not confident about his character in the series and had expressed his apprehension about the audience’s reaction. Interestingly, ‘Schmidt’ was the first character of the series to be well-received by both the audiences and the critics.
Max did a series of TV commercials for 'McDonald’s,' all released in May 2015. He voiced the character ‘Roger’ in the 2016 3D computer-animated science-fiction comedy 'Ice Age: Collision Course.' He became a producer and director in 2010, with the reality series 'The Gentlemen's League.' He appeared in two episodes of the series with his friend, actor Jerry Ferrara. The series documented his real-life fantasy football league. Following this, he co-produced the 2017 comedy flick 'Fist Fight.'
Max played ‘David,’ a rich and powerful man who dates ‘Jeannette Walls’ (played by Brie Larson), in the 2017 biopic 'The Glass Castle.' He was paired opposite Mandy Moore in the 2017 drama 'I'm Not Here.'
In 2018, Max appeared in the comedy biopic 'A Futile and Stupid Gesture.' Based on Josh Karp's novel, the film had Max in the role of Chris Miller, the real-life author and screenwriter who gained fame for his association with the humor magazine 'National Lampoon' and for writing the comedy film 'Animal House.'
Max played a homosexual named ‘Ronnie Holston’ in the second season of the 'FX' true crime anthology 'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.' He currently plays ‘Dave Johnson,’ opposite Beth Behrs as ‘Gemma Johnson,’ in the 'CBS' sitcom 'The Neighborhood.'
In 2019, Max appeared as ‘Kevin’ in the romantic comedy 'What Men Want.' His character was that of ‘Ali’s (played by Taraji P Henson) co-worker at her agency, 'Summit,' who later becomes an agent. Max will be seen in the upcoming drama thriller 'Promising Young Woman.'
Family & Personal Life
Max has been married to 'Fox' casting executive Tess Sanchez since 2008. They have a daughter, Lilly (born in 2009), and a son, Ozzie (born in 2015). The two got engaged on their fifth anniversary.
Max’s favorite 'New Girl' episode was 'Bad in Bed.' His dream co-star is Ray Romano, and he wishes to play his son in some project.
Max is associated with several philanthropic causes and organizations. He supported the 'Young Storytellers Foundation,' a Los Angeles-based arts education non-profit organization. Max’s children are the prime inspirations for all his charitable endeavors. The actor has been a guest editor for 'Academy Award'-winning actor Gwyneth Paltrow's website, 'Goop.' Some of the other organizations that Max has supported are 'Milk+Bookies,' the ‘Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation,' 'Stand Up To Cancer,' and 'The Nature Conservancy.'