After nine years, 203 episodes, dozens
of workers, a few weddings, some babies, uncounted lovers, lots of
collating, and hundreds of thousands of reams of paper, it's time to
shut down Dunder-Mifflin.
Scranton, Pennsylvania's finest sons are closing up the place where
America went to laugh weekly at their own miserable jobs. Since the
show debuted in 2004, an Americanization of the beloved British
comedy which made a star of Ricky Gervais, The Office has
slowly but surely invaded out cultural consciousness.
Originally considered a project for
comedian Steve Carell, who became a superstar as obtuse Dunder-Mifflin
boss Michael Scott. However the show's ensemble kept things hopping,
exposing such comic gems as John Krasinski and everyman worker Jim
Halpert, Jenna Fisher as his crush, Pam the receptionist, Rainn
Wilson as Dwight Schrute, the oddball from hell. Actors like Ed
Helms, Rashida Jones, Craig Robinson, Amy Ryan, Creed Bratton, Mindy
Kaling and BJ Upton became stars from their time in the show.
After many dramatic changes, the show
creator Greg Daniels has decided to go out on top. The series
finale will air on May 16.
A couple of weeks before the series'
grand finale, we were able to take part in a conference call with
series star Krasinski and creator Daniels discussing the final days
at The Office.
Fans got pretty nervous when Jim and Pam started experiencing
marital problems after several seasons of bliss. Greg, what made you
decide to explore that route in the final season, and John, what was
that like to play?
Well, for this one, I want to compliment
and share credit with John and the cast, who became producers this
year – John and Jenna [Fischer] and Rainn [Wilson] and Ed [Helms].
This was something that we wanted to do, but the bones of it came a
lot out of something from his brother. (to John) Do you want
to tell the story?
Yeah. My favorite thing about the show
has always been, especially with the Jim and Pam story, how real the
writers have always been to a relationship. Yes, there are
incredibly blissful times, like you were saying. But, there’s also
times where the world around them can stall out and feel like it’s
not enough. Or that it is enough. Or feel bland or more exciting
from time-to-time. So my whole pitch to Greg was that we’ve done so
much with Jim and Pam. After marriage and kids there was a bit of a
lull there for them, I think, about what they wanted to do. The idea
of Jim’s ambition was always one of my favorite things from the
early seasons. It seemed like between Australia and trying to be the
boss at corporate and NYC.
All those things for me were really
exciting – that Jim always felt like there was something that he
could be doing more of. I wanted to explore that. The idea of him
going to another city came from my brother, actually. In his work at
the beginning of his job, he was traveling a lot all over the
country for all his different clients. It was definitely a strain on
the family in a very new way. Obviously, not a strain that was as
dramatic as what we did on the show, but it was a thing where
seemingly simple things like basic spending time with your children
and in the same city was becoming more and more difficult. Putting a
strain on. Just harder to do mentally.
So for me, it was: Can you have this
perfect relationship go through a split and keep it the same? Which
of course you can’t. I said to Greg, “It would be really interesting
to see how that split will affect two people that you know so well.”
I think the exciting thing was to know that the audience would take
a guess at what Jim would do and what Pam would do, so to run those
numbers on this relationship was really, really interesting to me.
Rather than us introducing an affair or something like that. A huge
credit to Greg and the writers. They’ve never gone the easy route.
They’ve always gone the very realistic route. I’ve always really,
really admired that.
Greg Daniels: I was just very attracted to the idea
of doing something that would matter, and where people would feel
very involved. I think that there are a number of moments this year
where you really become involved in what’s happening. In order to
get that feeling of involvement there you need some ups and downs.
Are there any finale spoilers that you might be able to tell us
about? I know it’s a one-hour one this year.
Yeah, it may be even bigger than the
one-hour one. We’re trying to get more time. The network’s being
very creative about scraping some more time together for us without
having us start the finale in a weird time that will cause half the
audience to miss the first ten minutes or something. So, we’ll see
how we’re doing, but we’re still hopeful to get slightly more than
an hour too.
Going back to the Jim and Pam stuff, the last scene of last week’s
episode seemed to say that they’re going to be okay. Can you talk a
little bit about how things play out over the last few episodes for
Yeah. The last episode for me, the one
that just aired, I remember Greg saying very smartly we have to give
the audience something, as far as trying to see light at the end of
the tunnel. I don’t think it necessarily answers all the questions
as to how they’ll solve it. I think that as always with Jim and Pam,
there’s a romantic hope that everything will be okay at the end of
Now there’s going to have to be a little
bit more brass tack, if you will, as far as getting to understand
how this will work. You know Jim needs to figure out what he wants
to do with Billy and Pam needs to figure out how she feels about Jim
doing this for her. It’s an interesting thing that I think Greg was
really smart to say we can’t just hold this out to the last episode
and have people almost getting terrified to the point where they
wouldn’t enjoy the finale. (chuckles)
Yeah, we’re going to end up with 203 or
204 episodes, and it feels like all these characters and
storylines... my hope is that people will treat the last several
episodes as the finale and not force us to do everything in the last
episode. We didn’t want there to be such anxiety over Jim and Pam
that you could think of nothing else during the last episode.
(laughs) I’m not going to lie and
say I didn’t laugh though, thinking about people being so terrified
that they just sort of blacked out for the first part of the finale.
Greg, the finale says it takes place a few months after the
documentary has aired. Was that idea influenced at all by Ricky [Gervais]’s
Office Christmas special where it looked at David Brent and what
he was trying to do afterward?
Well, probably. We didn’t start off with
that as the finale. (chuckles) This year, the plan was to air
the documentary in episode 17. As we got closer and closer to that
point the writers and I would have furious debates. We ended up
having promos air for the documentary at that point. We got the best
of what we were looking for, in terms of the characters seeing old
footage and everything.
We thought it would be difficult to have
a bunch of episodes after it had aired, so we kind of ended up
pushing it off and off. Then it ended up being more close to the
British show, which goes to show again how brilliantly they
conceived it. (laughs) They thought of it all in advance in a
much more compressed time period. After attempting to beat that
ending a number of different ways, I think we ended up very
John, what are you going to miss most about playing Jim?
Wow, big question. You’re trying to get
tears and I appreciate it. I’m saving my tears for Barbara Walters.
But there’s so much to miss. For me – and I think probably more than
the other cast members – I mean I was a waiter before this show. So
what I miss most about this character is way too complexly entwined
in my real life. To me, this was a winning lottery ticket, except
with a winning lottery ticket you just get money, and with this you
get a whole change of your life. Everything about my life has
changed and become better, and I feel so lucky to be where I am.
So, it’s hard to separate the two,
because I’m so meshed in the experience. I will say, and I don’t
know if this a good answer or a bad answer – but I will say I think
the thing I’ll miss most is playing a character that people believe
in so much and attach themselves to in various degrees. There are
some people who think they are Jim. There’s some people who are
looking for a Jim. To me, and I know to Jenna, playing the Jim/Pam
relationship and realizing how important it became to so many people
was such a incredible honor that I think that
there was a small part of my brain that really
didn’t want to let anyone down every single week.
That was actually really exciting. I
felt like I was given a tremendous responsibility, and that
responsibility I really will miss because it’s just so much fun to
play a character that people are watching and rooting for and
loving. So, I really appreciate that.
John, I’m wondering how much you’re going to miss being able to look
at the camera, since Jim was really one of the characters that
utilized that throughout the show?
John Krasinski: I wish I could say I was professional
enough to never look at a camera again on another job, but that’s
already been blown several times. And on movie sets they don’t
really dig it when you look in the camera, which is a bizarre fact.
I will miss it very much. Going back to
the other question, I think one of the best things about Jim is that
he’s one of those characters, and there are a few others in
different television shows or I guess movies too, but I remember
talking to Greg in the first week about how he saw Jim as the window
for the audience into this office. Everyone could watch this office.
But, they needed someone to tell them that it was okay to laugh at
everything, and to see everything as a little bit ridiculous, and to
me that was so much fun to play.
I remember the first time reading the
script that I had to look in the camera. That’s very stressful,
because you don’t want to blow it and overdo it. I always joke that
there’s a number. My favorite thing was our DP [director of
photography], Matt Sohn, was like, “So, on this scene when you look
to Jenna, give me the number four.” (laughs) I always loved
thinking that I had somehow got it down to a catalog of different
looks. I will miss it very, very much, and hopefully can leave it on
The Office set and not blow any other professional
opportunity by looking down the lens.
Greg Daniels: I was watching this morning. There’s
going to be this NBC News special on the night of our finale. They
requested footage from the cast auditions. And I was watching John’s
audition this morning - in New York.
John Krasinski: Oh, my God.
Yeah, it’s really interesting.
(laughs) It’s fun. I asked you to do some improv about your
Oh, my goodness.
...so that we kind of went off the
script. You were talking about pomegranates being your favorite
fruit, because you know you only get them once a year or something.
I kept saying, “Be more sarcastic about it.” And then, you tagged it
with this amazing look right into the audition camera. It was so
funny. It just made people laugh. So, John was just the absolute
best Bugs Bunny at getting those looks across.
John Krasinski: (laughs) I’ve never been
compared to Bugs Bunny. That’s amazing. Thank you. By the way, it
should be noted that that audition tape you were watching today was
right after I [talked to] what I thought was a nameless person, who
asked me if I was nervous to be auditioning. I said, “I’m not
nervous for the audition, because you either get these things or you
don’t. But, I am nervous for the people making it, because we have a
tendency in America to screw up all the good shows that come over
from England. I don’t see how you’re going to make this work.” And
he said, “Hi, I’m Greg Daniels,” and I threw up in my mouth. So, the
video that Greg was watching this morning was probably seven
Yes, exactly. It was probably ten
minutes after that you brushed your teeth.
John, you did have some credits before you got the show, but you
said you were still a waiter at the time. How was your career was
going at that time? Were you waiting because you were good at it, or
were you waiting because you still didn’t have enough work to get by
at that point, or what?
I definitely had fun being a waiter. I
can’t say for sure that I was a good waiter. I think that I made
people have a good time. I probably couldn’t tell you what was in
any of the plates I was serving, so probably not great for the
house. But no, by being a waiter 100%, I think I was a lot like any
other actor in New York, I had credits because I’d work lunches
during the week, and then on a Wednesday would go be lucky enough to
be in a movie like, Kinsey, and go shoot for a day and come
back. It was one of those things where I definitely was lucky enough
to have a few jobs and few commercials. Not anything that would
allow me to claim that I was a working actor and didn’t need another
Greg, it’s a hugely important role. As you said, it’s the window for
the audience, and you gave it to a guy with very, very few credits,
but turned out to be perfect casting. What was it at the time that
made you realize this was the guy? And also, what was your reaction
when he told you, I didn’t know how it was going to work, before he
knew who you were?
Basically what he’s asking, Greg, is
what the hell were you thinking? (laughs)
Yeah, I remember that happening. He
wasn’t the only person saying that. (They both laugh.) So it
didn’t hit me with the same force. I was used to getting that all
over the place. But I had seen with John a series of commercials
that he did for like, I think, ESPN or something. Do you remember
Oh, NASCAR. It was NASCAR.
NASCAR, yeah. They were very funny. I
think they were completely improvisational and he was doing
man-on-the-street interviews for NASCAR. But yeah, it’s a hard role
to cast. Very infrequently, I think, do you find an actor who is
very, very good at comedy and extremely sincere and vulnerable, and
capable of being a masculine leading man. When all the different
people came through it was very clear that John was the best.
We also had these three days of screen
tests. After the auditioning process we brought the leading
contenders to Los Angeles and shot in the style of the show with our
director, Ken Kwapis, for days. Which was an amazingly audacious
thing to ask for an actor to do without paying them. In addition to
being very funny in the talking heads and having a great chemistry
with Jenna, one of the aspects of the role was to be able to have
this relationship with Dwight.
In the improvs between John and Rainn,
John was the only person who could stand up to Rainn really and
throw it back - throw Rainn back on his feet. And so, he kind of hit
all the marks and, you know it wasn’t a hard choice.
Greg, I know this is sort of a John-specific news conference, but I
think I’d be remiss in not asking about the return of Steve [Carell].
John Krasinski: (tongue in cheek) How dare you?
I can’t imagine how there’d be a reunion show without Michael [Carell's
character] and Holly [Amy Ryan] coming back to the final stage. I
know you can say, “No comment,” but I have to ask you anyway, can
you speak to that at all?
Greg Daniels: Well, I think that Steve felt – which I
agree with – that "Goodbye Michael" episode was his goodbye, and
that he didn’t want to overshadow the endings that the other
characters deserved after all these years. So I think he made a good
call. Obviously, it’d be wonderful to have him back, but you
Well, that's not exactly a no. Anyway, I’d like ask you to address
the legacy. It’s coming to an end, and an historic one. What did it
all mean? The show has changed comedy, and in a way. You obviously
created out of it another classic
Parks and Rec. What’s the legacy here at the end of the day, do
Wow, yeah. I don’t think that there is
one type of person. The audience is made up of people with a lot of
different desires and ways that they want to be entertained. So I
actually don’t think that there’s a straight-line progress thing
with TV. It’s more cyclical. But I think that for the people for
whom the sensibility that we did was just hitting the sweet spot
that they got a great long drink of that comedy juice from the show.
And it maybe encouraged other people who like that sensibility to do
more along those lines.
I certainly feel like the British show
was like such a defining thing for so many people. It brought
together all these people with that taste. I was such a fan of that
style too. It was an amazing treat to be able to work for so long in
that style, which I think beforehand was more like a really old
comedy kind of a thing, you know?
For a while we made it very mainstream
and I think there’s benefits to that, because I love that
sensibility. But I don’t think all future comedies have to be like
The Office now. There’s a million different types of comedy,
but I think this was a good long example of a type that I hold dear
to my heart.
NBC has gone off in a very different direction as well.
Parks and Rec, of course, will continue, but you had a very
specific tone and it seems like NBC has gone off in a different
direction and that you’re yesterday’s flavor to a certain extent. Do
you ever feel that all?
We never had an expectation of big success when we started it. You
remember this, John? When we did the pilot we were just so excited
to all get together and to do this type of work with other comedy
people who loved the same type of thing.
John Krasinski: Yeah, 100%.
And the writers and the cast, and we
I remember every week being told that
this would be our last episode, and unfortunately we weren’t going
to keep going. (chuckles) I think it was every week, and I
remember saying, “Is there any way I could get a DVD of this to show
my mom, because this is definitely the best thing I’ve ever done.” I
was happy with that, and I actually still have that DVD. So for us,
it was just like we were in the best regional theater group in the
world. We just thought no one was necessarily paying attention, but
we were having a blast.
Yeah, so every time we hit any kind of
milestone, like the pickup for the first season or pickup for the
season two, or to get to after the Super Bowl...
... or a back order...
....or any of the thing...
...we were like, “Thanks. We’re going to
get a whole season?”
Yeah, there was always a feeling that we
were pulling something over the NBC Executives, I guess. (laughs)
That’s great news that there’s still hope for supersizing the
finale. So very happy to hear that, and...
John Krasinski: I know, I was happy to hear that,
John, speaking of commercials from the previous question, you know one of my
favorite commercials that you were in was for Kodak.
Oh, my God.
Remember you and your roommate trying to one up each other?
John Krasinski: Oh, I know it very well.
You ended up with a shaved eyebrow or something.
I ended up with a fauxhawk, which is
reverse Mohawk, and the other guy had to shave his eyebrow. Weirdly,
I remember the night before I got cast calling my dad, who’s a
doctor, and just saying, “Eyebrows grow back, right?” And he’s like,
“There’s no way to tell, so hopefully you’re the fauxhawk guy.” So,
I was terrified until I got the Mohawk.
You’re both going to be attending
The Office wrap party in Scranton this weekend. I
was wondering if you could talk about your thoughts about The
Office fan base in general, and what it’s meant to you over the
Well, I can jump in on that one. There’s
a lot of shows that can say they owe it all to their fans. But, we
actually technically can say that we owe everything to the fans,
because I for one think that our show is so fan-driven in such a
specific way, as evidenced by iTunes. When we first came out the
only reason, in my opinion, that we made it past these pickups that
Greg and I were talking about is because people actually decided
they liked the show so much – and it was such a small group at the
beginning – that they would pay money to see the show, rather than
just wait for it on Tuesday or Thursday, whatever time it was back
I remember that was life-changing for me
to see, because to be part of something like that was incredible. I
was walking down the streets of New York and someone would just stop
on their way to work and say, “Oh, my God, you’re on my iPod.” I was
like two things: “What’s an iPod?” Also, “What are you talking
about?” They just held up this thing.
I also think that during the early
speculation of what our show would be when people were obviously
being really hard on the show without seeing it – because everybody
thought that it was going to be terrible because the English one was
so good – I remember “Diversity Day” hitting and just every other
person on the street would come up to me and say, “The show is
awesome. The show is awesome.”
So, you had this group of people who
almost started like a grass roots political campaign for our show. I
don’t know how Greg feels, but I think we owe absolutely everything
to the fans.
Greg Daniels: Yeah, I completely agree with that.
Part of the amazing experience of doing this show is that back and
forth, and the serialized nature of it. The show has these arcs and
the characters were very real and so well acted, and they really
mattered to people. The fact that it mattered so much to so many
people and they would debate what’s going to happen next and what
happened. Is that the right way to behave? How could she do that?
Why isn’t he seeing this? You could go and read about it and you
could lurk, you know? I mean, I’ll tell you I lurk all the time on
the sites and listen to what people are saying. And I don’t know
that many other writing experiences where you have that kind of
relationship with the audience while you’re doing it. It’s just very
I do like imagining you in a dark office
creeping around on the Internet.
Yeah. Yeah, well, I’m not wearing anything while I do that.
I was going to say that as well.
Okay, Greg, I’m posting that.
No, no, please don’t. (laughs)
There’s been such a Boston-area influence on the show, both writing
and acting, I didn’t know if you maybe could talk about that? And
also, maybe how we’ll see all of you guys end up or reunite in the
I love having a huge Boston contingent.
I thought it was totally random, but Greg can speak more to that.
Yeah. No, I think it is. I mean, the
craziness of it is the BJ [Upton]/John connections that go back to
high school. BJ will be back for the finale, so you have that to
look forward to. But it does have a northeast flavor. It was very
specifically set in Scranton and it was a remake of an English show,
and so New England maybe had some cultural affinity. I don’t know.
I just didn’t know, just because there were other connections that
existed before? Like if it brought something to the chemistry or...
Well, I mean I definitely, when trying
to think of where to set it, I was thinking about different regions
of the country, and I’m most familiar with the northeast. My dad’s
from Massachusetts and I spent a lot of time in New England. For
some reason I thought it would have a different feel if it was in
Florida or Arizona or some of the other places that we thought
about. It just didn’t have the same kind of feel to me. It’s a
compliment. I think the people of New England are very articulate
and have a great sense of humor. We're used to of gray skies out the
window and carrying on through it all.
I was wondering about the last few days of filming. Were there any
emotional moments, were there tears? I know you joked about it
earlier, John, that you were saving your tears for Barbara Walters,
but how were the last few days of filming the show?
I don’t think there were any tears,
right? There was just celebration that this thing was finally over,
Again, I think for so many people this
wasn’t just a job, and there’s no way it could be just a job. This
was a huge, incredibly emotional family and connection that we all
had. To say it was emotional would be a complete understatement.
Knowing that we’ll see these people still in our lives, and it was
still that emotional. It says a lot about how much we are all
defined by this show and how much we honor how defined we are by the
I just think that no matter what any of
us go on to do, this show will probably be what we’re most known
for, and that’s incredible. For people to feel so good about that
and feel that they were a part of something so special, not only in
the television world, but in their personal lives, was massive.
So, I’m not giving anything away. We
chose a random scene where everyone’s exiting the office for the
last shot that we ever did, and I’m so glad we did. It was a very
sort of mundane walking out of the office. It wasn’t big and
dramatic or anything. It was at the beginning of the show or
something, so it’s not like it’s the last shot.
I’ll never forget, we were all joking
around. I was, as per usual, crying laughing as we exited. I’m a
crier laugher, which is a bummer, but I was crying laughing with
Craig [Robinson]. We were all joking around waiting in the hall
every time we exited. Then, one of the times we came back, instead
of saying, “Going again,” Greg randomly appeared and just said,
“Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the end of The Office.” And it
was. It really was, I mean even talking about it now, it was a gut
It’s a life-changing event and there’s
just no way to describe it. It’s not like ending college. It’s not
like anything, really. It’s a part of your life that defined you,
and to have it go away is so incredibly bittersweet. I think the
only thing that helped us all is that we’re so proud of the work,
and that we’re so proud that we got to have a series finale. That’s
a very rare thing. Growing up I remember the Cheers finale
and M*A*S*H and all these amazing finales. I remember them
being very, very important.
For us to be a show that even got there
is incredible. We’re just all so proud of the work. That’s the only
thing that prevented us all from just having a complete meltdown.
Yeah, it’s also very special. The lot
that we shot it in is all by itself in Van Nuys. We had lunch with
each other every day. There was nobody here who didn’t work on the
show, on this little lot, so we did get very close.
One of the hard parts about the finale
is that you have to be professional. You have to act and you have to
try and keep the tone a certain way when you’re on the set and
everything, in terms of writing and directing. It’s very difficult.
It also means that you’re going to say goodbye to everybody you’ve
been hanging out with for eight years. You know you’re going to have
to find a different place to have an office in. There is like a lot
of weird overlap between the end of your personal work experience
and what’s going on onscreen, so it was very sad.
It was very sad. Yeah.
We’re excited for the finale, but sad to see it end.
At least there’s so many episodes that
if you wanted to like re-watch them, it would take you a long time.
You could enjoy that aspect of it.
Let's go on walk down memory lane. What was your favorite episode
from season one up until now, one that just sticks out to you?
That’s a really hard question to answer.
That’s a really hard question. To me,
it’s like saying, what’s your favorite movie? You’ve got to have
more of a top ten and whichever ones get named get named. But, for
me, for so many different reasons, again personally and
professionally, I think that there’s so many important moments, some
having to do with my characters and others not.
The first moment that I can remember the
most was shooting the first day of “Diversity Day.” The pilot was
pretty much word-for-word the British show, which I know we weren’t
all super-excited about, but we could understand why we had to do it
to see how it stacked up against the other show. Then, our first
running at our own pace was “Diversity Day.” I actually remember
people looking around the room at each other, as you do when you saw
something incredibly special and important. We all knew that
something very, very special was happening, and that this show
tonally and from a writing perspective was just really, really
incredible. I remember that moment feeling like that just set the
tone for what this show is.
Of course, personally for me, one
episode that I’ll never forget is “Casino Night,” I just had never
been a part of anything like that. I remember shooting that last
scene and Greg had the set cleared and the lights were low. There
was an importance put on this. You realize that it wasn’t an
importance because of us, like that the actors needed it
necessarily. It was more like, “We’ve got to get this right for the
people that are watching.” People, like Greg was saying earlier, are
so invested in a way that you never thought people would watch TV.
You can’t just at the end of the episode say, I love you,” and kiss.
It has to be very real and very special and exactly how they think
the characters would do it. That was amazing. That was an amazing
The other thing that I remember defining
the show was... “Booze Cruise” will always be one of my favorite
episodes on many levels. I think it’s hilarious. But, going up on
the top of that boat and I remember the sun was almost coming up. We
were shooting all night. It was the last thing we shot. I think we
only had like 15 minutes or something. Greg, if you remember... and
Greg just said, “You know, you’re here to say 'I love you' to her.
Just I don’t know how that would go, just do it.” I got up and there
and just stared at Jenna and had absolutely no idea what to do or
how to say it.
When it aired, I remember it was like
20-something seconds of silence. I remember watching that episode
and saying, “You know, I’ve never seen that. I’ve never seen a show
commit to the characters and the story above what would be good for
ratings. What the audience would see as very dramatic. It was just
like, “No, this is two people who are trying to figure out how to
love each other.” I just thought that that was really incredible.
Yeah, that moment, I think, is very
indicative of the show, because often times we would put a frame
around very small things. You would then be able to see the really
small things that were going on that became beats of a story.
And so, that was 21 seconds, but it
wasn’t the same beat for 21 seconds. It was his face expressing that
he wanted to say. She knew that something might be coming, but it
didn’t and you know he wasn’t 100% comfortable doing it. There were
a lot of micro moments inside that that you normally don’t get when
you have that pressure for getting a laugh every couple of seconds.
I loved that episode too.
I would add “The Job,” the end of season
three, and “Business School” was a great episode and...
And “The Injury” is...
... “The Injury” was wonderful. But,
there’s so many. I mean, the first season had all these very comical
episodes, I thought, where we weren’t really too concerned with the
likeability of anybody. But I kind of loved them just for the comedy
sake. Then we had some very good mixes of touching episodes, I
think. Whatever. It was good. We had some good stuff. Tomorrow’s a
good episode too. We have an hour-long episode tomorrow, and another
hour-long episode the following Thursday, and then the final episode
is an hour, perhaps a few minutes more.
Yeah. But the last three are pretty
John, it must be an incredibly rough time for you, leaving after
eight years this great show that you got started. You wrote and
Promised Land, one of the best pictures of last year. So, it must
be like leaving high school. You’re leaving all your old friends
behind, and now you’re going to go off to go do other great things.
Is it really emotional for you to do this?
Yeah, 100%. Again, I don’t think there’s
any way to describe it, other than, I would imagine a long time back
in olden days as they say, when you had to leave your family behind.
It’s for something, whether it was moving somewhere else or going to
war or something like that. This is a part of me that has, like you
stated, it’s defined me.
We put gym equipment in your trailer, by
the way, John. (laughs)
We turned your trailer into a gym now.
Oh, good. Perfect. So at least they care
about me the way I care about them. No, but I mean to say that this
show gave me everything would be the biggest understatement ever, as
you just pointed out. I think that every single opportunity... and I
mean every single opportunity... has come from this show. People who
have watched this show and have given me a chance because of it.
But also, every creative impulse and
desire of trying new things and wanting to experiment with new
mediums and writing and things like that, [it] has all come from the
show, because of the enthusiasm I have for it. Instead of being some
sort of soul crushing job, it was the exact opposite, which is this
job that made you just feel like a super hero. That you were in the
one family that’s never loved a child more in the history of the
world. That’s how I felt leaving this show.
It’s incredibly hard to leave, but at
the same time I know in my heart that it’s given me everything that
I have and has defined me. Hopefully given me every single strength
and talent that I have to go on and do other things, but I will
always use that as a touchstone going forward.
What’s the next thing for both of you?
I produced a couple of pilots this year,
written by Office writers. One of them is starring Craig
Robinson. Waiting to hear about those, so have some hopes for
something to work on there. I’ll probably be able to spend some more
time on Parks and Recreation next year. Then, for me
personally, it’s been such a ride that my wife just says, “Just
don’t do anything for a little while. Just come off the roller
coaster, and then think about your next move.”
Yeah, I totally agree. I’ve been advised
to just take a second, because I think it’s just such an emotional
roller coaster. The fact that we stopped shooting, but the shows
haven’t stopped airing is very surreal. The fact that our emotions
we thought were over, and then you have people telling you, “Last
weeks’ episode was amazing.” And you’re like, “Oh, my God, right.
It’s still going.” That’s sort of bizarre.
I’m just waiting to see where I want to
go next. I’m writing a couple things and I auditioned for Craig’s
role on the Craig Robinson pilot, just because it seemed good to me.
(Greg laughs) It turns out I didn’t have a shot.
A lot of times people go into the arts to avoid the 9 to 5 world.
Because the show is so realistic to that world, do you feel that you
got an idea of what it’s like to be part of the corporate world? An
appreciation of that kind of lifestyle?
That’s really funny. I definitely
remember Rainn Wilson in some of the scenes were we were doing
background work where you had to just pretend to do paperwork. He
was like, “Oh, my God, this is exhausting. How would you ever do a
9:00 to 5:00 job?” (laughs) And I remember laughing really,
really hard. There were definitely tastes of it here and there. But
when you’re surrounded by it, it does feel like you’re just working
in an office, and that you’re not on a TV show. I think the number
one comment – I’m sure Greg can agree – the number one comment of
people who visited the set was, “Oh, my God, it looks just like an
office,” which I loved. I don’t know what they expected, that it
would be, you know huge CGI walls and, you know places for us to
wire work and stunts. I don’t know what they thought, but it was
really funny that everybody was like, “Oh, my God, it looks just
like an office.” So...
Yeah, the experience was...
...that we were...
No, no. Go ahead.
I was just saying the experience was not
very Hollywood, compared to so many. We were in this little
industrial street in the corner of Van Nuys surrounded by
stone-cutting businesses. We looked at the set when we wrapped. I
walked the set trying to think of what I would take as a memento,
and there was nothing that out of context was very special. It was
only special all together on the set.
All the decorations were motivational
posters that said like, “Inspire” and a picture of a sailboat. You
know the same things that are in any office anywhere. If you took it
and put it on your wall at home and said, “Oh, this is from The
Office,” people would go, “Yeah. Okay, I guess.” (laughs)
It could be. You could have just gotten it from the insurance
agent’s office down the hall.
You guys have done so many interesting things over the years, but
now that the show’s come to an end were there any fantasy storylines
that you wished that you had had a chance to explore, but just never
could quite get them together?
Well, you know this season we hit a few
of them. For example, the Belsnickel episode ["Dwight's Christmas"] for Christmas was
something that we had had on the board for years. [It] actually had
been written with whole scripts: one during the year of the writer
strike. That was going to be our Christmas episode that year. And
another year and it got changed. That was one that we really wanted
to hit from the writing perspective. That is a little bit of
nostalgic, sad aspect, you still are coming up with ideas for the
show and you’re like, “Well, the sets have been torn down and the
actors don’t work here, and we don’t have any crew.” (laughs)
John Krasinski: Is the set down already, Greg?
The set, yeah. It’s sad, man. It’s just
They’re painting everything to look back
the way it was before. You don’t want to see it.
John Krasinski: Oh, God.
Yeah, but all the future ideas will be
in the fan fiction comic books that I’m going to be doing.
us Let us know what you