Guest and Intermittent Stars from “The Office”
We get to know the regular cast of "The Office" (US) quite well, but the show has had several interesting guest stars or occasionally-appearing characters who help make the show what it is. Here are a few questions about them.
In 2005, a group of Americans tasked themselves with adapting Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s beloved British series The Office for U.S. audiences. They rose to the high expectations and managed to create a super-successful comedy that debuted on March 24, 2005, ran for nine seasons, and is still being binge-watched today.
Here are 35 things you might not have known about the workplace sitcom.
1. B.J. NOVAK WAS THE FIRST PERSON CAST.
The show’s producer, Greg Daniels, was inspired by his time on Saturday Night Live and wanted to hire a writer-performer. Other writer-performers who were later added include Mindy Kaling (Kelly) and Paul Lieberstein (Toby). Michael Schur, who wrote and produced the show, played Dwight’s cousin, Mose.
2. THE CAST COULD HAVE BEEN WAY DIFFERENT.
For instance, Adam Scott auditioned for the part of Jim Halpert. Seth Rogen was in the running to play Dwight Schrute. Eric Stonestreet, who is now on Modern Family, auditioned for Kevin. Before getting cast as Angela, Angela Kinsey auditioned for Pam. Bob Odenkirk was originally cast as Michael Scott but was replaced by Steve Carell when the show he’d been working on, Come to Papa, was canceled. In a late-season episode, Odenkirk played a very Michael Scott-like manager looking to hire Pam.
3. JOHN KRASINSKI HAD A ROUGH AUDITION.
One reason Adam Scott could have easily played Jim: John Krasinski’s audition for The Office didn’t go too well. First of all, he was supposed to audition for Dwight, but he convinced the casting directors to let him read for the part of Jim. Secondly, he got into some trouble in the waiting room. A man eating salad in the room asked him if he was nervous. Krasinski answered, “You know, not really. You either get these things or you don’t. But what I’m really nervous about is this show. It’s just I love the British show so much and Americans have a tendency to just really screw these opportunities up. I just don’t know how I’ll live with myself if they screw this show up and ruin it for me.” The man responded, “My name’s Greg Daniels, I’m the executive producer.” Still, Krasinski managed to get the part.
4. AFTER HE GOT THE PART, JOHN KRASINSKI INTERVIEWED PAPER COMPANY EMPLOYEES FOR RESEARCH.
Krasinski met with several employees at different paper companies to research his role, and he filmed a visit he took through Scranton, Pennsylvania. The footage of his trip through the city was actually used in the show’s opening credits sequence and, according to Rainn Wilson’s memoir, The Bassoon King: Art, Idiocy, and Other Sordid Tales from the Band Room, would go on to play a role in helping production with set decoration and design details.
5. PHYLLIS SMITH GOT CAST BY CASTING PEOPLE.
Phyllis was a casting agent for the show before she got the part of Phyllis. She was reading the script with some auditioning actors when director Ken Kwapis decided that shewas the one who should play the role.
6. EVERYBODY NEEDED TO IMPROVISE.
Even if they weren’t writers, Daniels wanted to make sure his actors had a background in improvisation. He has said, “Improv is a good tool to make it seem more natural.”
7. THEY INITIALLY STAYED CLOSE TO THE BRITISH VERSION.
The pilot was shot with essentially the same script as the pilot from the British show. Many viewers questioned this decision, but it had to be done considering NBC bought an adaptation. Daniels believes that the show really branched out into its own entity in the second season.
8. NO ONE WAS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE SHOW.
It was hard for the cast and crew to have faith early on. During the first season, NBC executives would bring a lot of pessimism to the set. According to Krasinski, they would say things like, “This episode is so good—unfortunately, it’s the last one we’re going to do.”
9. THEY OWE THEIR SUCCESS TO APPLE.
One thing that helped save the show was iTunes. Around the second season, when NBC made the show available on the platform, it took up four of the top five slots for downloaded television shows. That’s when the people behind the show learned that their audience skewed young, rather than the white-collar workers they thought would be watching.about:blankhttps://54755f72d48f697dfe039b5949d9f374.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
10. THE CAST PICKED THE OPENING THEME SONG.
When it came to the show’s opening theme music, series creator Greg Daniels gave the cast four versions of the song and let them vote on the winner. The now-iconic song came from a demo by composer Jay Ferguson, which was then re-recorded by musician Bob Thiele Jr. and a group later dubbed The Scrantones, who made an appearance on the episode “The Booze Cruise.”