A.A.R.M. Q&A with David Rogers

The second reason why I moved it into the warehouse, was that it seemed more organic for them to spot Darryl in there as opposed to in the alley next to the building.

tanster: One of my favorite shots was of Dwight and Jim looking out into the office through the blinds, the way Michael and Dwight used to do. You mentioned that was an intentional homage to “Gay Witch Hunt.” What other scenes paid tribute to past Office episodes?

David: I did shoot from the same side of the room as Jim’s farewell to Michael, which was behind Dwight’s left shoulder and John’s right, but the scene wasn’t meant to look the same beyond shooting from that angle. However, when Jim and Dwight look out into the bullpen at their fellow workers, deciding to start the A.A.R.M. challenge, I did intentionally block the actors and recreate the same shots from “Gay Witch Hunt” when Michael and Dwight looked out into the bullpen to try to determine if anybody was gay.

I also really liked in The Delivery when you see the cop drive along side Dwight from through his car windows and I wanted a similar shot to be the reveal for him pulling over Angela.

Ginger: As the director, how much control did you let the actors/actresses have in this episode, knowing that the series is coming to a close?

David: I tackled this the same as every other episode I’ve directed, which is that I always give it my all, it’s the most important thing I do, and I prepare, prepare, prepare to be as ready as I can for anything that comes up. But because this was such a milestone of an episode and the plot points were so huge, I could not help but be aware of the stakes and the pressure to hit not only a home run, but a grand slam.

The script was dynamite to begin with — it was an incredible table read — so then it just becomes about the best way to execute the vision and the most creative, fun ways to make the episode as great as it can be.

We always will shoot and perform the “as-scripted” scenes and then we have the freedom to try different things and different jokes. The cast has such chemistry and improvisational skills, that one actor can go off script and another will immediately adapt and go off with them in the same direction.

And if they’re onto something, if it’s working, then they’ll refine and sharpen it for the next take. Everybody contributes, the actors have insight and great ideas and they’ll listen to the Director, the Writer, and themselves to make the best scenes possible.

Jammer: Loved the Dwight painting, and the Mose and Dwight painting. Who painted them, and will NBC sell poster copies of them?

David: We have a terrific artist we work with named Jules Kmetzko. She has done other work for us throughout the series, including Pam’s watercolor of the Dunder Mifflin building that hangs on the wall in the bullpen.

GKCfan: How did you select which three celebrities would be the judges on the talent show?

David: We reached out to a small group of celebrities that we thought would be good and Clay Aiken and Santigold were game. Brian Baumgartner asked his buddy Aaron Rodgers if he was interested, and the rest is history!

When I heard Mark McGrath was available to play the host who gives Andy and the people on line the rundown, I was ecstatic! They were all fantastic to work with and really hit it out of the park! I had no idea how cool or tall Clay Aiken is until I got to meet him and film his scene!

33 comments

  1. Wow! Great Q&A! Thanks to David for taking the time to carefully answer so many questions, and thanks to Tanster for asking all of them!

  2. I love that John wrote a special note to Jenna!! I am so going to miss Jim and Pam!!

  3. John writing a special message in the card without Jenna knowing is a total Jim move….It’s like they really are a unit. I always thought they had a great chemistry together.

  4. Okay, and I’m a mess now after reading about John writing the note to Jenna that made her react like that! Absolutely the best Q & A ever – can we get a special edition box set of all 9 seasons with Dave doing audio commentary for every episode?!

    [ from tanster: i second that! ]

  5. Thank you, David, for answering these questions! So cool to know that you were “the voice”.

    John and Jenna are so freaking awesome. JAM has always reminded my husband and I of our relationship, he says I’m his Pam, but John and Jenna’s friendship is what makes their characters so…magical.

  6. Give it up for Stanley the Manly! LDB is the man for sitting through all the talking heads.

  7. The best Q&A ever! This was fascinating, fun to read and informative. I love how much care and thought and detail are put into these amazing episodes. I’m going to miss this show and all the talented people who work on it. Thank you David Rogers and Office Tally!

  8. Wow, that was amazing! Thank you, Dave Rogers. Incredible insight into the episode and how sweet was it that JK wrote a special note to JF in the card.

  9. Amazing Q&A. It really makes the episode that much better (and it was close to perfect to begin with).

  10. Wow, only John and Jenna know what’s in the card, that’s amazing!! It makes the scene even more potent.

  11. My unanswered question has always been… who is the father of Jan’s baby? It always seemed to me that she had some extra knowledge when she told people she went to the sperm bank. My theory is that Astrid is really Hunter’s, OR… Jan picked out Kevin from the sperm bank donor book.

  12. The information about the card made me happy. It’s like the hug and the “Thank you” was not only between Jim and Pam, but a genuine moment between John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, which just makes it awesome.

  13. The one unanswered question I still have and don’t really expect to be resolved is whether Kevin is really the biological father of Astrid…

  14. Jan got an anonymous donation from a donor bank. The only way to know if Kevin was the father would be to do a genetic test with him….but why would Jan ever do that?! It wouldn’t make any sense to reveal a father.

  15. Thank you so much for the awesome insight, David! And thanks for the organization of this Q and A, Tanster! You’re both so great. And as always, even more obsessed with JAM after reading about this private card. Can they get any more perfect?!

  16. Wow, just wow. I read this right after seeing the video “The Faces of Jim.” I miss them already!

  17. I’m still confused about the Beesly/Beesley thing. Didn’t Jim’s video say Beesley?

  18. Wow. Great Q&A! Thanks so much for answering my question. I actually forgot that Dwight had used a dirty diaper for the DNA test. I’m also glad that the content of the card won’t be revealed…it’s much better that way.

  19. What will we do now? Now that the Office is officially over? Will the characters watch themselves now?

  20. the only unanswered question – why did Michael hate Toby so much? Greg Daniels mentioned he might do a backstory on that but never did…I would love to know!

  21. I wonder if that means that LDB technically has the most screen time of any actor on the show. I hope that reflects in his syndication royalties! :)

  22. Thank you David, it was a very informative and moving Q&A. Glad you contributed to the show.

    @ash
    Some things, like the card from Jim to Pam, are better left unexplained. And I’m glad they never addressed that.
    The common guess for Toby is that, Toby being HR, he didn’t answer to Michael Scott, wasn’t compelled to take part in his charades and may have transmitted over the years reports and complaints to the headquarters, as he was supposed to do.
    Anyway, Dwight did fire Toby in the finale, something Michael could never do. Either David Wallace changed the rules, or he approved first Dwight’s request for undisclosed reasons (Toby not reporting that Andy was missing?)
    And it still made it more effective that Michael’s hatred for Toby is so irrational. If there had been a concrete reason for it, we would have linked Michael’s behavior with the original incident. Without explanation, it was even more childish and effective.

  23. Great Q&A, thanks for this!

    Question though: from which episode is the deleted scene Tyson refers to in his question – with Jim talking about his best first date with Pam?

  24. I thought the misspellings of Pam’s last name were addressed in a commentary from one of the Niagara episodes. They said that at the rehearsal dinner, on the sign outside of the door, beesley was spelled wrong on purpose.listen to commentary though

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