Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager Q&A

Diane: Is that really Michael Schur screaming into the phone in the cold open? His name appears in the closing credits.

Rainn: Yes. The great Mike Schur, co-creator and show runner of Parks and Recreation, voiced Mose. He is only available to shoot one to two mornings a week from 7-9 am. That’s why we’ve seen so little of Mose these last couple years.

He’s a silly, silly man and I love him. As does his wife.

Mike: Classic Rainn. No respect for the craft of acting. The reason I don’t play Mose more often is not that I am running another TV show, which admittedly requires nearly all of my available time, attention, and energy.

The reason is that playing Mose Schrute — quasi-Amish, beet-farming, wool-clothes-wearing, trampoline-loving, cloistered simpleton Mose Schrute — is an artistic challenge that exhausts me. After just one minute of inhabiting Mose, it takes me weeks to recover.

Mentally drained and spiritually bereft, I travel to a retreat high in the Rocky Mountains, where in the 1800’s doctors would send women suffering from consumption. There I stare blankly at a wall for seven days, unable to move, eating only fibrous nuts and berries that are picked for me by my Polish assistant, Piotr, as well as several local farmers, and Mindy Kaling, who comes along because of all the great shopping in nearby Aspen.

Only after several months am I able to return to society, and it’s only a matter of days until the phone rings, and, terrified but simultaneously thrilled, I hear Paul Lieberstein say: “We need you. Episode 14. Mose gets his testicles caught in an outhouse door.” And off I go, living every actor’s dream…and nightmare.

Also, watch the hour-long season finale of Parks and Recreation, tonight from 10-11 after The Office!

StephP: How many takes did it take to get through trying to lead the conference room meeting like Michael would have?

Rainn: A lot of takes. There was a great series of lines at the end of the scene where I said stuff to the effect of “I love you but don’t cross me, you guys are my best friends but I will burn this place to the ground, etc…”

This series was hard for me to get the tone and timing down. I did a ton of takes of that last section and I still don’t really think I nailed it as funny as it was written.

Justin: That was an incredibly difficult monologue to get through, because Dwight is supposed to keep switching 180 degrees, between flattery to threatening and back again, with nothing external to prompt those shifts in tactics.

Rainn’s being modest –- he did it perfectly. It was one of the many great moments we had to cut down for time in the end.