Office scene-stealer Phyllis Smith

Backstage.com has a wonderful interview with Phyllis Smith:

In 2004 the company was testing the series regulars for The Office when Smith heard Kwapis say he wanted her to read one of the characters. “I didn’t really think anything about it; I just thought I was being a reader,” she recalls. “I was just hoping I did a good job for the actors.” Over the next few days, Smith heard from other actors in the running that Kwapis wanted her in the show.

“Then when we took people to network, we were walking down the stairs at NBC, and Ken turned to [current NBC co-chairman, then head of production company Reveille] Ben Silverman and said, ‘I want Phyllis in the show. I have a whole backstory for her,’ ” she recalls. “But I’ve been in this business long enough to know that until it’s in writing, I shouldn’t get my hopes up.”

Link: ‘Office’ Space (you’ll need to scroll down the page a bit)

17 comments

  1. phyllis is such an underappreciated talent on the show. i don’t think she has ever made a false step with her comic timing or delivery. she might be the only actor on the show who has never failed to make me laugh.

  2. That was such a great article…this show continues to amaze me on how well it treats its actors!

  3. Phyllis is such a nice lady, on and off the screen.

    This just made me think about how one of things I love about this show is that it doesn’t just have two or three main characters that get all the laughs and all the storylines. It is kept alot more interesting by giving attetion to all the employees and their quirks. The show wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t have Phyllis, or Stanley, or Oscar.

  4. Great interview! She’s certainly had an interesting career (or several careers, I guess).

  5. “Are you callin’ me a ho?”

    Ahhh… Phyllis’s crush on Jim. :) I love Phyllis! She’s one of my favorite of the background characters, probably cuz she’s most like me.

  6. I love Phyllis too…all the extra characters on the show are what make it so interesting and realistic….I like that Stanley has been getting more lines too–he’s hilarious!!

  7. I loved that she volunteered for Flonkerton. She’s such a lovely, unexpected character. And it seems that her real personality is just as lovely. I love that she’s so secure in herself.

  8. Great article! I love when the “backround” characters get some love. Phyllis is so damn funny and talented. I just adore her! Scranton wouldn’t be the same without Phyllis and Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration.

  9. Phyllis has always been one of my favorite characters. She is hysterical. I laugh so hard every time I see her dancing, in the background, during “The temp started the fire”. Anyone who looks like Mother Goose has to be dawesome!

  10. Yay! I love Phyllis. Great article – she’s had such an interesting life! I wish I could see a picture of her back in her burlesque/vaudeville days.

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