Paul Lieberstein/Amy Ryan conference call

I had the pleasure of participating in a conference call with The Office’s Paul Lieberstein and Amy Ryan this morning, along with bunches of press people. We all got a turn in asking Paul and Amy questions, mainly about Season 5.

Here are my rough notes from the call.

  • Regarding the relationship between Holly and Michael, Amy says “there’s a lid for every pot, or as I like to say, a lid for every crackpot.”
  • Amy is back home in New York, and has already finished shooting the initial agreement of six episodes. There are no plans for any additional eps, but Amy says “never say never.”
  • Does Holly get to interact with everybody at the office, and not just Michael and Kevin? Amy says she completely moves into Toby’s desk. Holly gets to interact with everybody in the office.
  • What brings Toby back? Paul replies, “a failure to escape.” Paul had a friend who actually saved up enough money to “live poor” on the beaches of Hawaii, had a big going away party, and then came home two weeks later. He was lonely, was robbed on the beach, “and this was our model.”
  • Paul finds it hard to watch other comedies. He says it’s like looking at code in ‘The Matrix.’
  • When asked if Toby can find happiness, Paul laughed, “I don’t know if happiness is in Toby’s future.”
  • Does the hazing of Holly continue? Paul says the hazing stops.
  • Paul characterizes Holly as a “junior Michael.”
  • Paul says he will probably be directing a couple of episodes this season.
  • Paul says “We miss Mike [Schur] a lot.” They see him when he gets hungry and has to come over for snacks.
  • Does Holly figure out that Kevin isn’t “special”? Amy says “yeah, she finds out the hard way.”
  • I asked Paul about Stephen Merchant, who is directing the episode in production this week — a Halloween episode! Paul said it was really exciting having Stephen there; he kept them honest in preserving the integrity of the documentary format. “He’d call us out every once in awhile, when we seem to go a little too far, or a little too personal. When we shoot a scene in the bathroom, he’s like ‘really?’ He’s extremely funny, and it’s been great working with him. There will be some great new Halloween costumes to look forward to!” (Jenna Fischer also talks about the Halloween episode in her latest MySpace blog.)
  • Jason Reitman (he directed last season’s ‘Local Ad’) will be back to direct another episode this season.
  • Amy talks about bloopers. She said at one point, she laughed so hard she started to cry. Makeup had to be reapplied. Paul laughed, “I didn’t know that.”
  • NBC interjects at one point to confirm, yes, there will be cast bobbleheads.
  • Paul says it breaks his heart when some of the most priceless scenes (such as Creed jamming with the band in ‘Booze Cruise’) never make it to air.
  • Is Toby a threat to JAM? Paul quips “Toby is less of a threat than the price of gas.”
  • Paul almost never writes lines for Toby.
  • Is there sometimes a concern that the writing focuses too much on relationships and not enough on funny stories? The writers talk about it a lot. No episode is ever just about a relationship. There is always something else going on, a robbery, ethics training, etc. Paul says “The relationships are always the B story.”
  • What happens with Ryan? “He’ll spring back up in a way that’s typical of people who can spin anything.” Hmmm, what could that mean …
  • Do Angela and Andy actually make it to the altar? Paul says “There will be altar of sorts. But not in the way you’re thinking. There’s a lot of fun coming up in their relationship.”
  • What about Jan’s baby? Paul says “You will see a baby shower that the office throws for her. There is some talk about who the father might be.”
  • The last question of the call was for Paul: “You mentioned earlier a robbery and ethics training. Are these coming up this season?” Paul: Yes.

Watch With Kristin was also in on the call: here is their report.

54 comments

  1. I can not wait to see how the robbery plot plays out. I know for sure he’ll look at Darryl or think it was hazing from another branch. Sounds promising!

    Thanks for the inside scoop, Tanster!

  2. Is it possible to ‘hang on every word’ when it’s written? If so, that’s what I was doing. Thanks for that Tanster, great question too (bet most of the press people didn’t even know about Stephen Merchant directing – you show ’em!)

  3. I gasped when I read that there was going to be a Halloween episode. I cannot wait to see the costumes. But what can beat 3 Hole Punch Jim? We shall see.

  4. oh Jhony, that is true! dwight will probably form another task force! i am excited about that, the halloween episode (of course), this mysterious “spinning” of his situation that ryan is going to do and what this altar of sorts is. my guess: angela tries to make andy convert to her religion or something. after getting married through the catholic church myself i would love to see the office parody all the classes and paperwork and hoops you have to jump through in order to do that!

  5. What great nuggets of information! I’m really excited about this upcoming season, the Halloween episode especially.

  6. How exciting! After reading this, I’m even more stoked for Season 5 than I previously was, and I didn’t realize that was possible! Thanks so much for getting the scoop for us, tanster – as always!

  7. Thanks so much, Tanster! And does cast bobbleheads mean a Kevin bobblehead may possible be made? I’m first in line for the talking Stanley one!

  8. So does the comment about Toby being “less of a threat than the price of gas” mean he IS a threat? Also I would love to see Ryan get demoted back to his old job. Probably not likely though.

  9. I go to a school that costs too much, drive a car that makes too much noise, talk through a phone that has too much static, and spend way too much time doing homework. But when Office scoop comes up…Well, I like Office scoop, and this is about as juicy as it gets.

  10. the three things that most excited me about these notes:

    1) the Halloween episode! woohoo!
    2) cast bobbleheads! I want a BobbleJim.
    3) the robbery paul mentioned. what if Toby’s the thief? That would be…highly unlikely…but awesome.

  11. “There will be an altar of sorts, but not in the way that you’re thinking.”

    …So I’m gonna go with human sacrifice.

    [from tanster: lol! funniest comment of today!]

  12. I hope that if and when they bring Toby back, they settle his character down a bit. In my opinion he did a total 360 in Season 4 from being the kind of laid back anti-Michael, to being rude and pervy. I used to love watching Toby’s character and by the end of the season I was glad to see him go, which was strange. Maybe his mishaps in Costa Rica will set him right again.

  13. Toby’s return makes it sounds like he’s coming back from Costa Rica after hitting rock bottom….

    … But I was under the impression that he had already hit rock bottom while working at Dunder-Mifflin. I guess there is no such thing as rock bottom. There’s always a crack where you can fall a couple more feet down. Lol, poor guy.

  14. I agree about Toby and Ryan doing complete 360s. I miss when those two characters were the normal ones, rather than the creep and the douche. Glad to see them both return none-the-less.

    My guess as to the price-of-gas comment: Since Pam and Jim are far apart, it’s expensive for them to see each other because of the price of gas.

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