Press call with Ed Helms and Paul Lieberstein

Thanks to The Office’s Ed Helms and Paul Lieberstein, who held a press conference call on September 27, 2011.

Ed and Paul discuss Ed’s new role as manager, upcoming storylines, the Scranton Strangler, and even the status of the documentary that has been filming for seven-plus seasons!

Here’s an optimized transcript of the call. Enjoy!

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to The Office Press and Media conference call. During the presentation all participants will be in listen-only mode. To register for a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone.

Moderator: Hi everybody. Thanks for joining us. We’re thrilled to have our new Officer Manager Ed Helms joining us as well as our EP Paul Lieberstein. If you have questions, again please dial 1 4. And we can begin the conference. Thank you guys for joining us.

Reporter 1: Lots of time you play kind of regular guys who eventually triumph and clearly Andy’s done that now. I mean he struggled so much and all of a sudden he’s finally become the manager there. Do you see yourself as that sometimes?

Ed: You know, I think that in some respect yeah, I think I’m a pretty normal guy but I do work very hard. And I’ve been focused on a lot of goals over time. And – but I think that the characters that I play are just sort of a heightened version of myself. I relate to Andy. I’m not sure it’s about a regular guy triumphing as much as it is sort of – Andy Bernard is in a lot of ways an opportunity for me to exercise some of my own demons of insecurity and social awkwardness. So he is a heightened version of those aspects that I think I have and that most of us have to some extent.

Reporter 1: His obsession with reminding us that he went to Cornell all the time, I mean you went to a good school which is Oberlin and that’s a good college. Where did the Cornell obsession come from? And do you have this sometimes when you talk about Oberlin?

Ed: Well, you know, it’s funny. I think that that Cornell joke came out of a sort of – we have a handful of Harvard writers on our writing staff. And I’m a little out of the loop on that to be honest. But I think there’s some Ivy League rivalry and Cornell is sort of a punching bag in the Ivy League sometimes. So it’s just a fun – it’s something that Andy clings to. It gives him a sense of identity.

Reporter 1: Does that get some respect in your crowd or do the Harvard people look down at you?

Ed: Harvard people look down on everyone, right.

Ed: I’m certainly proud of my alma mater but I don’t wear it on my sleeve the way Andy does. I think for Andy it’s really about insecurity more than anything else.

Reporter 2: I interested in learning more about the decision to promote from within. And I’m interested if there were considerations given to various outside stars to come in and take over The Office and that kind of thing. But eventually they settled on Andy Bernard. Do you have anything you can tell us about how that worked out that way?

Ed: Allow me to channel Paul Lieberstein for a second: Ed Helms is just an unbridled genius and it was important to us to capitalize on that, so. So I trust you will not quote me directly on that.

13 comments

  1. Interesting quote from Paul regarding the nature of the documentary! “…that’ll be a very fun reveal. It might not be about what you think.”
    Hopefully they won’t be revealing that anytime soon since he implies it’ll be towards the end of the series.

  2. You were able to travel into the future for an interview on October 27th? Your reporter skills are impressive! :)

    [from tanster: oops! now fixed, thanks!]

  3. Having Paul and Ed talking about the inevitable finale of the series, that makes me kinda sad. At least I am relieved they know the ending they are working towards and seem to have it planned out, which is something that cannot be said about other shows.

  4. Wow, I never ever thought I’d see Capturing the Friedmans referenced alongside The Office.

    That [unintelligible] couldn’t have come at a worse possible moment in the transcript… ;)

  5. Sounds like the show is going to come to an end soon. Perhaps 9 seasons at most. However, thanks for the interview!

  6. This was a good read. And yes, having Paul and Ed talk about the ending makes me really sad. I know it has to come to an end some time especially having a 8 season run so far, but I really do wish it can go longer than 9 seasons. I’m hoping for 10, if that’s not too much to ask for.

  7. I was a bit surprised that Paul seemed very unsure that Steve would ever make a return. I was under the impression that there might be a few cameos at least. I’m all for the show not living in the past but I would have loved to see something like.

  8. @#7 Paul is unsure because it’s entirely up to Steve. And these are Steve’s most recent comments on the subject:

    “I don’t think Michael Scott should come back at all,” he said. “I just think it’s better if he just moves along. I think the show should become whatever it’s going to become without people traipsing back in.”

  9. I really can’t think of any valid reason to bring Michael back, even for a cameo. I mean, maybe they can have him Skype with Dwight or something one episode but Michael’s story in Scranton is over. That’s not to say that the series finale shouldn’t acknowledge him–and certainly, the producers should and will extend the invitation to Steve for that–but there’s really no situation that wouldn’t come across as obviously contrived for a sitcom.

    If they ever do have him make another appearance though, I sincerely hope the producers and cast make every effort to keep it a surprise until the episode airs. No hints on Twitter like “So excited to shoot with today’s ‘guest star’!!” or promos heralding the return of Michael Scott. Keep it organic so it doesn’t lead to an overblown, overhyped bit like Ricky Gervais last year.

  10. Paul was vague on Michael’s return because there is clearly some long term planning in the works. If The Office were to go off air without the Michael/Holly wedding it would be nothing short of a travesty! Steve understands that. He’s just not going to start prematurely discussing anything of that nature in the media.

    As far as the number of seasons goes, I was convinced this year would be the last but not sure as the ratings aren’t diving so we might get a 9th.

  11. There’s no chance of a Michael/Holly wedding. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that, if it happens, I’ll run naked through the parking lot with a doughnut on my ding dong.

  12. @Kyle – What, no ass tattoo?!?!

    But I agree completely. I’d be stunned if Steve ever made a cameo in a future episode, even the series finale. All indications are that he’s done with the show and they’re done with him. Everyone is taking the high road, and saying the right things, because that’s good for business.

  13. I liked the explanation Paul gave about why they chose Andy to be manager. I’m glad someone asked about the Scranton Strangler. I thought that storyline would have continued by now especially after what Toby said at the Dundies. Paul’s answer was confusing. Toby is going to visit the Scranton Strangler in jail? I’m excited to see what the documentary is going to be about at the end! I’ve been wondering what Toby’s purpose is now that Michael is gone. I really loved their relationship. I’m so happy someone asked if there would be a Michael and Holly wedding! I really hope we see them get married. I know I’m not the only fan whose been waiting to see Michael’s wedding day. If we can’t see their wedding, I at least hope they can both make an appearance and just update everyone on what they have been up to. I know Steve has already said he feels like Michael shouldn’t come back, but I hope he changes his mind when it comes time for the series finale if not sooner!

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