Greg Daniels and Rainn Wilson conference call

Question: How did the strike affect any of the larger story arcs for the season?

Greg: Well, you know, we had some stuff that we were planning for the end of the year and we didn’t end up having enough time to do what we had planned. But we came up with some other alternatives — things which we really like a lot and it’s probably good that way for the creative process.

So I mean, you know, there — we didn’t have a lot of stuff that we scrapped because we only had the one episode, you know, ready to be shot and that’s the one we came back with where they’re, you know, invited out to the dinner party. And …

Rainn: I heard there were plans for a Christmas episode …

Greg: You know what, we did? We had a whole Christmas episode …

Rainn: … Christmas episode and different.

Greg: No, that’s true. It wasn’t 100% finished, the script. But we’re going — you know, we’ll cannibalize it and use pieces of it, and stuff.

Question: You talked a little bit about the three camera sitcom formulas and Rainn talked a little bit about how Dwight is not just kind of the standard foil that you — you know, the wacky neighbor that you see on a lot of sitcoms.

Greg, could you just talk about — it seems to me the natural tendency where you have some sort of breakout characters, a lot of shows tend to like gravitate towards where that sort of attention is going very much.

You know, it — the public reaction sort of shapes how the stories get played out. But it seems like these guys …

Greg: Well the problem is that we started off, you know, with Phyllis just being one of the salespeople and we’ve kind of peaked too early by marrying her off to Bob Vance. And so it’s hard to capitalize on the breakout. But who are you talking about? Which character?

Question: No, I was just kind of talking generally as you seem to be very — actually very generous with all of those characters. I was going to say that you hadn’t really fallen into that trap. I mean, that’s something else that happens in the typical sitcom.

Greg: Oh yeah. No, I understand what you’re saying. Yeah, no. Well that’s part of trying to, you know, kind of keep people off balance. You know what I mean? It’s like you, you know, obviously it’s — Dwight is super funny and people love Dwight.

And they buy Dwight dolls and stuff like that. But if it just became the Dwight Show, you know…

Rainn: There would be nothing wrong with that.

Greg: But yes, I think that’s a complete quote there.

Greg: As long as you know that the speaker shifted in the middle of the sentence.

Question:Are there any plans or at least any intention to have the characters see the documentary that’s been filming in their office for the last three years and what kind of reactions you think that would have?

Greg: I think — I mean, it’s great. We have talked about it. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I definitely love it as a big, kind of game-changing story move. But, you know, hopefully when we do press that nuclear button, you know, it’ll be prepared for and everybody will be — you know, people will think it’s worth it.

Rainn: I think it’s hard. Once they see the documentary — I’m just speculating here because I know nothing about those conversations. But I think once they see the documentary and you kind of deal with the fallout of that, I don’t know how much longer you can then continue storylines, you know, with all the characters kind of living in the — being in the public eye and stuff like that.

Greg: Well there’s certain things that we have, like in our back pockets and I feel like if we ever got to a place where we were discussing storylines and we just had nothing, you know, then we would say all right, time to scramble the world and see what comes out of that. You know, time to shake the Boggle set.

Question: So, Dwight, your former lady love — Angela — is now pregnant and very much showing. A question for both of you and more so, probably for Greg. How are we going to deal with that when the show returns?

Is that something that is going to be written into the show? And could that possibly be a little Schrute or maybe an Andy Bernard?

Greg: Well it’s possibly in real life a little Schrute or Andy Bernard. I’m not sure. But the actual — the character of Angela is different from the, you know, the human being Angela, even though they have the same name.

But I think it’s confusing on our show because there’s a lot of people with the same name. You know, Oscar is an actor and then there’s also Oscar the person. And of course, the real confusing part is that Creed is the person. There is only Creed. He’s not aware he’s in a show.

Rainn: There is no separation between Creed the person and Creed the actor.

Greg: No, not at all.

Rainn: And Creed the character — whatsoever. Angela is like — it’s like a little person swallowed a watermelon. And everything about her looks exactly the same except she has this enormous tummy.

And I think all of her scenes from here on out are going to be staged with her behind the copy machine.

Greg: I think it’s going to be a nice drinking game for people to see if they can see the belly.

27 comments

  1. I like the idea of them showing the documentary to the characters. Well, not now, but end of Season 5 maybe? Shake things up a bit. Put them all in the public eye, see how they all really see each other, etc. I think it would be an interesting change of pace!

  2. This is great! Exactly what I needed to tide me over until April 10th. Also, I can’t wait to see John host that mini marathon on the 3rd.

  3. That was awesome. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to see how the destruction of DMI plays out!!

  4. Good stuff. I can’t wait to find out what contrivance Michael used to get Pam and Jim to come to dinner.

  5. I think it’d be great if on the last episode they all sat down to watch the documentary and it started to show like the first 20 seconds on the first episode and there was this “low battery” light blinking on the bottom of the screen…then it just goes black with the words “no battery power” or something….

  6. Great read! I loved Rainn saying that George Clooney was in The Rocker. Sounds like John got quite the ribbing about his ~fancy~ movie role.

  7. Loved this! I also think showing the documentary should happen in one of the ending episodes of the series. It needs to happen, but it will definitely signal an end to the show. I can’t wait to see how Greg does it (but hopefully it’s not for a while!)

  8. My dwight bobblehead broke :( I just have a Dwight head sitting creepily next to my printer now

  9. Worth the read! Thanks Tanster! Loved Rainn’s line about the bobbleheads being found years from now. Can’t wait to see what twist and turns are ahead!

    And great questions about whether they changed the story lines to fit the shortened season – it’s great to know they’ve taken bits of other story lines and incorporated them into this season…like we’re not going to miss out on any great stories because of the strike!

  10. Mesmerizing.
    But who is “Question”?
    Tanster?

    [from tanster: “Question” is various members of the press.]

  11. That was a great time lunch time killer! Thanks for posting Tanster! I can’t wait to see Michael and Dwight hanging out with Ryan in New York.

  12. Wow – that was the most enthralling thing I’ve read in quite a while. Thanks so much for posting!

    Side note: Greg Daniels used the phrase “in like Flynn.” For some weird reason, that majorly cracked me up.

  13. That was great!!!!! By the way Greg said “you know” like a million times. Still Awesome!!!!!!!

  14. Hilarious reading – thanks Tanster!

    I love hearing these two be so candid with their responses. Rarely do we get a window into people’s souls… But I’m glad to say that Rainn and Greg’s souls are awesome. The entire interview was well done with wonderful questions that true fans will love! Thanks so much for posting!

  15. I can’t say how much I appreciate you bringing the insider info to us. I love hearing/reading about the passion and creativity of the writers and performers on this show. It’s so much fun, and better yet, totally justifies the time I spend laughing and re-laughing over this show! Thank you!

  16. Thanks for posting it, tanster. I have to say that personally I am a bit bummed that they keep fleshing out the Dwight character in far more detail than they do Jim Halpert.

  17. #14… I feel your pain. My bobblehead’s cappa was detaited too. He’s got a permanent neck brace of blue tape right now.

    Also my favorite moments in this was the hatch under Dwight’s desk and Spot the Fetus.

    Oh and the idea that somewhere out there someone is now planning on putting Dwight into a time capsule.

  18. Wow great stuff here! Greg stating they will be playing with time this season, the idea of the characters seeing the documentary, John Krasinski and friends shooting the Scranton footage in the opening, and the Pet Day script! I think that it would be awsome if the characters saw the documentary and were in the public eye at the beginning of the final season, there are some really golden ideas behind that concept. I think eventually the idea will be put to use, but probably not for awhile.

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