Jenna Fischer in ‘A Little Help’

jenna-fischer-a-little-help-movieHere’s Hanna’s report and photos from the screening of ‘A Little Help’ at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 21 and 22, 2010.


(I’m paraphrasing some of it since couldn’t remember the exact wordings):

Q: (for Jenna & Daniel) Was it difficult to film those scenes where they had to curse and yell at each other?

A: They were both very cute and funny about this and basically said they felt bad saying such mean things to each other, especially Jenna but both have made up since then. Jenna felt extra bad because she scared Daniel lunging at him at one point. Michael Weithorn jokingly said that that was when they were NOT shooting.

Q: (for Jenna – this was my question) Where did you get the inspiration to portray the character Laura? For Pam, you once mentioned that it was because you used to be a receptionist.

A: She said that it was great question (and maintained eye contact w/ me when answering…*squee*) and got personal and honest with the answer.

She said she drew the inspiration from her first marriage and the subsequent divorce because it was not so different from her character Laura in the sense that she thought she had her life going in one direction, then it didn’t and having to work through that.

In a way, it was cathartic for her (Jenna) to play the Laura role in the movie. She also added that, of course, she was less extreme (or something like that, can’t remember exact word) than Laura.

Q: (for all the cast/crew) How different was it working on a set for a movie and working on a set for TV shows?

A: Jenna was funny with her answer, saying “Yeah…I got this question.” She basically said that working on a regular budget movie, you only had to shoot something like 2 pages of script each day, have your own trailer and watched more TV than actually worked (everyone laughed at this part). And working on TO was also easier because the hardest part was memorizing her lines, knowing where to go at certain times and watch for certain comedic cues.

Working on “A Little Help” was different in that they had to actually shoot six pages of script per day and worked like 18 hours per day. Also, no personal trailer or TV. Lol….

Director Michael Weithorn said that the first couple of days shooting the movie, he went more a more comedic mood because that was what he was used to working on “The King of Queens” but realized that it wasn’t what he wanted. Also, the fact that it was exciting shooting his first film but it was also a lot more work.

Q: (for Daniel) Were you a fan of Jenna before working with her on this movie and what was it like working with her?

A: Yes, he was a fan of Jenna because of TO and working with her on this movie was great. They got along very well and became friends working on the movie. (Jenna was very sweet toward Daniel in little ways like making sure that he had a chance to talk and had gushed about how professional Daniel was. They were very cute.)

Q: (for Michael) Where did you get the inspiration for the characters (and, if I remember correctly, the story itself) in the movie?

A: He said that he wrote the script for a while and shelved it because the timing wasn’t right due to the fact that he couldn’t find the right person for Laura. Interesting thing about this was he was “talked” into sending Drew Barrymore the script even though he didn’t feel that she was the “Laura” that he had in mind. But he did it anyways because sometimes it was better to have his film made instead of NOT. Drew Barrymore passed on the film.

But when he saw Jenna of Office fame and thought that she would be a possible “Laura”. The two met, talked and realized that Jenna’s version of Laura was the same version that Weithorn had in mind and that was that.

My Jenna autograph story

I asked for her autograph and she asked for my name. She misspelled it and apologized but I didn’t care because hello, Jenna was talking to me! But she insisted on writing it again and wrote this: For Hannah – That’s What She Said. Hah! (This was her misspelling of my name and this way, she said the “Hah!” looks like it’s on purpose. lol).

Jenna Fischer. She is just so great. And after this meeting with Jenna, I can honestly say that she makes it so easy to be a fan of hers (and of TO) because of how wonderful she is to the fans (she kept thanking people for coming out to the theater that night).

Movie Review

I really couldn’t add anything else to Matthew’s wonderful review (which I hope he’ll post on the SIFF website) except to say that I agree with everything he mentioned. Especially the part about Jenna and Rob’s amazing on-screen chemistry. I loved every scene that they were in together and one scene in particular made me held my breath (similar to my reaction when watching certain Jim/Pam scenes).

The chemistry between Jenna and Daniel was just as great. There were also a lot of hilarious moments in the movie (the whole theater laughed A LOT) in addition to the more serious ones.

I truly hope that this find a distributor because it’s just a great movie. My favorite of Jenna’s up-to-date.


Jenna Fischer A Little Help

Jenna Fischer A Little Help

Jenna Fischer A Little Help

[from tanster: thanks so much to Hannah for writing up this report and sending photos!]


  1. OOH i can’t wait to see this! and i didn’t know that lesley ann warren was in it…. that makes it even better!

  2. Do we know when this is coming out? It looks fantastic!

    [from tanster: i looked for a release date, but couldn’t find one. if you guys see it, post a comment with a link. thanks!]

  3. Wow, that looks like it’s going to be a good movie! I’m excited to go see it, does anyone know when it’s coming out in theaters? As I was watching this I kept thinking it was Pam that I was watching as this character has similar hair/makeup as Pam does. Also, I hope that those were fake cigarettes, because that would be awful to have to do that if you didn’t smoke in real life!

    Anyways, looking forwards to this one, it looks like some great acting all around!

  4. wow this looks amazing! Jenna is so talented! She looked Pam-like (similar hair style) but I didn’t feel like I was watching Pam at all, which is the sign of amazing acting!

  5. Wow. Amazing! This looks so good and I’m so glad Jenna decided to do this movie which is so different than anything else she’s done. I’m interested to see her do a drama for a change.

  6. I’m so excited to see this movie! It’s so nice to see Jenna in such different roles.

  7. This movie looks really good! I hope it is shown somewhere here in Omaha!

  8. This looks great. Seems like Jenna really gets the chance to show off her dramatic chops!

    #7 FlonkertonChamp, I was happy to see Lesley Ann Warren too, I love her!

  9. Looks like a pretty good movie. The story seems a bit too stereotypical, but it really looks as though Jenna’s acting is top notch.

  10. Wow! I can’t wait to see this movie! Jenna seems amazing in it! Jenna if you are reading this… I LOVE YOU! I really hope you get a nomination from this! <3<3<3

  11. wow wow wow she is such a versatile actress! i am calling it right now: jenna fischer is gonna get a nomination for some big-time award in the next few years. she is my role model.

  12. I think the reason there’s no set release date is because it’s an indie and at present, there’s no distributor like Sony, Fox, Warner, etc. They ought to get it into the next film festival to find a distributor.

  13. It looks intriguing! It will be interesting to see Jenna in such a non-Pamish role. I love it when my favorite actors get all versatile!

  14. Wow, what a powerful preview. I can’t wait for this to come out. Well done Jenna!

  15. Ohhhh serious Jenna!! This movie looks so good, she is amazing..can’t wait to see it!! :) Yay Jenna!

  16. This looks like Jenna is going to really get to shine. It will be great to see her in a role so different from Pam. I hope my neighborhood is smart enough to play this one.

  17. I can’t wait for this, it looks so good! Jenna is amazing, and I love Rob Benedict (the guy who says he liked her since 7th grade) so double win!!

  18. Jenna Fischer is such a great actress. I think she could be Oscar-nominated in the right role, so it’s nice to see her branching out from comedy.

  19. Jenna looks beautiful. I can’t wait to see her in a drama. Does anyone know the name of the song being played in this trailer?

  20. Dramatic chops? Branching out from comedy? Really? While this film hardly seems like a knee-slapping good time, there is a good deal of subtle and beautifully delivered humor in this clip that’s not too much of a departure from what Jenna does best on The Office, especially recently.

  21. #27 Scottsdale – Yes, really.

    Whilst there is some subtle humour in the trailer, I was referring to the story itself.

    I have not seen Jenna portray a character who has had to deal with the death of her husband, being a single mother and facing financial ruin before.

    Certainly, it’s not ‘Shawshank Redemption’ drama, but I do believe those issues would be considered dramatic.

  22. to number 26: I just researched this for a few minutes, the song is ‘Runaround Sue’, originally by Del Shannon. I believe you were referring to the song with the following lyrics:

    I should have known it from the very start
    This girl would leave me with a broken heart
    Now listen people what I’m telling you
    Keep away from runaround Sue

  23. #29 Claire – You are awesome, thanks. But I was actually curious if anyone knew the name of the song where the guitar riff starts at 0:17. I love the look Jenna’s character gives at 1:46.

  24. @28 Ryan’s Hobbit – Fair enough, I just don’t think that this trailer gives the impression that the film is as pure a drama as some of the comments make it out to be. Sure, Jenna’s character is dealing with the death of her husband, but she’s also cleaning teeth hours before his funeral and hilariously agreeing with her son that 9/11 is “a cooler way to die.”

    Just as The Office has allowed Jenna’s character to deal with true-to-life problems like her parents’ divorce, her company’s bankruptcy, and building a family in the face of a tenuously held job, so too does this film.

    I stand by my point that Jenna’s character in A Little Help doesn’t look to be a super huge departure from Pam.

  25. At best it’s a dramedy. Either way, it’s always cool to see one of your favorite actresses take on a very different role. And smoke! (So weird!)

    Seems like Jenna’s Away We Go.

  26. #30-it says the movie contains original songs by Jakob Dylan, so you could look around and see if anything out on the internet sounds like that song.

  27. Jenna and Chris O’Donnell (who’s had my heart since Circle of Friends) in the same movie? Awesome!!! :)

  28. The guy in the dentist chair looks like James Gunn.

    Looking forward to seeing this!

  29. @32 Jake – Agreed. It’s very cool to see someone with a style you’re so used to take on a different role.

    Except for when DeNiro was in the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie. That sucked.

  30. @36. Scottsdale–Yeah. There’s trying on a new role and then there’s what were you thinking?!

    I thought I once heard Jenna say she’d prefer sticking to fully comedic roles. I’m glad she’s venturing out, even if it’s just a baby step. She has the talent. And I really hope she blogs about this movie and gives us some insider stuff!

  31. Hi Tanster –

    Jenna’s movie, “A Little Help”, is making its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival (link) on May 21st & 22nd. Just thought Jenna/Office fans might want to check out the movie.


  32. Hi gang, I wrote the original score for this film and I can tell you that it’s a REALLY great film. Jenna is absolutely wonderful in it, as is Rob Benedict as her co-lead. It’s really wonderful. A joy and honor to be a part of … but as you point out, currently without distribution. HELP US BUILD BUZZ!! Try and go see it and talk about it, blog, twitter, facebook, etc!!! Grassroots support from folks like you really makes a difference!! :)

  33. @36 and Tanster–
    Thanks for the tips about the movie at SIFF! I just bought my tickets and cannot wait to see the film and Jenna herself!

  34. I’m so excited Jenna’s coming to Seattle! I’ve never heard of a cast member coming here! I need to see if I can go…

  35. I am in the theater now. Thank you to Jennie and the tipsters on this one :)

    [from tanster: woo! report back when it’s done! :) ]

  36. I just left the premiere and I have to say I was greatly impressed.

    I must add that during the Q and A Jenna did a shout-out to the tallyheads in the audience!

    [from tanster: she did?! awesome!]

  37. Just got back from the movie about an hour ago – it was pretty good and I think that Jenna, Rob and Dylan had some great chemistry together. The three of them were all at the premiere and so they did the Q and A after the (world!) premiere. Jenna and Dylan seem to get along really well and have have a good friendship! It was so cool that I was able to see it and at one of my favorite theatres in Seattle – thanks so much for letting us know about it, Jenny! I appreciate it so much. And I just want to finish by saying that Jenna walked right past me (to take a picture with some press people, not me unfortunately…) so I can say I have stood one foot away from Jenna Fischer in real life. How cool is that?

    [from tanster: excellent! i’m always so happy to hear fan reports!]

  38. Sorry I didn’t say this at first, but yeah, she did do a shout out to the audience, it was really sweet and she said that you had left a post here about the premiere. She seemed really appreciative of that and so nice while answering audience questions! Jenna told some nice little anecdotes in her answers and I loved how personal she was!

    [from tanster: awww. jenna is the absolute best.]

  39. Woof!

    Thanks, Tanster, for the tip that Jenna was in Seattle for the movie. It was a really good movie and if people have the chance to see it, PLEASE DO! Like others mentioned, Jenna asked how many Tallyheads were in the audience because you wanted to know, Tanster ;) The Q&A was really great and funny and once I get some sleep, I’ll type up a detailed report with pictures.

    Not a bad night :D

    [from tanster: my first woof, lol. how many tallyheads were in the audience? i’m so glad you guys came back to leave comments! i hope lots of people go today, too! thank you for the tip, hannah. :) ]

  40. Went to the 11am showing at SIFF today. Great film and a fun Q&A session afterward. The actors had to run out pretty quickly but took a few minutes to snap some photos. As others have said before, we all know Jenna is pretty, but she really does glow in person! I hope she does a myspace blog about her visit because I would love to hear about her time in Seattle!

  41. I also went to the 11:00 show and it was fantastic! “A Little Help” is a wonderful film – Jenna gave an amazing performance. There was a great Q&A after the movie during which Jenna answered some questions about her upcoming movie projects and how playing her role in “A Little Help” was different from working on The Office. All the actors were very gracious and funny. They gave great answers to all the questions asked. Unfortunately, I came prepared with my autograph-pen and camera, but like YourBiggestFlan mentioned, the actors were whisked away pretty quickly. Despite not being able to meet Jenna, I was still thrilled to see her in person! Thanks for the tip, Tanster, Next_To_Normal, Hannah, and Matthew!

  42. I also attended the 11 am screening of ‘A Little Help’ this morning. Like others before me have said, it was an excellent film, and Jenna’s performance was wonderful. Tanster, thank you so much for the tip that she was attending! I actually got to meet Jenna outside of the theater, and can easily echo what those before me have said — she is incredibly nice and kind. Thanks again Tanster and other tipsters!

  43. I’ve been waiting for a long time to see this preview and I can’t wait to see the whole movie! One of the scenes with Jenna and Chris (pretty sure it’s a hospital scene) was filmed at a college in NY – just so happens I went to school there and work there so I was able to get a sneak peak of how a movie was made! I even got to meet Jenna and Chris briefly – two very awesome actors and really nice to the fans!

  44. @47 – WOOF hahahahaha god i wish that was real sometimes…. “Ryan you have a woof on line 1”

    secondly – this movie looks amazing. I can’t wait to go. Just from the preview I can say … “and the Golden Globe goes to Jenna Fischer!”

  45. I just attended the Indianapolis premiere of A Little Help at the Indianapolis International Film Festival. It was excellent. Way to go, Jenna! It was so nice seeing you showcased in a role like this.

  46. And the results are in at the Indianapolis International Film Festival. A Little Help walked away with the Best of Festival Award in the category of Best American Spectrum Feature and captured the hearts of the juries and audiences to be awarded the top spot – the 2010 Grand Jury Award! Everyone involved certainly had my vote. Well done! Thanks for an awesome performance, Jenna.

  47. I’m definitely going so maybe I can give you a fan report afterwards!

    [from tanster: that would be awesome, thanks!]

  48. Wow, living in St Louis might actually pay off for once. I’m definitely gonna try my damndest to attend this.

  49. Sadly we’ll miss it by a day. My wife and I will be in Missouri on Saturday. And since you can’t get tickets online we couldn’t justify a six hour drive from where we’ll be Sunday (in Iowa) on a hope that we could get in. It sounds awesome and I’m bummed to miss it. Particularly with her there in person <3

  50. JUST made plans to go to this! Can’t wait! We are going to try and get our tickets early, I hope it doesn’t sell out before then,it’s a pretty old, small theatre.
    I really hope we can get our picture taken with Jenna!

  51. Got my tickets! And as of yesterday morning, there were still plenty available (the guy said the theater was a little over a quarter of the way full).

  52. I went to the St. Louis screening yesterday! The movie was great and Jenna was funny and beautiful. I’d love to write a report with pictures for this event and also for my set visit earlier this year! Maybe that’ll be a project for Thanksgiving break…

  53. Saw this today and Jenna was fantastic. So different than Pam. I really enjoyed watching her play a character with flaws. Very good movie.

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