Jenna Fischer MySpace blog: Some Answers

From Jenna Fischer’s MySpace blog, dated November 30, 2008:

Some Answers

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all had a nice holiday weekend. I baked my first pumpkin pie this year! I used my Mom’s recipe and I’m proud to say it turned out great! I only wish I had all weekend to lie on the couch and eat leftovers. I’m currently on a flight from LA to NY. I was in LA for Thanksgiving and now I’m headed back to NY to finish filming Solitary Man. I’m using the new in-flight internet service. So cool right! I’m on a plane right now!

I used the extra time to FINALLY answer some of the questions from my blog. Here are your answers – well, a few anyway.

If you could star in any Hollywood classic, talking 1965 or earlier which movie would you have loved to have made and why? – Rebekah from Sanger CA

I love old movie musicals. I would love to have starred in Singin’ in the Rain. To dance with Gene Kelly would be a dream come true.

What’s the best thing you bought at Target recently? – Julie from Flagstaff, Arizona

A grey sweater. It looks really expensive but I think it cost under $15. I wear it CONSTANTLY!

I read in “The Enquirer” that you did an impression at a party of Sarah Palin that had everyone in stitches that true? – Robert Peter from Great Falls Virginia

Ha! No, this is not true. I cannot do impressions. I have no idea where/how that story got created. I was at that party but I was not doing any impressions. I also don’t remember saying anything particularly hilarious that would have people “in stitches”. I did knock over my Diet Coke with my purse. Maybe they were laughing at that!

What does it take for a script to really speak to you? What makes you decide, I’m going to do this movie (or project) but not this one. – MiMi from Hammond Indiana

There are a lot of things I consider when deciding on a new job. Most importantly I have to love the script. Sometimes the idea is great but the execution falls flat. I love good writing and I’m mostly drawn to things that hit me on an emotional level – did the script make me laugh out loud, did it take me on a journey, is the female character interesting on her own…stuff like that. I’m also looking for a challenge. Walk Hard was a big challenge for me because my character was a sexy and outspoken woman. I hadn’t done that before. It was also a satirical comedy – which is different in tone than other things I had done. All of that was very attractive.

The second consideration is usually my schedule. I am limited in the movie roles I can consider because we basically shoot The Office from July to April every year. Sometimes we get little breaks along the way and I can squeeze something in – like how I am filming Solitary Man during our Thanksgiving hiatus.

The final consideration is location. I have a 16 year old cat that I love dearly and it is hard for me to be away from him for long periods of time. He needs a lot of TLC in his old age. While I might love to live in Africa for 6 months and shoot a movie I’m not sure I could stand being away from my little fella. Who knows how many more years I’ll have him as a pet. I don’t want to miss out on too many snuggles. Sometimes location is a big incentive like with Solitary Man. I’ve always wanted to live in New York. It was exciting to think I could live there for 3 weeks and do this movie. It was also fun to film The Promotion in Chicago. You get closer to your castmates when everyone is being housed in a hotel during the shoot. It’s like summer camp!

How much control does a director of a TV episode have v. a director of a film? – Sam from Scarborough New York

This is a very good question! I always assumed the director was the top dog in any situation but that isn’t true! On a movie, the director is in charge. Everyone is there to serve his/her vision.

In television, the main visionary is the Executive Producer – who is often the head writer/creator of the TV series. In our case that is Greg Daniels. The directors on our show are very involved but they have certain limitations as far as style and precedent. Plus, we have a different director each week. They work like independent contractors and they often have to play catch up since they aren’t on set every week to know the intimate details of the characters – which is something Greg and the other writers know like the back of their hand.

I remember one week I had a director who wanted me to flirt with Jim and I said, “No! He’s dating Karen!” The new season hadn’t aired yet and the director didn’t know we weren’t a couple! Some television series have resident directors and they too have a more powerful position because they direct or oversee several episodes a year.

How do you feel about fans greeting you when you’re out and about in your day-to-day life? Do you ever miss the anonymity of your life prior to becoming famous? – Jacqui

I don’t mind when fans say hello. Everyone is so nice. Seriously. We are lucky to have such cool fans actually. I especially like hearing about people’s favorite lines from the show. I like to go back to set and say things like, “Ed! I ran into someone who just loved when you said….”

The only thing I don’t like is when people do things that would annoy me if I was on a TV show or not like when people interrupt me when I’m on the phone, or in the bathroom or when people take photos without asking. Those are just common-sense boundaries you know? One time I was sitting on a plane and a person in the aisle took a photo of me reading my magazine. It was really uncomfortable because afterward they had to stand there waiting for the line to move. Another time I was eating dinner and the person at the table next to me kept taking photos with their phone. I was thinking, “How many photos of me chewing could you possibly want?” I mean, that just seems gross. And, I do miss the anonymity. It is weird to be enjoying what you think is a private moment and then look up and someone is staring. I can tell you it makes me especially careful about doing things like blowing my nose or adjusting my bra in public.

That said, I have the best job in the world. I cherish it. The good far outweighs the bad.

How does it feel having Pam away from Dunder Mifflin? Are there any in-office moments you wish she had been around for? – Sarah Bee from Rhode Island

I HATED being away! I whined about it all the time. John was really nice. He could relate because he had to do those episodes in Stamford during Season 3. He listened to me go on and on about how I missed everyone. I’m so happy Pam is back!

I am mostly bummed I didn’t get to work more with Amy Ryan. She is such a talented and sweet woman. I wish I was there the day she and Steve did their “Let’s Get Ethical” routine.

In the episode where you were talking to Jim using a webcam, did they prerecord you on the computer or was that a live camera feed from you? That was a hilarious scene and I was curious how it was made. – Brian from Saint Clair Michigan

I loved doing that! I was offstage and it was a live webcam conversation. I especially loved the interview where it was just the laptop on a chair.

Always curious to find out about kissing costars. Do the actors talk before hand about what they are comfortable with? Are there any overall rules that are followed? Is it awkward? What if someone has bad breath or herpes??? – Jack Attack from Florida

There is an old rule in acting – always get permission before you kiss or hit your co-star. Both require conversations about what the other person is comfortable doing and not doing. The other unwritten rule is “no tongue” unless otherwise specified. Most actors follow the rules. The more communication the better. The last thing you want to do is surprise your fellow actor and make them uncomfortable. You have to work with this person every day.

In Blades of Glory when Jon Heder and I were doing our kiss at the end of the movie the directors kept coming up to us between takes and saying, “Um….more passion. We need it to be really passionate.” We said, “Okay”. And we did what we thought was “more passionate”. At one point I jammed my face into his face so hard I cut my lip! Finally the director said, “Use your tongue. We are in a really tight close up and I can tell you aren’t using tongue and it looks weird.” We laughed so hard. We were both doing the “no tongue rule”! It was actually our first time doing a real French kiss for a movie. We bonded over the new milestone.

As for bad breath…that rarely happens. I mean it’s not like the kissing scenes sneak up on you. You know what you are shooting each day. People brush their teeth and chew gum out of respect for the other actor. And, before you start any new project you have to get cleared by a doctor. You have to fill out an extensive medial questionnaire that includes questions about herpes and stuff like that. If you have a disease that can be transmitted through kissing – be it herpes or even a cold – they won’t let you work until it is cleared up. They are VERY careful about keeping actors healthy.

Okay, my battery is low…gotta run!

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