Press call with Ed Helms and Paul Lieberstein

Paul: A lot of what you guys were asking was, you know, should we continue after Steve Carell leaves. And the answer was only clear when we said our cast is amazing. And, you know, we don’t need anybody else. People want to watch our cast. We still want to write for our cast. And so think that although maybe, you know, batted around different views at time, we were never really considering changing the focus on the show to anyone else but our people.

Reporter 3: Ed, can you talk about what it’s like to work with James Spader when his character is a man of few words.

Ed: Well…

Paul: Would you call him that?

Ed: James Spader has played a lot of very creepy and odd characters throughout his long and wonderful career. James Spader the man could not be more different from those guys. He’s a wonderful sort of benevolent and cheerful guy. And so that is a fantastic energy to have on set. And it’s wonderful. It’s a kind of fun new energy for us all to respond to. Now his character of course, Robert California, is different than that. Robert California is a kind of aggressively confident person who seems to take a lot of pleasure in exerting his power and that is a really crazy energy because it’s so new to Dunder Mifflin and it’s not something that Andy Bernard is particularly well equipped to deal with and that is exactly why it is so fun.

Reporter 3: Now springing off of the last question from the last reporter, how did the process go for you in terms of taking the new job? Like did you know ahead of time?

Ed: I knew about three or four weeks before we started shooting. That’s when the news sort of broke internally. And Paul and I had lunch actually and that’s where I learned of the news.

Reporter 3: I wanted to know what are Andy’s plans in terms of what to do with Dwight now that you’re the manager and you guys had a checkered past.

Ed: Well, let’s just say the checkered past carries over to a checkered present. And, you know, Dwight is someone who responds very well to a firm hand of leadership, which Andy is still sort of searching for a little bit. But I’m really excited that in that first episode we started to just see the very first inklings of a backbone in Andy. And that I’m really excited about because it sort of makes Andy’s leadership more plausible in a way and also kind of shows you a lot of where Andy still has to go and where he has to travel. And that – Dwight provides a constant friction for that.

Reporter 4: Were the actors lobbying on behalf of their characters to get the managerial position and having your character getting it, was that a way to capitalize on your future film career?

Ed: I’ve always really trusted the creative judgment of the show creators, Greg Daniels and Paul Lieberstein and felt like they’ve gotten us so far. And there was a lot of internal sort of wondering and questioning what was next, who might be the next boss.I think it’s a testament to this cast and the dignity of everyone involved that we all sort of took a little bit of a back seat to the creative considerations upstairs. And we’re sort of eager to support whatever decision came down.

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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