Press call with Ed Helms and Paul Lieberstein

Paul: I haven’t seen an actor want a specific role. I think what an actor wants in general is something interesting to play and to be challenged and stretched. And we intend to do that with all the cast. A movie can be about the lowliest guy on the street or the President of the United States and it’s not so much who’s the manager, you know, you can find something interesting. So no one really was pressing. They just want to be engaged and challenged. You know, and that’s what we wanted to show as well.

Reporter 5: After doing all the searching and everything, did you finally decide that Ed Helms should be the choice? What was it about Andy Bernard’s character that you thought this is the guy that should have had Steve Carell’s mantle? And then secondly, what did you think about the chemistry between Ed and Spader?

Paul: There are a lot of aspects to the Andy Bernard character to make him extremely suited to manager. One, I think it’s that he cares about people more than he does about the product. And of course he wants the place to run successfully. But he can take the role of father, partly through genuine affection and being kind of an adorable human being, you know, talking about Andy – is one who is really caring and interested in being empathetic. Any little problem that anybody’s having, he would feel very deeply, which makes him very suited to be a comic lead in the show. And his stories (are a generator). One of the things we’re most delighted about is how Andy manages upward, you know, and how both scared he is and courageous he is at the very same time when dealing with Robert California.

Reporter 6: We saw it towards the end of the last episode we saw Andy kind of standing up to Robert a little bit. Are we going to continue to see sort of a push and pull between these two characters? Is Andy going to kind of find himself as a boss over the season?

Paul: Yeah. Like I was just saying, there’s a comic dynamic where he (can) deal with someone (interested in) toying with him. So it’s a go-to place.

Reporter 6: And everyone wants to know if Andy and Erin are going to continue to be a storyline as well.

Ed: They’re a pretty odd pair because they have very strong emotions and very poor communication skills. And so there’s always been something kind of charming about watching them try to connect and try to communicate. Of course now with Andy’s new boss position, there’s a power dynamic that comes into play which just makes all of that tension and awkwardness that much more difficult. And things do get tricky especially around Halloween.

Reporter 7: It struck me that you and Steve have had a very similar career path from the Daily Show through the bridge and then film career. I wondered if you had any thoughts on that and if you had a chance to talk with Steve since the announcement and get any advice from him.

Ed: Yes. Steve and I certainly have a few sort of signposts along our careers that match up. And I really credit Steve certainly going back to the Daily Show. When Steve did 40 Year Old Virgin, that really broke the mold for all of the correspondents on the Daily Show in a really wonderful way. And it allowed the general public as well as the entertainment industry to suddenly see the Daily Show correspondents as something more than just these sort of snarky news reporters. And that’s just something I’ll always sort of be grateful that Steve did.

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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