Press call with Ed Helms and Paul Lieberstein

I’ve known Steve for a long, long time and I’ve always really admired Steve both creatively and personally. And he’s one of a number of actors that I’ve looked up to and sort of taken cues from as I made choices in my career. And I’m really grateful for that example that he’s set. And he’s always just been really supportive and even going into this new season remains so. And I even got a really lovely note from Ricky Gervais the day after the premier. So that means an awful lot.

Reporter 7: Did either of them have any concrete advice in approaching managing The Office?

Ed: Not exactly, no. But the biggest lesson that Steve has taught me is more just about work ethic and preparation and execution and professionalism. And that’s something that I’ve addressed with him in a number of conversations together. But also I’ve just learned through his example and I’m really grateful for it.

Reporter 8: Did you and Brian Baumgartner – I know you guys went to the same school – did you guys know each other much back then? And what’s it like working with him now?

Ed: We did know each other in high school. He’s a year older than me. And we weren’t best buddies but we certainly overlapped and we were in a few plays together and our high school chorus and stuff like that. And it’s just been this sort of fun ridiculous reconnection. We went off in different directions and then circled back 15 years later. We even have a writer on staff that went to our high school, Halsted Sullivan.

Reporter 9: So in what ways will we see Andy differ from Michael as a boss?

Ed: I think that the biggest difference right out of the gate is that Michael was a well-established manager for much of his run at Dunder Mifflin and that Andy is just finding that. It’s a fresh new thing. And Andy’s leadership is a little bit of an open question and that’s what I’m really excited to flesh and it was really fun in that opening episode to kind of see a little bit of that backbone and see a little bit of a poignant turn about what might be ahead. But I also think Andy comes from a place of privilege and that informs his world view and he’s also prone to anger management issues, but what he always is trying to do at the end of the day, he’s trying to do the right thing. And that’s why he sort of stepped up in that first episode. But it’s also he has so many personal hurdles and insecurities that it’s a real struggle.

Reporter 10:I was a really big fan of the Scranton Strangler. Do you think we’ll ever see another murder mystery on The Office?

Paul: Perhaps. You know, we overshoot quite a bit and we overscript even more than that. So there’s quite a bit that we have that never quite made it on. But I think we actually did air a piece where Toby felt that he put the wrong man to death. And so we have a whole story that’s kind of playing out where – so he may start to establish a relationship with them and go visit them in jail.

Ed: Oh my God.

Paul: And then maybe there’s another strangling that happens to throw the whole thing in question.

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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