‘Threat Level Midnight’ Q&A with B.J. Novak

BusinessSchool: Did the actors look back at footage at all to get back into that time period of their characters?

Chloe: Was it difficult “making over” the actors to look like themselves five years ago?

SaidTheActressToTheBishop: I noticed during Pam and Jim’s talking head, there was a clip of Ryan, Pam, Jim, Michael, Dwight and a few others in the conference room as they appeared in Season 2. Did you guys shoot that back in 2005, or did you guys shoot that this year?

B.J.: It was great fun to go back in time with all the characters, both with their physical looks and with their performances as characters. Kim Ferry and LaVerne Caracuzzi-Milazzo put great care and effort into recreating the characters’ looks from earlier seasons, as did our wardrobe department.

The scene that you mentioned in the conference room was shot the same week as everything else. (For example, speaking for myself: I was dressed in the same bright blue shirt that Ryan used to favor, and had fake sideburns glued on to match that era.)

In terms of the performances, the actors remembered those dynamics and fell right back into them. My favorite example is the scene in the complete movie between Jim and Pam, in which Pam asks Goldenface why his face is gold.

Threat Level Midnight: Jim and Pam

You can see all the happiness and and the tension in their faces –- they love acting together, they are trying to keep a straight face through Michael’s dialogue, and they know Roy is just out of frame.

And why was Jim so involved with the movie? He’d seem like the kind of person who would stay away from Michael’s antics, especially a gun fight while ice skating.

LaVerne: Each department had copies on a DVD of how everyone looked from season to season. In terms of make up, the only make up adjustment that I had to make were the sideburns on B.J.

Mike: Just curious what John Krasinski had to say about having to wear the gimp suit in the speed skating scene 

jmj: How did John K. feel about the gold face paint?

B.J.: John Krasinski was as eager as a human being could be to wear the gold face paint, the speed skating suit, and all the rest of it. He loved playing Goldenface as much as Jim would have. Every actor on our show loves acting and being funny.

As for Jim, while it was fun to go back in time with every character, it was especially fun going back in time with Jim and to see more of what he was like back when he had more fun at work, and participated more eagerly in extra-curricular activities, as a way to spend time with Pam and share some laughter with her.

LaVerne: When the script indicated that we were doing a gold face we did a test to make sure that everyone was on board with the idea and the visual. I had to make some minor adjustments due to where we were shooting and how the actors were being lit. John is a true professional and was pleased with the end result.

Rob M: Did it take a lot of convincing to get Craig Robinson to shave off his stache?

LaVerne: No, Craig could not be a nicer person. Of course, when anyone is used to having facial hair or longer hair and are either asked to cut or shave it off, it is a big decision even though you know it will grow back. We just made sure that for continuity purposes that we shot everything with his facial hair and then everything without his facial hair.


  1. Thanks BJ and LaVerne for the answers! It would have been so cool to have Amy Adams show up in the movie and now I can’t wait to watch the whole thing!

  2. Wow, that was completely amazing.

    I love that the office writers get so involved.

    Thanks for the behind the scenes look BJ!

  3. Fantastic Q&A! Thank you so much. This is the type of thing that sets The Office apart. Awesome generosity!

  4. Wait So Erin wasn’t in the movie because Michael had stopped filming awhile ago, but Helene was in the movie?

    Erin was working in the Office when Michael was dating Helene.

    Michael must have done some pick ups and re-shoots :)

  5. Well, I’m glad I figured out why David Wallace wasn’t in the movie, or why he hasn’t been seen on the episode. I hope I find him on a deleted scene.

  6. Yay! He answered my comment (which ended the segment)! This made my day…

    So thank you B.J. for not only answering our questions, but maintaining the world’s greatest and smartest show as well!

  7. Thanks, BJ and crew! I loved the description of going back in time…that was how it was watching it for me. Just a great episode and really appreciate the insights.

  8. @ #5
    Didn’t Michael not like Erin for a while, but finally got used to her? Because he was reluctant to let her go with him to the school in “Scott’s Tots” maybe he didn’t want her in it then but was already done filming when he finally liked her.

  9. Great interview! It’s always good to see the process behind bringing all those elements together on screen.

  10. Thank you, BJ, for sharing such interesting information about the making of TLM. As usual, you gave us a great insight into how you put this all together. And I loved how expertly you captured Michael’s mind and intentions — he truly is a most remarkable character!

  11. This was awesome! I’m sitting here going through back episodes on Netflix tonight and forget just how incredibly funny some of these are. I LOVE THIS SHOW.

  12. Thanks for all the detailed answers B.J.! I hope the David Wallace talking head makes it as a deleted scene on the DVD. It’s amazing how much work every department put into making this a great episode. It would have been funny to see Katy come out in the movie. I can’t believe this episode was Steve’s idea. Steve is a genius! I’m so glad everyone decided to jump on board to do this episode.

  13. Thanks Tanster and BJ! I can’t believe he answered my really stupid question! I was kind of hoping he wouldn’t see it because I felt so embarrassed for submitting it. But look how well he answered it!

  14. Thank you so much to B.J., LaVerne, and everyone else involved for the great Q&A and the great episode.

  15. Wow – what a great Q & A! Thank you BJ and the entire Office crew – this is such a gift for us fans!

  16. What a fantastic Q&A — It deserves a second reading! I will never get tired of geeking out over the behind the scenes Office stuff. Thanks so much for facilitating this and thanks to wonderful BJ Novak for his great responses, and to sweet LaVerne too!

  17. What a great Q&A! It really rounds the episode out for me. Thanks, BJ and LaVerne, for those great answers, and thanks, as always, to Tanster for making this happen!

  18. Thank you BJ! I can never get enough behind the scenes insight. Love this stuff. We Office fans are sure lucky. Look what we get! Such a great group of people.

    Very interesting to find out this was Steve’s idea. Sounds like an amazing experience for everybody involved. And I too hope to see that David Wallace TH on the dvd.

  19. Just noticed that other than the voiceover, Leslie David Baker does not appear in this episode! Why he is not there for the viewing party?

  20. I love this show, love the writers, and love everything about it. I have all the episodes on random/repeat 24/7.

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