Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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Back in 2001, British comedians Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant would debut their show called “The Office”. There were only 12 episodes over two seasons as ratings were considered too low on the BBC. Still, the series was adapted into an American version of the same name, placed on NBC and became much more successful than its predecessor.
A big part of the the success that “The Office” enjoyed was because of the cast that was relatively unknown outside of Steve Carell, who played the boss, Michael Scott. Carell helped bring the audience in and they were hooked thanks to the supporting characters such as the quirky Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and eventual husband and wife Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer).
“The Office” took place in the real life town of Scranton, Pennsylvania at the Dunder Mifflin paper company. Getting everyone from the west coast to Pennsylvania would be awfully hard, so they had to improvise and actually film in Los Angeles. As you could probably guess, Pennsylvania winters are just a bit more harsh than California’s, so fake snow was introduced for episodes that took place in the winter. That means that whenever a cast member was wrapped up in scarves and coats, they were actually sweating since the temperatures in LA hardly ever fall below 60 degrees.
Speaking of the actual office building, most of the shots showed a majority of the cast sitting around and doing nothing except for maybe the occasional reaction. The cast members were told to make it look like they were actually working, but there was no actual work to do since it wasn’t a real paper company. To pass the time, the background cast members were messing around on the internet since there was an actual internet connection on set. This is pretty rare as most computers on television sets are just dummies. You can even spot some people playing solitaire to kill the time during shots.
During the series, Jim would eventually become the focal point as Steve Carell’s character moved on, but John Krasinski almost cost himself the job. Krasinski first auditioned for the role of Dwight (which went to Rainn Wilson), but Krasinski told the producers that he would probably be a better fit for Jim. The producers didn’t like being told how to cast their show, and they responded by telling Krasinski that he could “shove it up his a** because this dude’s done nothing, he’s lucky to be coming in.”
For reasons still unknown, the producers were willing to give Krasinski a chance to audition for Jim down the road. While waiting for his time to be called in, Krasinski spotted a man eating lunch, and Krasinski told them that the producers were likely to end up ruining the British show that he loved so much. The man ended up being the executive producer (Greg Daniels) and the rest of the producers even referred to Krasinski as a “jackass” when he got into the room. His audition must have been off the charts, because he still got the role anyway.
It almost ended up being a short lived role, anyway, as test audiences for the pilot of “The Office” didn’t like the show at all. NBC decided to roll with it anyway, and they received more than 11 million viewers for the series premiere. It looked like the show was going to be doomed with quickly slipping ratings, but then “The 40 Year Old Virgin” came out to theaters starring Steve Carell. The movie was a big success, so people started tuning into “The Office” to see more of the main character. Eventually, “The Office” would receive a maximum of nearly 23 million viewers after one of the episodes was aired immediately after Super Bowl XLIII.