John Krasinki plays the role of Jim on the hit NBC series “The Office”. Greg Daniels is one of the show’s writers and developers. The series is set to end it eight year run this May with the last episode containing an extra 15 minutes of footage. Media Mikes had the chance to speak recently with John and Greg about their experiences and what they will miss most about working on the show.
Adam Lawton: What do you think you are going to miss most about playing Jim.
John Krasinski: You’re trying to get tears and I appreciate it. I’m saving my tears for Barbara Walters. There’s so much to miss. I was a waiter before this show, so what I miss most about this character is way too complexly entwined in my real life. So to me, this was a winning lottery ticket, except with a winning lottery ticket you just get money, and with this you get a whole change of your life. And everything about my life has changed and become better, and I feel so lucky to be where I am. So, it’s hard to separate the two, because I’m so sort of meshed in the experience. I will say, and I don’t know if this a good answer or a bad answer, but I think the thing I’ll miss most is playing a character that people believe in so much and attach themselves to in various degrees. There are some people who think they are Jim. There are some people who are looking for Jim. And, you know I think to me, and I know to Jenna playing the Jim/Pam relationship and realizing how important it became to so many people was such an incredible honor. I felt like I was given a tremendous responsibility and that responsibility I really will miss because it’s just so much fun to play a character that people are watching and rooting for and loving. I really appreciate that.
AL: Will Steve Carell be involved in the series finale at all?
Greg Daniels: I think that Steve felt, which I agree with that that Goodbye Michael episode was his goodbye, and that he didn’t want to overshadow the endings that the other characters deserved after all these years, you know, and so I think he made a good call. Obviously, it’d be wonderful to have him back, but you know.
AL: What has “The Office” fan base in general meant to you over the years?
JK: I think there’s a lot of shows that can say, they owe it all to their fans. But, we actually technically can say that we owe everything to the fans, because I for one think that, you know our show is so fan-driven in such a specific way, as evidenced by iTunes. I mean, I think that when we first came out the only reason, in my opinion, that we made it past just, you know these pickups that Greg and I were talking about is because people actually decided they liked the show so much, and it was such a small group at the beginning, that they would pay money to see the show, rather than just wait for it on Tuesday or Thursday, whatever time it was back then. I remember that was life-changing for me to see, because you know to be part of something like that was incredible. I was walking down the streets of New York and someone would just stop on their way to work and say, “Oh, my God, you’re on my iPod.” And I was like two things, “What’s an iPod? Also, what are you talking about?” And they just held up this thing. I also think that during the early speculation of what our show would be when people were, you know obviously being really hard on the show without seeing it, because everybody thought that it was going to be terrible because the English one was so good, as soon as that first – I remember Diversity Day hitting and just every other person on the street would come up to me and say, “The show is awesome. The show is awesome.” I think we owe absolutely everything to the fans.
GD: I completely agree with that.
AL: Can you describe for us what the last few days on set were like?
JK: I don’t think there were any tears. There was just a celebration that this thing was finally over, right Greg? I think for so many people this wasn’t just a job, and there’s no way it could be just a job. This was a huge incredibly emotional family and connection that we all had. I mean, to say it was emotional would be a complete understatement. I think that, you know knowing what that we’ll see these people still in our lives, and it was still that emotional, it says a lot about how much we are all defined by this show and how much we honor how defined we are by the show. I just think that we know that this will – I think no matter what any of us go on to do, I think that this show will probably be, you know what we’re most known for, and that’s incredible. And I think for people to feel so good about that and feel that they were a part of something so special, not only in the television world, but in their personal lives, was massive. I’ll never forget, we were all joking around. I was, as per usual, crying laughing as we exited the – I’m a crier laughter which is a bummer, but I was crying laughing with Craig and we were all joking around waiting in the hall every time we exited. And then, one of the times we came back, instead of saying, “Going again,” Greg randomly appeared and just said, “Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the end of The Office.” And it was – it really was, I mean even talking about it now, it’s – you know it was a gut punch. It’s a life-changing event and there’s just no way to describe it. It’s not like ending college. It’s not like anything, really. It’s a part of your life that defined you, and to have it go away is so incredibly bittersweet. I think the only thing that helped us all is that we’re so proud of the work, and that we’re so proud that we got to have a Series Finale. You know, I think that we – you know that’s a very rare thing. And growing up I remember the “Cheers” Finale and, you know “M*A*S*H”, and all these amazing Finales, and I remember them being very, very important. For us to be a show that even got there is incredible, and I think that we’re just all so proud of the work. And that’s, I think, the only thing that prevented us all from just having a complete meltdown.
GD: Yeah, very special. There’s the lot that we shot it in is all by itself in Van Nuys, and we had lunch with each other every day and there was nobody here who didn’t work on the show on this little lot, and so we did get very close. One of the hard parts about the Finale, I think, is that, you know you have to be professional and you have to act and you have to, you know try and keep the tone a certain way when you’re on the set and everything, in terms of like writing and directing. It’s very difficult if it also means that, you know you’re going to say goodbye to everybody you’ve been hanging out with for eight years, and you’re – you know you’re going to have to find a different place to have an office in. And so, there is like a lot of weird overlap between the end of your personal work experience and, you know what’s going on on screen, so it was very sad.
AL: Do you have a favorite episode that sticks out for you?
JK: That’s a really hard question. To me, it’s like saying, what’s your favorite movie? You’ve got to have more of like a top ten. For me I have favorites for so many different reasons, again personally and professionally, I think that there’s so many important moments, some having to do with my characters and others not. I think the first moment that I can remember the most was shooting the first day of “Diversity Day”, because the pilot was pretty much word for word the British show, which I know we weren’t all super excited about, but we could understand why we had to do it to see how it stacked up against the other show. And then, our first sort of running at our own pace was “Diversity Day”. I actually remember people looking around the room at each other, you know as if you do when you saw something incredibly special and important. We all knew that something very, very special was happening, and that this show tonally and from a writing perspective was just really, really incredible. I remember that moment feeling like it set the tone for what this show is.Personally for me, two episodes that I’ll never forget is, “Casino Night”. I remember shooting that last scene and Greg had the set cleared and the lights were low and there was like an importance put on this, and you realize that it wasn’t an importance because of us, like you know that the actors needed it necessarily. It was more like, “We’ve got to get this right for the people that are watching.” People, like Greg was saying earlier, are so invested in a way that you never thought people would watch TV and be so invested that you can’t just at the end of the episode say, “I love you,” and kiss. It has to be very real and very special and exactly how they think the characters would do it, and that was amazing. That was an amazing night. And then, the other thing that I remember defining the show was “Booze Cruise”. That will always be one of my favorite episodes on many levels. I think it’s hilarious and one of my favorite episodes.
GD: I loved that episode too but I would also have to add that “The Job” and “Business School” were great episodes as well. There’s just so many. I mean the first season had all these very comical episodes, I thought, where we weren’t really too concerned with the likeability of anybody, but I kind of loved them just – for the comedy sake. And – you know, and then we had some very good mixes of touching episodes, I think. It was good. We had some good stuff.