Jenna Fischer Interview WALK HARD The Dewey Cox Story
Posted by Frosty
Q: It's interesting, you were talking about the laziness of Pam. But at the same time, the show is shot, and certainly your characters, almost like a silent movie sometimes. Where so much of the communication has to be done with your face. Because you don't have that much dialogue. But they constantly show you communicating your distress, or your your feelings towards the other characters. That must be in a lot of ways, that must be quite difficult. Because it is so much almost like miming, in a way.
Jenna: Well, I think so much of the show is about what we say when we're not speaking. But also, like, it is a subtext show. You know? And it's I think it's one of the challenges to, like, have a conversation with the character of Jim that's very you know, acceptable and appropriate, while all the while communicating to the audience, this is a person I have a huge crush on. So it's a lot of what we do on the show is, like or, one of the things I think we comment on is the way that people try not to share what they're really thinking or feeling. And how really transparent we all are anyway. And so that was sort of I don't know if that really if I spoke to what you're saying.
Q: But that's also work, though. You're talking about the laziness of that.
Jenna: It is, it is.
Q: But at the same time, that communication for an actor would be more difficult than just reading dialogue from a page.
Jenna: No, and I think that and I think that acting-wise, there's certainly nothing lazy about, like, working on The Office. I think I just meant more like you know, when I'm sitting behind reception, they let me wear sweatpants and Ugg boots on the bottom half of my body. You know. Darlene doesn't get to do that. But but, yeah. I mean, there there's a type of there's a type of endurance on The Office that's necessary, because you are on camera, or you have the potential to be on camera, all day long. And you have to be acting all the time. Even in the background, and especially in reaction to things. Because it's a show about reactions, for sure.
Q: Do you see an end date at all for the show? Is there a point where you think that Steve will I mean, I can't imagine Steve will want to do this for much more than another couple of years. Although he denies that.
Jenna: Well, I mean, he has his contract. And you know, of course my biggest fear is you know, that Steve's contract will be up, and and then, like, all the rest of us will do one more year. Like, it'll be, like, that lame year that Steve's not on the show or we get a new boss or something.
Q: Like Murphy Brown.
Jenna: Where we're all, like, hanging trying to hang on desperately to the show, and but. But I don't know. I mean, like, it's really true that Steve loves doing the show. And he's a producer on the show, and he writes on the show. So there's there's a thing that the show gives his life. A creative thing, where he has a lot of creative input. And he you know, as an actor, he's getting more out of the show than just performing. And so I think it gives him something that maybe movies don't. So, it it's important to him. I think he'll be around for I mean, I know he'll be around for a while. But. I don't know how long the show'll be on. I think we you know. Hopefully just as long as we can continue to do it with integrity, where we're not, like, forcing something. Or where we're not repeating ourselves.
Q: What about plans for your next so-called hiatus, which I guess is still
Jenna: Well, it's you know, the strike has you know, put that into a lot of you know, it's really up in the air, because of the strike. The you know, the studios aren't green-lighting films, you know, like they might normally be. And I'm under contract 'til April, so I can't really you know. Can't really make any decisions any time you know, too soon. But I'm actually developing a project with a writer, an indie comedy for myself.
Q: Are you gonna write and direct any episodes of it?
Jenna: [LAUGHTER] I'm not gonna write or direct it. I'm gonna I like developing it. I like talking about the story. But besides that.
Q: Are you pitching it to a commercial network, or to a
Jenna: It would be a film. A film, a film. For myself, an indie film. Which I hope John C. Reilly will star in with me. Because I only ever want to work with that man for the rest of my career. If possible.
Q: In Quebec, right?
Jenna: Worked with him on Quebec, and the worked with him on this movie. And would love to work with him on my next movie. We could be like Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. We'll just make a bunch of films together.
Q: Could you actually talk a little bit about Quebec and your part in it, and what it was like?
Jenna: Yeah. Quebec is written and directed by Steve Conrad. He wrote The Weatherman and Pursuit of Happyness, and this is his directing debut. It was shot in Chicago, and it's about two assistant managers at a grocery store who are vying for the same job as manager. And just, their sort of like very, like, petty yet understated competition to get the job. And I play Sean William Scott's wife. And unfortunately, he has lied to me and told me that he already got the job. And so we are like I'm moving forward in our life like we're gonna have all this income. So he has this real, like, incentive to win the job, which he thought he was gonna get until this guy from Quebec moved to Chicago and is now his competition. And so it's like it's very funny, but very, like, quirky indie comedy.
Q: So no studio is
Jenna: It's, the Weinsteins are the ones who made it.
Q: And John C. Reilly plays the French Canadian?
Jenna: John C. Reilly plays the Canadian, yeah. And he's married to Lily Taylor. Who's Scottish. Is that enough countries? It that movie was a lot of fun. It was that was really cool. And Fred Armisen is also in it. And it was a cool group of people to hang out with.
Q: Did you film that last summer?
Jenna: I filmed that two summers ago. And then we did some reshoots on it. We actually did reshoots on it on the weekends, between Walk Hard. So I worked on Walk Hard, and I was John C. Reilly's woman. And then I worked on Quebec on the weekends, and I was Sean William Scott's woman. But John C. Reilly was there, because he was also in the movie. And I remember showing up on set and being like, "I don't know which man I belong to." It was very uncomfortable, because I had just spent five days flirting with John C. Reilly, and breathing on one another, and throwing things at one another. And then all of a sudden I had to be somebody else's wife. And it was it was very confusing.
Q: It's a hard life you have, obviously, choosing between these two men.
Jenna: Well, I know. It's I'm so I was a pretty lucky lady. That was kind of a fun time. You know. Got to be, like, the fake wife of these two awesome dudes.
Q: Is this the most creative you are in your life at the moment? Is this the best time in your
Jenna: I would say I would say yes, I would. I think I went through a period of time when I wasn't working as an actor, when I was forced to, like, self-generate creativity. And I started cartooning, and and that was a really creative time in my life. And journaling. And that's when I made my movie, Lolly Love. And there's something really exciting about having to be a self-starter, and create work for yourself, and also see it through. It's very different from being, like, hired to do a project. So, that that time in my life was really important, because I think it made it possible for me to do what I'm doing now. But right now I'm, like, working more than ever, and getting to work on projects that I like, and haven't had a bad experience yet, knock on wood. And I would say, yeah. I mean, this is definitely, like, the most fertile, creative time for me. Yeah. Certainly.
Q: What attracted you to Walk Hard? Was it because the role of Darlene was so different from Pam?
Jenna: I think it was the sense of humor of the movie. I love satire comedy. The movie reminded me of Airplane, and I love that movie, and I feel like we haven't seen that in a long time. And I love movies that are like that. Like, I love Christine Taylor. I think she's so good at satire comedy. And so I wanted to do a satire. And then also, I liked it cuz it was a rated-R comedy, and it was raunchy, and it was over the top. And and in that way, like, that's my sense of humor. And when we're on The Office, we have to hold back a little bit, you know, because it's television, and there's censors. And with this movie, I knew there was you know, no censorship, as seen with the orgy scene.
Q: Will Pam and Jim make it through the rest of the show, or do you think there'll be bumpy bumps along the way?
Jenna: I really don't know. I've sort of told the producers all along that I am not attached to Jim and Pam being the love of one another's lives forever. I think there's also something very sweet in and I think we should only keep them together for as long as it seems real, and seems like honest. And that there could also be something very beautiful about the two of them preparing one another to find the love of their lives. I mean, sometimes some of the relationships we go through are more about growing as a person and learning who we are, and sort of then letting go, and letting that person you know, go on to find the love of their life. And so I'm I'm okay with that being the Jim-Pam story, too. And it could be sort of interesting, and something we haven't done before. Every time I pitch that idea, they tell me that I'm crazy and nobody wants to see that. So [LAUGHTER] I I have a feeling Jim and Pam are gonna make it in the end.
Q: Because people are romantics at heart, aren't they?
Q: So there's no hope for Pam and Toby?
Jenna: Oh, gosh, I wish. Because my favorite scenes to shoot are Pam-Toby scenes. Nobody makes me laugh like Paul Lieberstein. Nobody. It's actually, every season there's a new person that I can't stand to do a scene with because I can't get through it. And season two it was Rainn. I could not do a scene with Dwight. He breathes when he comes up to you, he's like [makes breathing sounds]. He, like, wheezes on you. And he has this coffee breath, which I think is intentional, to be off-putting as his character. I'm not sure. And so, like, I just any time he even just walked up to me, before he said anything, like, I would start laughing. So I couldn't get through a scene with Rainn. And then season three, I could not get through a Pam-Toby scene. Just that sort of like just the fact that she's so unaware of his affection for her, and just having to ignore it every time, and look in his, like, sad puppy eyes those were my favorite. And so, like, so far this season I don't know. I haven't had a person that I just oh, Ed Helms. Can't can't do Ed Helms this year. Like, that guy just makes me laugh every time. When he came up to my desk and was like, asking me how to get on Angela. I, like, could not get through that scene. Could not get through it. So he's making me laugh this year. It changes.