Rainn Wilson shares memories of 'The Office,' his co-stars, and more

Tech 1 week ago Mashable 25

Fans of The Office know the show wouldn't be half as good without Dwight K. Schrute. And Dwight wouldn't be such a good character if he were played by anyone other than Rainn Wilson.

On the latest episode of the Office Ladies podcast, former co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey chatted with Wilson about his time on the show, his new pet peacock (how NBC of him), the "Golden Ticket" episode in Season 5, and more.

The full conversation was a delight, but if you're looking for a rundown, here are four standout moments from the mini Office reunion.

1. How Rainn Wilson got cast on The Office

The Office Ladies hosts love to ask guests how they got involved with the beloved workplace comedy, and Wilson had quite the tale to tell. He was all set to work on a Janeane Garofalo show called Slice o' Life, but after it was canceled post-pilot table read, he asked to audition for The Office.

"I called my agent. I was like, 'I'd really like to audition for [The] Office.' And I was the first person to audition on the very first day," he shared. "Allison Jones, the casting director, kind of knew me from Six Feet Under and some other things. I was so excited. And I auditioned for both Dwight and Michael on that first day."

"I was like, 'This is completely in my wheelhouse. I know exactly who this person is. This guy is in my DNA.'"

"[Jones] keeps threatening to release my Michael Scott audition. It is truly terrible because I just did a Ricky Gervais impersonation. I didn't know what else to do, so I was kind of pulling on my tie a lot," Wilson explained. "But Dwight I knew. I was like, 'This is completely in my wheelhouse. I know exactly who this person is. This guy is in my DNA. I have cousins who are really not that different from Dwight Schrute.' And the rest is history."

Wilson recalled being paired with Fischer during screen tests, and the two shared how much admiration they had for each other during that early interview process.

2. The joy of working with Steve Carell

As Kinsey explained, Wilson had the remarkable experience of being part of a comedy duo with Steve Carell for years. When asked what it was like to work with the man behind Michael Scott, Wilson had only wonderful things to say about his former on-screen boss. 

"Let me just say that, you know, when I look back on that work with Steve, I'm just so grateful because he's obviously like one of the greatest actors — comedy actors, but even just actors like ever. And the fact that I got to do so much work with him was just such a gift," Wilson said.

Via Giphy

Unlike Carell, Wilson didn't come from an improv background, but he said he loved when the two would play around with scenes on set.

"...Steve was incredible at that, no matter what I did — and I sometimes I would try to go really out of the box. Steve would completely react in character and accept what was being proposed," Wilson said. "I mean, we would do the script. We would shoot the script and make sure we got it scripted correctly. and then we would improvise."

Wilson learned a lot from the improv process on set, and he explained that Carell always encouraged out-of-the-box behavior.

"He never got kind of like, 'God damn it, Rainn, why are you being so weird and so silly? Stay on the point of the scene.' We can go way off kilter, you know, way off the path. And he would just be right there all the time. It was really a privilege to work with him," Wilson said.

3. What Rainn Wilson took from The Office set

Another popular question on the podcast is "What did you take from set?" And for Wilson, the answer was essentially not nearly as many things as he'd wished he'd taken.

"Oh, this breaks my heart. I should have taken so much more, I should have fleeced NBC Universal," he said. "I took Dwight's glasses, I took his little desk plate that said Dwight Schrute on it. I took his stapler. And one or two other things I can't quite remember, I have to look around and see, but I had a whole list of things I gave to Phil Shea [prop master], and I said, 'Phil, pull these aside for me and I'll get them from you later. And it was Dwight's briefcase, and this, and that, and the other thing, and blah, blah, blah.'"

Via Giphy

Sadly, Wilson didn't end up getting the items on his list and said he heard that crew members were threatened and told they'd be fired and never work for NBC Universal again if they were caught trying to swipe any Office props from set. Yikes.

Wilson didn't even get Dwight's original desk bobblehead. Can you believe?

"I got one of the rejected bobbleheads that doesn't look anything like the bobblehead. I did not get my original bobblehead," he said.

4. Breaking character with John Krasinski

As faithful Office Ladies listeners and Mashable readers know, cast members of The Office were constantly breaking character on set. Before he hopped off the podcast, Wilson recalled that he and John Krasinski had a particularly hard time getting through the "Golden Ticket" cold open without catching the giggles.

"…God, what a what an amazing pleasure it was watching 'Golden Ticket' again. That's really that cold open too, the KGB and the knock knock jokes, it was so good. There's so many classic Office moments throughout it,” he said.

"People always ask, like, 'How do you keep a straight face?' It's like, I didn't keep a straight face," he continued. "I just laughed all the time, especially John and I. We would just make each other laugh. We could look at each other's eyes and know a laugh was coming," Wilson revealed. "...I am certain that especially that little last section when John was like doing the KGB — I'm sure I was crying with laughter and we had to cut, you know, at least a dozen times."

SEE ALSO: 9 of the best travel coffee mugs for your daily caffeine fix

Never forget that Wilson and Krasinski once shared a scene so funny that it shut down production for 20 minutes. Iconic.

Be sure to listen to the full podcast to hear all of Wilson's comments and learn more behind-the-scenes stories from filming "Golden Ticket."

You can stream episodes of The Office on Peacock and follow along with the podcast every week on Earwolf, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher.


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