The Conference Room Scenes Were A “Black Hole,” But Nothing Stopped Production Like These 2 Characters


Office makes fans of several generations laugh. But behind the scenes, the cast often cracked or broke character during filming. As Matt Sohn, the NBC show’s cinematographer, describes some scenes were a “black hole” for the production. Again, nothing could compare to the “stopping” of production when Office the cast had to film a scene involving Jim and Pam.

Distribution of ‘The Office’ | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The cast of ‘The Office’ often broke on set

There’s no doubt about the shoot Office was a blast for the cast. Thanks to Brian Baumgartner’s two podcasts, fans get an even better sense of what it was like behind the scenes on the NBC comedy series.

Some cast members like Mindy Kaling became known for breaking character in scenes. But sometimes the entire cast struggled to stay together during filming.

For example, in season 6, episode 13, Jim (John Krasinski) tells Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) that she can be Santa Claus for the Christmas party. Naturally, Michael (Steve Carell) takes issue with this because he’s still the office Santa.

Michael seizes an opportunity when Phyllis won’t let Kevin (Baumgartner) sit on her lap. To give Phyllis a boost, Michael pulls out a chair from his desk and invites Kevin to sit down. This scene was a challenge for the entire cast, especially Baumgartner and Carell. If you look closely, you’ll also spot Kaling and Ed Helms laughing in the background.

Conference room scenes presented a challenge on the set of ‘The Office’

Although some notable scenes were difficult for the individual actors, the boardroom scenes almost always turned into “chaos”, according to Sohn. “The conference room scenes were the black hole scenes,” Sohn told Baumgartner on The desktop in depth.

“They were brilliant…but when you have the whole cast sitting in chairs and Michael Scott does one of his tracks…that would decide if we were going to be there for hours or we were going to get by.”

Sohn said the conference room scenes could go either way depending on the mood of the cast. If they felt giggling that day, the conference room scenes turned into that “black hole” mentioned by Sohn. “Constantly people were breaking up, having fun – it was chaos.”

Jim and Pam Scenes Would Derail ‘The Office’ Production

Baumgartner disagrees with Sohn in terms of scenes that could end the production. “I said nothing could stop the production like a Jim and Pam scene,” he told the DP. Sohn remembers a lot of gatherings and set cleanings when scenes of Jim and Pam popped up. But that’s because the cast and crew wanted everything to be perfect for the fans.

According to Sohn, the scenes of Jim and Pam shutting down production depended on who was directing the episode, who wrote the episode, and who was on set at the time. “Those early scenes of Jim and Pam where they were just getting started – fucking him?” he remembered. “We cleared the set for an hour and a half, I think.”

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Sohn recalled the many conversations the showrunners had regarding where to film Jim and Pam’s first kiss shot. “I think their relationship was such a good thing and it was so slow at first,” Sohn said. “They wanted to keep it grounded and keep it real. It was finding that exact tone that made everyone happy [and] have kept their relationship on point.

For Sohn and many fans, Jim and Pam’s relationship seemed real because of all that careful decision-making. “It wasn’t one of those ridiculous, romantic, silly things that…just happen,” he concluded. “It was a slow burn.”

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