‘The Office’ Cast: Jenna Fischer Said She Got Her ‘Big Break’ Because of the Show’s 1 Rule When Casting

Jenna Fischer believes that a casting rule worked in her favor when she landed the life-changing role of Pam Beesly in The Office cast. If they had decided to audition more famous actors, Fischer said she never would have had the opportunity to bring Pam to life on The Office.

The Office cast Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly and John Krasinski as Jim Halpert
‘The Office’ stars Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank

Jenna Fischer was ready to quit acting

Fischer had been working as an actor before landing the role on The Office but was beginning to feel like it was time to leave the career behind after experiencing so much rejection and disappointment.

During the Feb. 16 episode of The Office Deep Dive With Brian Baumgartner, the former co-stars discussed Fischer’s big break.

Fischer recalled how she was ready to quit acting and move into a career as a vet technician but was convinced by her manager and acting coach to continue trying for another year. “And that was the year that I got the audition for Pam on The Office,” she explained.

This ‘The Office’ cast requirement was so important to Fischer’s success

Baumgartner recalled how the casting call for The Office was detailed in not wanting anyone who was known. “They’re looking for people who are not known,” he said he told his agent at the time. He was told, “They’re looking for unknown people … but not like you unknown — not like totally unknown,” Baumgartner explained.

Fischer said that actually helped her land the role. “That little caveat in the casting call that said ‘unknown actors only,’ that was why this was my big break,” she told Baumgartner.

She continued, “And this was also why I’d been so frustrated and wanted to give up because I would go through these long audition processes for television shows and I would get as far as the on camera test part and then, they would give it to Alyson Hannigan.”

“Alyson Hannigan got like three parts that I was up for. I could not break through Alyson Hannigan,” she added.

“I was this unknown actor and I had absolutely nothing to offer,” Fischer explained. “I had no name recognition so I couldn’t get these big lead parts until The Office, when finally, the thing that had been working against me was my gift — which was that I was unknown.”

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Jenna Fischer said she felt a connection to Pam

During an episode of An Oral History of The Office podcast, Fischer shared more about her experience when she auditioned for Pam. She said she felt so confident that the role was hers.

“I believed with my whole heart that this was the part for me,” Fischer explained. “I believed I was the one who should play it … I am literally the only person who should play this part. This is mine.”

During the Sept. 23 episode of the Office Ladies podcast, while discussing the art show scene in the “Business School” episode, Fischer shared how she really could identify with what Pam was feeling. Pam’s co-workers didn’t support her, but boss Michael Scott showed up at the end of the art show and told her he was proud of her.

“I did channel a lot of those struggling years into my performance for Pam,” Fischer said. “I literally sat at a reception desk and dreamed of being an artist. I have done that. I did it for seven years, so I deeply, deeply felt Pam’s longing.”