‘The Office’: How Jim and Pam’s Kiss Scene Was the Result of Tension Created Between John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer
One of the fan-favorite moments of The Office was when Jim and Pam finally kissed in the “Casino Night” episode. It was a sweet scene after Jim was rejected by Pam in the parking lot and marked a turning point in their relationship. Director Ken Kwapis shed some light on how they perfectly captured that kiss, in part by purposefully creating tension between actors John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer.
The ‘Casino Night’ Kiss
During the July 15 Office Ladies podcast, hosts Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey revisited the season 2 finale “Casino Night,” which featured Jim admitting to Pam that he loves her and ends with the two sharing a kiss. It’s definitely an episode worthy of revisiting and they spoke with the episode’s director for more behind-the-scenes details.
Part of that discussion included how they shot the kiss the night before the parking lot scene, more for practical reasons than anything else, and how they kept the actors apart for a time before filming the kiss. The small tactic created a sort of imbalance and tension that they were able to use in the iconic scene.
Why the director kept Krasinski and Fischer apart
Kwapis shared some inside scoop about how the parking lot and kiss scene were filmed and the reason behind separating Krasinski and Fischer, which admittedly did create some anxiety for the actors.
When Krasinski talked about the “Casino Night” episode on Office Ladies in May, he explained how he felt nervous ahead of filming the kiss because he and Fischer were isolated. They didn’t rehearse the scene, though they had done a table read, and the actors were kept away from each other before the scene was filmed.
“We shot the kiss actually the night before we shot the parking lot scene,” Kwapis explained. “The reason is just a practical one — that it was the end of the week and we saved our night exterior work for Friday night.”
He continued, “So I felt like it was hard because how do you go into the kiss without having experienced that parking lot scene? How do you prepare for it? And so it seemed to me that maybe having some distance between the two of you might help create, I don’t know, just this feeling that you’re kind of off-balance.”
“Obviously we had read the scene,” he shared. “We had a table read. But we didn’t rehearse the parking lot scene… I just remember thinking, well since we didn’t do the scene which is really kind of the turning point in their relationship — when Jim declares that he loves Pam and it upends everything, since we hadn’t done that there might be a way to just create a little tension.”
It worked perfectly
The method of separating the actors until they filmed the pivotal scene paid off perfectly because it did create a weird imbalance between them.
“I listened to your talk with John about this, and he’s right. It was weird because I was also trying to like underplay the whole thing… I was trying to make as little out of it as possible even though the call sheet that day said in all caps, ‘JIM KISSES PAM.’ But I do feel like it was important that you guys be off balance,” Kwapis noted.
The camera angles for the scene were key and there was a discussion about whether a second camera would film Pam’s side of the kiss. Kwapis said that it was decided that the one camera angle would put the viewer “in Pam’s shoes.”
“First of all, I was probably crying watching the scene,” Kwapis recalled. “But I remember thinking that the other reason the camera angle was so good, so appropriate, was that Jim knows what he’s about to do. Jim has such a strong intention — he’s coming there to kiss Pam. But that Pam is unaware of it and is surprised… so the camera angle really kind of puts us in Pam’s shoes… Sort of, we are Pam.”
He added, “We’re surprised by it as well, so it felt like another angle would have really hurt the way we are involved in that moment.”