In season 7 of The Office, Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch gets a new regional manager. While no one can compete with Michael Scott (Steve Carell), James Spader brought a unique energy to The Office cast. Behind the scenes, the cast said he was often reticent. But when he spoke, Spader had some interesting advice for Angela Kinsey. Find out what Spader’s parenting tip was for the actor that also doubled as sex advice.
James Spader joined ‘The Office’ cast as Robert California
After Michael Scott‘s exit, Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch needed a new regional manager. Spader joined The Office cast in the season 7 finale. Other actors including Jim Carrey, Ray Romano, Will Arnett, and Will Ferrell also appeared to vie for Michael’s job.
Ultimately, the “search committee” — which consisted of Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein), and Gabe Lewis (Zach Woods) — decided Spader’s eccentric Robert California was the best candidate for the role.
Ironically, Robert California only spent one day in the position. “[Robert] took one look around and left,” Jim explains in a talking head. “He drove down to Florida and convinced Jo to make him CEO. CEO. Her own job. He talked her out of her own job, and I don’t really know how someone does that.”
Angela Kinsey received advice from James Spader that benefitted her parenting and sex life
During part 2 of Kinsey’s talk with Brian Baumgartner on The Office Deep Dive podcast, she mentions some of her favorite guest stars from The Office. Among them are Kathy Bates, Idris Elba, and Spader.
“James Spader [was] one of my all-time favorites,” Kinsey says. “Like Creed, he would say things, and you would be like, ‘Is that a real thing?’ He has lived a life.”
Kinsey says they had their hair and makeup done side by side on the set of The Office. During those times, Kinsey says she received some interesting advice from Spader.
“I was talking to Kenneth Paul, who did my makeup, about my daughter sleeping in bed with me,” Kinsey says. “I knew she was getting older, and I knew I shouldn’t let her crawl into bed with me.”
Kinsey thought she was talking to her makeup artist. But Spader was listening to her the whole time.
“[Spader] sat up and looked at me, and he said, ‘Angela, get that baby out of your bed if you ever want a man in there!'” she recalls. At the time, Kinsey was a single mom raising her daughter.
‘The Office’ cast members felt James Spader didn’t fit in
While Kinsey and the other cast loved working alongside Spader, he didn’t exactly fit in with them behind the scenes. Jenna Fischer remembers Spader wanting to rehearse lines before shooting — something the cast hadn’t done in some time.
And according to Rainn Wilson, Spader could not improvise well. “If you threw [a joke] in [while filming], it would completely throw [Spader],” Wilson explains to Baumgartner in an episode of An Oral History of The Office. “He had no idea what would come next or how to get back to his line.”
Spader’s inability to mesh with the rest of The Office cast behind the scenes is understandable. After all, he joined a cast who had seven seasons to bond.
Still, The Office cast has nothing but respect for Spader. “[He] is a great actor,” Wilson concedes. “He’s one of the great character actors — he’s so present and interesting and odd and deep-feeling but just a very different skill set. His energy just didn’t — and he’s admitted that after the show — it just didn’t fit.”