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Fans of The Office knew that Jim and Pam were soulmates from the beginning — a good sign that the show got the casting undeniably right. On the podcast An Oral History of The Office, Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin Malone, explored the stories behind how the cast was selected.

Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly and John Krasinski as Jim Halpert on 'The Office'
Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly and John Krasinski as Jim Halpert on ‘The Office’ | Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Fischer felt like she got the part of Pam

Jenna Fischer knew without a doubt that she nailed her audition. During episode 2 of An Oral History of The Office podcast, Fischer explained how she was confident about her initial audition for Pam. Her hunch about nailing it checked out because producer Greg Daniels remarked, “She doesn’t appear to be acting. She appears to simply be Pam.”

“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.”

Krasinski was less sure about landing Jim

Krasinski said he was “extremely nervous” and had an exchange with Daniels about the show while he was waiting for his audition. Daniels asked if Krasinski was nervous, “And I said, no, you know, you either get these things or you don’t, but I’m terrified for the person creating the show because I mean, I just feel like Americans have such a track record of taking brilliant shows and ruining them,” the actor noted. “And he goes, I’ll try not to, my name’s Greg Daniels. I’m the executive producer.”

That honesty played in his favor. “Later, I remember Greg saying, I’ll never forget that you told me that. It really helped your audition, ’cause you were really honest. And I remember — that’s a vibe that I want on this show. Someone who will be honest and make sure that we’re all doing good work,” Krasinski recalled.


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They had instant chemistry

The next round of auditions involved pairing up the actors for screen tests to see if they had chemistry. For Krasinski and Fischer, there was an immediate connection.

“I remember Jenna Fisher walking in, and as soon as she crossed the threshold on the door, I was like, well, that’s it like, that is exactly who should play Pam,” Krasinski recalled. He also knew that if he got in the room with her he might have a chance at playing Jim.

When Krasinski was finally called in he saw Fischer. “And I walked in and I saw that it was Jenna. And I was like, Oh my god, if, if I’m auditioning, with her I’m back, you have a shot,” he explained.

After they did their scene, Krasinski told her he knew she was going to get the part and she thought the same of him. Fischer further explained the idea of chemistry and how Krasinski was the perfect Jim to her Pam.

“People ask a lot about chemistry. What is chemistry? Chemistry means that there was no other person who made me feel more like Pam than John Krasinski when he was being Jim, there was something completely effortless about being Pam when I was around him. And not only did I think he was the best Jim, I thought I can do the best job as Pam, if he’s Jim,” she explained.