Phyllis Smith was a casting assistant for The Office. Oddly enough, Smith never actually auditioned for the show — she was cast by chance. Still, being in the comedy series is one of the highlights of Smith’s life.
Playing Phyllis Lapin Vance wasn’t always glamorous, though. There’s one scene that sticks out for Smith that she feels crossed a line.
Brian Baumgartner feels Kevin Malone and Phyllis Lapin Vance were the ‘butt’ of many jokes on ‘The Office’
Brian Baumgartner played Kevin Malone on The Office. Recently, the actor has conducted interviews with his fellow cast and crew on his podcast The Office Deep Dive. On Apr. 20, he released his interview with Smith.
“Phyllis and Kevin were the butt of a lot of jokes,” Baumgartner admitted on the podcast. Smith agreed, which made Baumgartner wonder if his castmate took offense to that.
Smith said: “No.” However, there is one scene that sticks out as crossing the proverbial line for the actor.
Phyllis Smith felt carrying Angela Kinsey in the finale of ‘The Office’ crossed the line
After being trapped in a car trunk the night before her wedding, Angela (Angela Kinsey) had trouble walking. “Thanks for not locking the door when I asked you to, Phyllis,” she says in the scene before apologizing. By the end of the series, Phyllis and Angela formed a friendship — one that warranted Phyllis getting her to the altar by any means possible.
Though the moment was sweet, filming the scene where Phyllis had to carry Angela down the aisle physically crossed a line for Smith. “When they wanted me to carry Angela on my back in the finale, I thought, ‘OK, that’s a little much.'”
Smith was unsure “physically” how the scene would play out. Fortunately, The Office‘s production crews “took care of that” with “stunts and boards.”
“I actually carried her once or twice down the aisle,” she added. “But that was just a tinge to my feeling, ‘Oh, that’s a little bit over the [line.]” Fortunately, that was one of the only times Smith felt that way while filming The Office.
Brian Baumgartner tells ‘The Office’ showrunners he’s ‘not a cartoon character’ after the physical demands of the role
Smith wasn’t the only actor who felt some of what she was asked to do crossed the line. “It was either season 7 or season 8,” Baumgartner began. In discussing the show moving forward without Steve Carell, someone told Baumgartner: “We can’t lose Kevin because now that Michael’s gone, we have nobody else to do really stupid things.”
In the later seasons of The Office, Baumgartner’s role was tasked with “a bunch of physical stuff.” The one scene that stuck out was when Kevin, Jim (John Krasinski), Dwight (Rainn Wilson), and Erin (Ellie Kemper) loaded a warehouse truck with the help of some grease.
“There were a few times I went to [showrunners] and said, ‘Guys, I am not a cartoon character,'” Baumgartner recalled. “There are physical limitations.'”
Regardless of the physical hoops both Smith and Baumgartner felt they had to jump through, both actors had a blast filming The Office. At the end of her interview, Smith broke down crying and said: “It was one of the best parts of my life.”