‘The Office’: Rainn Wilson Gives a Subtle Hint When He Improvises and It’s Obvious in This Dwight and Michael Scene
The cast of The Office had many opportunities to improvise lines and a lot of those genius improv moments made it into episodes. During the Office Ladies podcast, hosts Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey always shine a light on those unscripted moments and, in the latest podcast episode, they share how it’s easy to tell when Rainn Wilson improvises.
‘Office Ladies’ discuss the ‘Branch Closing’ episode
During the July 8 episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Fischer and Kinsey dive into season 3 episode 7 “Branch Closing,” in which the Scranton office workers find out their branch is closing, some people will be transferred to Stamford, and others will lose their jobs.
When Stamford branch manager Josh Porter reveals he got a senior management position with Staples, Dunder Mifflin corporate decides to close the Stamford office instead and the employees from that office will join the Scranton folks in the next episode, “The Merger.”
Rainn Wilson had a tell when he improvised
During the podcast, Fischer and Kinsey shared some insider info about how you can tell when Wilson, who played Dwight, had improvised a line during a scene.
In one scene in the episode, Michael is distraught about the news of Scranton closing but can’t tell anyone and is walking around the office. Dwight can tell something is wrong.
Fischer calls it one of her favorite talking heads from the episode when Dwight says, “When you become close with someone, you develop a kind of sixth sense. You can read their moods like a book. Right now the title of Michael’s book is ‘Something Weird Is Going On… colon… What Did Jan Say? The Michael Scott Story. By Michael Scott with Dwight Schrute.’”
How you can tell Wilson improvised
Fischer pointed out that it was an unscripted moment and that Wilson displays a subtle clue when he improvises. “That last part is not in the script and I could kind of tell that there was an improv there because whenever Rainn improvs at the end of a talking head or the end of a scene, I feel like you can see him smile, just a little bit, in the corners of his mouth and his eyes,” she explained.
She also shared that she reached out to Mike Schur, who wrote the episode. “He told me that he and Rainn expanded on the book title on the day, on set. They kept throwing out ideas. The original was just supposed to be ‘Something Weird Is Going On: What Did Jan Say?” and Mike threw out ‘The Michael Scott Story’ and then Rainn added, ‘With Dwight Schrute,” Fischer noted.
Kinsey added that they all have tells as actors. “And Rainn, when he has an improv that I think he’s really happy with, has a little bit of a smirk. He’s kind of proud of the moment,” she noted.
“He amuses himself in the moment while saying it,” Fischer added.
You can catch another Wilson improv later in the episode
The Office Ladies hosts revisited Wilson’s subtle tell during an improvised moment later in the “Branch Closing” episode in a scene with Dwight and Michael.
Michael is trying to keep the news of the branch closing secret, but blurts it out, saying, “It’s over. We are screwed. Dunder Mifflin Scranton is being shut down.”
Toby says he knew the closing was going to happen and Michael calls him a traitor and says he wants to talk with him in his office. Toby trudges along and Michael comments how he walks so slowly.
“None of that part of him calling Toby into his office was scripted,” Fischer shared. “So that whole bit of him calling Toby in his office, say he’s walking slowly, and then Dwight guarding the door and putting his hand up to the camera, none of that was in the script.”
Kinsey pointed out that in the scene it’s obvious that Wilson was improvising. “When he won’t let the camera crew in and he shuts the door, he has the smirk,” she noted.