‘The Office’: Rainn Wilson Went ‘Full Out’ Dwight in This Very Physical Cold Open
The Office has some memorable cold opens that pack a lot into a small amount of time. In The Office Season 2, Episode 17 titled “Dwight’s Speech,” a spontaneous football game breaks out in the office. And, according to co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, Rainn Wilson went “full out” for the scene during which some people got pushed around.
‘Office Ladies’ podcast gives the behind-the-scenes scoop
During a recent installment of the Office Ladies podcast, Fischer and Kinsey dive into the “Dwight’s Speech” episode, beginning with that very physical opening scene.
Michael and Dwight are throwing a football, discussing something about corporate. And then things really escalate quickly, resulting in Dwight pushing Ryan (B.J. Novak), Angela (Kinsey), and Stanley (Leslie David Baker) to the ground and shoving Creed (Creed Bratton).
“I will never forget this cold open. Do you want to know why?” Kinsey asks. “So Jim steals the ball, he tosses it to Phyllis, Phyllis tosses it to Creed. … Dwight runs over in only the way that Rainn Wilson would do.”
“Rainn is … he goes full out, guys. If the script says ‘tackle,’ ‘shove,’ you’re gonna go flying because Rainn as Dwight is like all in,” she explains. “So he tackles Ryan to the ground, he shoves the heck out of Creed, and then he runs towards Leslie David Baker, who is standing by accounting. What you cannot see is there is a petite blonde person standing behind him.”
The scene played rougher than it was rehearsed
While a stunt coordinator choreographed the scene before it was filmed, it turned a bit more physical than was rehearsed.
“Rainn runs at Leslie and like Heismans him, basically, really gives him the stiff-arm shove. Leslie was not expecting it. It wasn’t really in the script that he was going to shove Leslie,” Kinsey shares.
She continues, “Let me tell you something, Leslie was not ready for that shove. … Rainn came at him full throttle and shoved him. Leslie went flying, he lost his balance completely. He went almost butt-over-head, but there was someone directly behind him: a tiny blonde person.
“So when Leslie lost his balance he started steamrolling back and I was under that,” Kinsey explains.
“It’s crazy because I remember that we practiced that forever and I kind of remember it because all I do is sit at the reception desk,” Fischer recalls, wondering if she needed to be there at all.
Angela wasn’t supposed to be part of the scene
Kinsey goes on to share how sometimes, as in this scene, accounting characters would come out from their desks for reaction shots.
“Leslie did not think he was going to fall. He did not fall in any of the rehearsals. … He wasn’t shoved that hard,” Kinsey notes. “So Leslie went flying and collided into me, and then rolled backwards on top of me.”
“And after the take, everyone was like, ‘Oh my god, Creed! Are you OK?’ ‘BJ, are you OK?’ And then they were like, ‘Oh my god, Leslie!’ because Leslie really went down hard. They’re like, ‘Leslie, are you OK?’ They pulled Leslie up, and Oscar goes, ‘Oh my god … Angela?'”
Kinsey points out that Stanley is no longer in that scene about five seconds later. “I don’t know how it went down, but I think he got knocked down and then got up and was like, ‘Nope!'” Kinsey notes.
The pair reiterated that the football toss was planned, but Fischer adds, “Angela getting squashed was not planned.”