‘The Office’: This Star Thought ‘This F*cking Sucks’ When the Show Came To America
‘The Office Deep Dive’ podcast
In the summer of 2020, Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin Malone on The Office, started An Oral History of The Office. The podcast featured interviews with the cast, writers, and crew who worked on the comedy series, giving fans an insider look at what it took to create the show. Many fans loved the podcast so much that they wanted more.
Now, Baumgartner is back with a brand new podcast — The Office Deep Dive. Much like his initial project, Baumgartner is once again talking to the cast and crew of The Office. But this time, each episode features a one-on-one, in-depth interview. So far, Baumgartner has released episodes featuring Rainn Wilson, who played Dwight Schrute, and writer Greg Daniels.
‘The Office’ is based on a British series
The American version of The Office is based on the British source material of the same name starring Ricky Gervais as David Brent — the inspiration for Steve Carell’s Michael Scott. Gervais worked with Stephen Merchant on the original series, which lasted two seasons on BBC Two.
“Were you aware of the British version of The Office, [before being cast]?” Baumgartner asked Wilson during the episode.
“I was,” Wilson replied. He mentioned a friend of his who had “advanced copies” of the show.
“We went over on a special occasion [to watch] The Office,” Wilson explained. “We were blown away.” Wilson considers himself one of the first “couple thousand” people in the United States to have ever seen the comedy series.
Rainn Wilson was mad about ‘The Office’ being Americanized
During his conversation with Baumgartner, Wilson recalled the moment he learned NBC got the rights to produce The Office for American audiences. NBC executive Vernon Sanders shared the good news with Wilson, who replied: “Oh, great!” But internally, Wilson had an entirely different reaction.
“Inside I was like, ‘Motherf*cker! Dammit, this f*cking sucks,'” Wilson said. “Because I love the British Office so much. I didn’t have an idea of what the American Office would be or what role I would play or anything like that, but inside I was kicking myself.”
Ironically, Wilson went on to become one of the most beloved characters on The Office.
Many fans love Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute
“The universe works in mysterious ways, Brian,” Wilson said before diving into what made his role on The Office so lovable.
“[When] people ask me about playing Dwight, I always say that I think my goal was to make Dwight very specific,” Wilson started. “[I wanted] Dwight [to] have a pager or stand a certain way, drive a certain way, sit in his chair a certain way — have certain attitudes about certain things that are very specified.”
The physicality Wilson brought to the role is part of the reason The Office fans love Dwight so much. In addition to Dwight’s physical aspects, there are specific personality traits that make him so appealing as a character.
“If you think about it, there’s a lot of elements that go into the creation of Dwight,” he continued. “Heavy metal, muscle car…Battlestar Galactica fan.”
By giving Dwight these specific characteristics, the more human he appeared to viewers — and the more lovable he became.