‘The Office’: Who the Actors Were Really Talking To in Their Talking Head Interviews
The Office is famous for its documentary-style filming. So talking head interviews are a big part of the show. In a 2008 interview, Jenna Fischer (who played Pam) revealed who The Office actors are really speaking to when they film their talking heads.
‘The Office’ cast would act with the camera operator
Throughout the entirety of The Office it’s common for the show’s characters to make direct eye contact with the camera. But, according to Fischer, the actors weren’t just acting to a machine, they were acting to a camera operator named Randall Einhorn.
“Is there an actor behind there that you can kind of, like, interact with?” asked NPR‘s Terry Gross. “Or is it just, like, the camera with a camera person?”
“When we’re just shooting the show and it’s a scene, the camera operator is this man named Randall Einhorn,” responded Fischer. “And he’s our director of photography. And we will look at him, we’ll give him the look, or we’ll look into the camera at him. And he’s become another character or another actor on the show to us. So, we do actually act with him.”
Einhorn had a soft spot for Pam. Fischer said whenever she’d smile at the camera in character, he’d always smile back.
“It’s really cute – whenever Pam smiles at the camera, Randall can’t help but smile back,” Fischer said in 2008. “The man, Randall, smiles at you while he’s holding the camera. And there are scenes that we’ve done that have been really touching. And you’ll look at Randall, and he’ll be, you know, sort of teared up.”
Who ‘The Office’ actors are speaking to in their talking heads
But when The Office actors are doing their talking head interviews, they’re not just speaking to the camera operator. They’re actually being interviewed by the director of the episode.
“When we shoot our talking heads – our interview segments – the director of the episode serves as our documentarian for that week,” explained Fischer.
One director that the cast was “particularly attached to is Ken Kwapis.” He directed the very first episode of The Office, as well as some of the show’s most monumental moments, like when Jim finally asks Pam out to dinner.
“When Jim burst into the conference room while Pam’s giving an interview, and he finally asks her out on a date, I turned to the camera. And in the moment that they used, I’m sort of tearing up,” Fischer said of filming Season 3’s “The Job.” “And the reason that I teared up was because when I looked back at the camera, I saw Ken Kwapis. And he – his eyes were full of tears. And he smiled at me and gave me a little wink, like, that’s right. You finally got what you wanted, sweetie.”