‘The Office’: Why Jenna Fischer Hated Being in a Commercial for Universal Studios: ‘It Was Torture’
Before starring on The Office, Jenna Fischer had to take other types of acting gigs to earn some credits to her name. After landing a spot for a theme park commercial, Fischer did not have the experience she expected.
Jenna Fischer heads to Universal Studios
In her 2017 book The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide, Fischer provides advice and tips for struggling actors on everything from casting agencies to conducting yourself on set. The Office alum chronicles her journey to stardom which started with work as an extra.
“I got my first job as an extra on my third day in Los Angeles,” Fischer wrote. “I had barely unpacked and I already had a job! A friend of mine from college worked at Central Casting and heard about a commercial shoot for a new ride at Universal Studios in which non-union extras would earn $100 for the day.”
Ignoring the fact that the job required some non-descriptive “stunts,” Fischer was just eager for the assignment.
“Whatever that meant, we didn’t know. We didn’t care!” the Blades of Glory star said in her book. “This was double the usual non-union rate, so we jumped at the chance. … Everything about the job seemed amazing.”
‘The Office’ star rides a roller coaster
Fischer soon found out the commercial was for the park’s new roller coaster water-based ride inspired by the 1993 film Jurassic Park.
“We were loaded into a little boat and told where to look and when to scream,” she recalled. “The boat took off, and we laughed and screamed as we sped through the water, passing all sorts of giant dinosaurs. Then at the end of the ride, the boat climbed up a giant hill and careened down at breakneck speed, ending in a giant splash. It was really fun.”
Fun, at first. The Office alum revealed that filming the ride the first few times was quite enjoyable, but she never anticipated how long she’d be in that little boat.
“We rode the Jurassic water ride for 12 hours,” Fischer recalled. “Let me say that again: We rode the Jurassic water ride for 12 hours. But that’s not all.”
Jenna Fischer and the ‘water cannon’
The sitcom star went on to describe the elements that were used to make the ride look realistic.
“They had men with hoses spraying us with water along the way,” Fischer wrote. “Warm water? Nope. The water was freezing cold. … Then, at the end of the day … they brought out the ‘water cannon.'”
Apparently this new prop designed to add drama to the commercial was quite effective in evoking emotion.
“The water cannon was as terrifying as a real dinosaur. The man sitting next to me started crying a little to himself,” Fischer revealed. “Just as the water cannon boomed, he leaned far back in his seat. As a result, I got blasted in the face with a giant, icy-cold water cannonball. It hurt. It was torture. … The CIA should consider the Jurassic method because, by the end, I was ready to name names, any name, to get me off that damn ride.”
Fischer admits the experience has resulted in lingering effects, admitting, “Even now, when my family comes to town and wants to go to Universal Studios, I can’t ride that ride.”