‘The Office’: Why a Writer Feared Rainn Wilson Broke His Castmate’s Back

Even years after it went off the air, The Office is still considered to be one of the best TV comedies of all time. Part of what makes the show so successful is the different types of comedy that the cast utilizes on the show. Certainly, the show boasts sharp wit and a darker, more European style, deadpan comedy, but its characters also utilize a ton of physical comedy as well. A good example of the latter is Michael Scott burning his foot on a George Foreman grill in an episode called “The Injury.”

The Office cast member Rainn Wilson
Rainn Wilson | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Of course, actors have to practice caution when doing more intense versions of physical comedy because there’s a greater risk for real injury. If a stunt isn’t executed correctly, it could have disastrous consequences. Fortunately, nobody in the cast of The Office ever got seriously hurt while filming the nine seasons of the show. However, in Season 7 a writer feared that Rainn Wilson (who famously played Dwight K. Schrute) has broken another cast member’s back.

‘Dwight K. Schrute (Acting) Manager’

Fans of The Office will have no trouble remembering the episode “Dwight K. Schrute (Acting) Manager.” Shortly after Michael moves to Colorado to be with Holly, his replacement, Deangelo, is left brain dead thanks to a basketball injury. The office is left without leadership and when Jim passes on the opportunity to be acting manager because the paper company is functioning just fine without one, Dwight is offered the role.

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Of course, Dwight accepts the opportunity, as being Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton has been his dream for years. He enforces strict rules, but makes a huge faux pas when he accidentally fires a gun in the office. Though nobody is seriously injured, his coworkers blackmail him into doing things for them lest they tell their boss, Jo Bennett about how Dwight has erred.

Rainn Wilson recalls filming a hilarious stunt for ‘The Office’

One thing that Dwight was tasked with doing was massaging Kevin’s back. The scene is particularly hilarious and memorable because Wilson climbs up on the file cabinets and uses them as leverage to really massage him. In an interview with Office Tally, Wilson admitted that he had to be careful while doing that scene because Brian Baumgartner, who was cast in the role of Kevin, has a bad shoulder

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“It was definitely a big workout for my core to get up that high on those cabinets!” Wilson confessed about filming that episode of The Office. “We had a blast. Brian has a bad shoulder so it was hard for me to not put pressure on his left shoulder. I love it when I recoil and say ‘Ugh, it’s so moist!'”

Why a writer for ‘The Office’ though Wilson had broken his castmate’s back

Though Wilson managed not to exacerbate Baumgartner’s injury, Justin Spitzer (who wrote the iconic episode of The Office) confessed in the same interview that he feared Wilson had broken his castmates back after hearing a loud cracking sound.

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“I couldn’t stop laughing – each take, they committed to more than the last,” The Office writer shared. “I did have one nervous moment when I heard something that sounded like a crack – I think it’s the take they used, actually – and for a moment, I thought Brian had broken his back. Or rather, that Rainn had broken Brian’s back.” Fortunately, nobody was injured in making the episode. But it seems like Baumgartner got one heck of a back massage.