‘The Office’: Jim’s Talking Head Shots Were Filmed Differently on Purpose
Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) is one of the most beloved characters on The Office. His ability to prank Dwight (Rainn Wilson) made him hilarious, but Jim’s persistence in winning over Pam (Jenna Fischer) kept viewers coming back for more.
You may not have noticed, but Jim’s “talking head” shots — the interviews where he looked right into the camera — were filmed differently. Find out what was unique about them and why showrunners portrayed Jim in this way.
Brian Baumgartner is giving ‘The Office’ fans behind the scenes access
Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin Malone in the series, started a podcast titled An Oral History of The Office. He’s on a journey to uncover why people love The Office so much.
In speaking with his castmates, crew members, and showrunners, Baumgartner is learning a lot. And he’s revealing what he learns to fans! Whether it’s stories from the actors’ auditions or the show’s creators talking about their filming decisions, the podcast gives fans behind-the-scenes access to the magic of The Office.
John Krasinski’s role as Jim made ‘The Office’ relatable
Jim is one of Krasinski’s most iconic roles to date. Over the course of nine seasons, the once unmotivated paper salesman became a co-owner in a company called Athlead and the best man to Dwight Schrute, who was once his mortal enemy.
But more than that, Jim was vital in connecting viewers to what was going on at Dunder Mifflin — a place that felt all too real at times.
“I was the window to the audience,” Krasinski explained during episode 3 of Baumgartner’s podcast. “I was the character who, right when you were thinking this is all ridiculous, would turn to you and go, ‘You’re right, this is all ridiculous’ or I would load it like, ‘Wait until you see what’s about to happen.'”
Jim was the character who had the most significant relationship with the camera. He was the connection between viewers and what was going on at Dunder Mifflin. Jim made the show feel so real and so relatable to so many.
Jim’s talking heads had a special meaning
“Talking heads” are the shots in the conference room where the employees speak directly into the camera.
Randall Einhorn worked as a camera operator on The Office. Talking to Baumgartner, he explained the difference between Jim’s talking heads and the rest of the characters on the show.
“Everybody was shot pointing into the office, where Leslie was sitting — so in front of Stanley — except for Jim,” Einhorn said. “I thought that Jim was the one person who was going to leave that place and had something bigger that [he] wanted to do.”
Jim’s position for interviews had put his future literally within sight. This was Einhorn’s way of poetically hinting at what was ahead. A future with Pam, and a future outside of Dunder Mifflin in a career that he loved.
Eventually, when Jim and Pam got together, Pam’s talking heads changed to reflect her brighter future. “Jim and Pam got in front of the windows because they were both going to leave this place and go to someplace better,” Einhorn added.
And that’s exactly what they did! Thoughtful decisions, like how to film Jim’s interviews, are part of what makes The Office such a remarkable show.