INT: Jenna Fischer

I have a confession to make. I'm in love with Jenna Fischer. Actually, that's not much of a confession. I mean, what straight male isn't in love with Jenna Fischer? If you just said, "Me," then you obviously haven't seen the U.S. version of TV's "The Office". But alas, we're not here to talk about "The Office" (although much of that did commence during the interview), we're here to talk about BLADES OF GLORY. It's Jenna's exciting venture from the small screen to the big screen. Based on the size of the screen alone, that's like 10 times the hotness right there. And if you take into account that she plays a seductress with minimum amounts of clothing, that just blasts the hotness levels off the charts.

I'll admit, I was more than a little nervous getting the chance to meet someone who plays a character so dear to my heart (Pam from "The Office", that is). Less because of the butterflies in my stomach and more because I didn't want to destroy the image I had of her if she turned out different than I expected. And as the fates would have it, she did turn out different than I expected... But by that, I mean she was even cooler than I ever could've imagined!

With that realization swarming inside my head, it was more than a little hard to mutter anything other than, "Hubbalah maaahhh nyuuunnnaaa... Can I get your number?" But, I went ahead anyway and gave it my best. She returned the favor wonderfully. On top of discussions about some of the more crazy experiences working on GLORY and what it was like writing/directing her relatively unseen movie LOLLILOVE, she was also happy to oblige the incessant pestering of "Office"-related questions. Enjoy. And don't forget to mark your calendars, because BLADES OF GLORY comes out Friday, March 30th.

Jenna Fischer

This is pretty much your first big movie out of the gate, after the huge success of 'The Office.' How did it come about?

Well, it kind of goes like this - your agent calls you up and they're like, 'So there's this movie with Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jon Heder... Would you like to read the script?' And you say, 'I don’t think I need to read that script. I think I know already that I want to be in that movie.' Kinda went like that. You know, when I was offered the part to be in this movie, 'The Office' wasn’t really 'The Office' yet. I just felt lucky to be included.

So 'The Office' hadn’t come out yet?

It had come out but it didn’t have all the ratings, it didn’t have the popularity, it didn’t have the Emmy... it didn’t have any of that stuff yet. So this was a big exciting gig for me. It still is. I mean, I'm still the new girl in town.

So you're getting a lot of offers now for other movies?

Now, I'm getting more offers. Yeah. Now it's been really good.

Is it hard to find time though?

Yeah, because I work on 'The Office' eight months out of the year. Twelve hours a day. Five days a week. And then on the weekends, you do stuff like this. So there's not a lot of extra time to mess around. But, you know, we get a good four months off in the summer, and then we all just fight to get a good movie deal.

Are you getting offered comedies mostly?

Comedies for the most part, yeah. Some more dramatic roles. You know, more like a dramedy. Not everything is a high concept comedy.

Is that something you're interested in pursuing? Are there other genres you're interested in playing around with?

Not so much. I'm kind of sensitive in that I bring the energy of what I'm doing home with me. You know, I would much rather have that comedic energy in my life. Because I think doing dramas would really weigh on me. That would be a big choice for me, to do a drama, because then I'd be inviting a kind of darkness...

And you're married to a horror director, right?

Yup, married to a writer/director, who makes horror movies [Note: James Gunn who directed last year's SLITHER]. That's enough darkness. We often sit and discuss at dinner new and interesting ways to kill people.

Any good deaths in particular?

Oh, that's a hard one. There was a death from 'Dawn of the Dead' that didn't get shot. It was a zombie dog sequence, but it was too expensive. Basically those guys send their dog out to go get guns from the guy who's living in the building across the street, and what happened was, they had not just one dog - they had many dogs, from the pet store - and all the people are on the roof cheering, 'It's working, it's working. Look, the dogs are coming back.' And then all of sudden you heard a rumble, and this horde of zombie dogs descended on the pack of living dogs, and started ripping them apart. And only one lone dog made it back with guns. That was brilliant.

Dog on dog violence.

Yes! Because in the zombie world, you eat your own kind. So that’s why you could send a dog out to get things for you, because a zombie person isn’t going to eat a dog, its only going to eat a person.

You're so knowledgeable about this stuff.

Yeah, I can tell you a lot.

Ever considered writing something like that yourself?

No, I would never write anything. It's awful. Very painful, to create something from nothing. I much prefer being an actor, and working from a page of written material.

But I saw 'LolliLove,' and I thought that was great.

Thank you!

So you're not going to do anything like that anymore?

I'm never ever going to do anything that again. I loved doing 'LolliLove.' I thought it was cool, it was a great experience. But that came out of the frustration being a non-working actor. I just wanted to work, so I made that film during the weekends, on my free time, with my friends. For five years, it took to finish.

So that was way before 'The Office?'

It was before 'The Office,' yeah. But then we were editing it, and re-shooting it, and it ended up coming out on DVD after 'The Office.'

Was that because of the success of the show?

A little bit, yeah. I think that’s why Trauma put it out on DVD, because of 'The Office.' But we made it for our own amusement. And my wildest dream come true is that people might pass it around to their friends. So the fact that it's on DVD, and people are actually watching it...

Can you get it on Amazon?

I think you can, or you can Netflix it. And it's at Tower, and Virgin Megastore.

Going back to 'Blades,' we get to see a different side of you in this film...

The naked side of me. [Laughs]

Yeah, you get to play a bit of a seductress. Can we look forward to a Maxim spread anytime soon?

No, I don't think you're going to see me in Maxim or Stuff or anything like that. I think that it always looks so desperate. 'Like me, like me.' It bums me out. If I take my clothes off, it's going to be for comedic effect.

So I bet the boob scene was fun...

No, but when you shoot a scene like that, on screen it's two minutes. In reality it's twelve hours. And after seven hours of constant boob-play, it's like, 'C'mon... c'mon...' I mean, it was great for the first three to four to five hours, but it starts to get, 'Seriously!' You know, give a girl a break. No, it was fine. Will [Ferrell] could not have been nicer.

He seems to fit quite well as the boob-playing kind of guy.

Definitely. If you have an opportunity for Will Ferrell to play with your boobs... He's very good.

How about that first kiss scene with Jon Heder?

That was about five hours. Five hours of kissing. And my memory of that is that he tasted like snow cones. 'Cause he ate a snow cone and then I kissed his face. Our whole goal with that was, because all it said in the script was, 'They kiss.' And we were like, 'I dunno. These are two people who have never kissed anyone in their lives, and it's their first kiss, and they're fairly late in life experiencing their first kiss. So what is that going to look like? Ok, so Jon's going to keep his mouth closed, but kiss... and I'm going to open my mouth and French kiss the outside of his face. Like really graphically and passionately.' So that's what we did. And that was our take on the best worst kiss.

And in one scene - it was actually another scene at the end of the movie - where Jon Heder and I are kissing, the director kept coming over to us take after take, he was like, 'Okay you guys, this is the final kiss of the movie, so really go for it. Really go for it!" And we're like, 'Okay!' So we kept going for it, and then he kept coming over going, 'No, really go for it! Like, really passionately go for it!' And I'm like, 'Alright,' and Jon Heder's like, 'Mmhmm.' So we just kept doing it, and finally the director came over and goes, 'What I'm trying to say is, you need to use your tongues.' And we were like, 'Ohhh.' He's like, 'You keep opening your mouths, but I can tell your stage kissing.' Because, you know on the first kiss, Jon's mouth is closed, so that's basically just me licking his face. But our first kiss-kiss was in that final scene of the movie, and we were so innocent. Jon and I had never done that before, we'd never had a real, passionate on-screen kiss. So we were completely stage kissing, open mouth but shoving our own tongues back so we didn't offend the other person. I'm sure that footage is interesting.

Do you improvise scenes at all?

Not as much as these guys. My take on it is, just being a really, really good receiver - a great catcher. These guys are really good at pitching, and I'm a really good catcher. That’s where I try to hone my craft. Just keep the ball rolling, and help them be as funny as possible. I'm not going to out-clever them. I'm just not going to out-funny Will Ferrell any time soon.

Was there anybody in the 'Blades' cast you were really excited about meeting?

Well I'm a huge 'Arrested Development' fan, so I just did my best to not freak out on Will Arnett for as long as possible. And then finally I broke down and I was like, 'So, um, uh... [Talking fast] My favorite episode is Afternoon Delight in season two. Was that your favorite episode to shoot? Because it's the one where you keep putting the holes in wall with your pool cue, and they sing the karaoke, and what was it like working with all those people?' So I kinda did that to him around week two. I was a little bit terrified making this movie the whole time. On 'The Office,' we all came up together. We were all just fresh, new kids on the block. And then I went and did this movie with all these people I knew, who I had admired for so long. So I was intimidated and scared pretty much the entire time.

In 'The Office,' Pam is sort of meant to be a plain-looking character. Are you happy to get away from that for a bit to play more of a prettied-up, sexual character?

No, I truly love that my job on 'The Office' is not in any way vanity-based. It was so great as an actress to get cast for a reason other than you have to look hot everyday. It's such a pleasure to get to work and it only takes forty minutes to scrunch my hair into that horrible girl-mullet, and they put barely any make-up on me, and the slouchy sweaters... I just don't have to be obsessed with what I look like everyday. And that is truly, truly awesome.

And 'The Office' is contracted for up to six seasons?

Yeah. When you get cast on a TV show, you sign away your life for something like six or seven years.

With his status in film stardom increasing, do you think Steve Carell will want to continue doing the show for its duration?

I know he's going to be around for a long time. It's weird when people say, 'Oh, Steve's not going to wanna do the show anymore.' He's so into the show. He wrote an episode last year, and he wanted to write an episode this year but didn't have the time... Steve's always the one who goes, 'Yeah, listen guys. This only happens once in a lifetime. You do not take this for granted.' He's always the one who's lecturing us on, 'You gotta know what you have... You gotta know what you have.' It's kind of sweet, because nobody's going to out-diva Steve Carell. The more humble he is, it keeps us in our place.

You've had some celebrity directors come in for the show, haven't you?

Yeah, J.J. Abrams. We've had Joss Whedon. Right now Harold Ramis is directing three of our episodes. It's kind of awesome. I get to hang out with Harold Ramis all day.

When are those airing?

His first one aired. It was the Christmas episode. And then he did two more. He did an episode where Michael goes up on the roof for most of the episode, and we just did an episode where Michael takes us on a beach day, but instead makes us participate in 'Survivor'-like activities.

Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant (the creators of the original 'Office') just did an episode... Is there any concern over them changing the show?

No. No. Steven Merchant is the biggest fan of our show. It's adorable. Whenever he's in town, he comes by and just hangs out with us, talks to the writers. He's a huge fan of the Jim-Pam storyline. I've since gotten to meet all of the cast members on the British show. And actually, I've become fairly good friends with Lucy Davis, who plays Dawn on the British show. All of them are incredibly supportive of our version of the show.

Any moments on 'The Office' you're particularly proud of?

I'm most happy with my performance in the episode that Joss directed, it was the one with the art school. It is a brilliant episode. That shot of Pam standing in front of her art, not talking, was an added shot that Joss came up with that he was really passionate about. I think it's one of the most beautiful portraits of Pam Beesly that we've ever had.

Does it take a lot of work to keep up your Myspace page?

I hardly keep it up now, is the truth. It's gotten a little overwhelming. When we are on the set of 'The Office,' we sit at our desks for about ten hours a day in the background. And it can be incredibly boring. About two of my five days are sitting doing background work. So myself and some of the other actors decided to set up Myspace pages, also as a way when the show is really struggling to kind of beef up interest. [When starting a show like this], you don't know if you're reaching people. So it's really fun to geek out with people online.

But now you are reaching people.

Yeah, now we know that we're reaching people, and it's fun for me to give people who are like super-fans of the show that exclusive behind-the-scene photo or that little tidbit/factoid about the show. Because, you know, we weren't born stars of television shows. I grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri, the daughter of a schoolteacher and an engineer. So to be now in Hollywood living the dream, it's kind of fun to let people see behind the curtain a little bit. That's what my blogs are about.

And you also have contests...

Oh, I'm going to give a big prize to my 10,000th friend. I'm collecting swag, and I'm going to send them an awesome piece of swag.

[Editor's Note: You want swag? Check out her Myspace page HERE]

Got questions? Got comments? Send me a line at: [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com



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