Imagine What Could Have Been With the Original Casting Sheet for ‘The Office’

We’ve all seen the initial casting options for The Godfather, but what’s even more unfathomable than Dusty Horffamn playing Michael Corleone is the recently revealed original sign-in sheet from the first day of auditions for The Office, a list which is totally cool and hilarious to think about. 

Rainn Wilson posted a photo of the list on Facebook yesterday, saying, "This is the original sign-in sheet for the first day of casting for The Office given to me by Allison Jones, our incredible casting agent…I was the very first person to audition for the series, 11/06/03. Notice all the amazing talent on the sheet, including the amazing #13! This is perhaps the greatest Office keepsake I have. So grateful for the best job I will ever have"—signed "Rain ‘Benedict Cumberbatch’ Wilson."

It’s hard to imagine a Dwight Schrute more ridiculous and wonderful than Wilson but if there was ever man to take it over it’s pretty great to imagine it as UCB legend Matt Besser in the role. Mary Lynn Rajskub was one of the options for Pam, which totally makes sense, but Hamish Linklater has Jim?! Nope! Adam Scott, okay yeah maybe but then would he ever have found his Leslie Knope? 

And where would Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Steve Carell, and whole cast be right now if they handed landed the role? Would Wilson always be remebered as that dud who worked at Rolling Stone in Almost Famous or for his creepy stint as Arthur Martin on Six Feet Under

Take a look below.


Sorry Schrute-Heads, You’re Not Getting An ‘Office’ Spinoff

NBC has taken its sitcoms to some strange places lately, from a veterinary office led by Justin Kirk (Animal Practice, we hardly knew ye) to inside the mind of Ryan Murphy, a land of many stereotypes and occasional unfunny racist remarks. One place NBC will not be going, however, is the rustic landscape of a beet farm in rural Pennsylvania. NBC has pulled the plug on The Farm, a proposed spinoff of The Office focusing on life on Assistant (to the) Regional Manager Dwight Schrute’s family farm and introducing all his wacky family members (now with 100% more Cousin Mose!).

Rainn Wilson and co. shot a pilot for the show, and it may be broadcast this season as something of a bonus episode of The Office, now in its final season and approaching the finish line. Wilson’s response to NBC passing on the show was uncharacteristic of Dwight in its upbeat nature, as he tweeted to fans: "Farm Update: NBC has passed on moving forward with The Farm TV show. Had a blast making the pilot – onwards & upwards!"

But we’ll always have the memories of Dwight Schrute’s many office shenanigans, including one of our favorites, his, Mussolini-inspired speech at the Northeastern Pennsylvania Salesman of the Year ceremony. Blood alone moves the wheels of history. (The video quality is less than stellar, but at least decent enough to relive those classic lines.)

Bryan Cranston to Direct Episode of ‘The Office’

Since the start of the Breaking Bad’s fifth and final season, much as been said about Walter White’s transition from well-intentioned struggling family man meth dealer to the God-complexed absolute evil jerk he has become. Perhaps if a lesser actor than Bryan Cranston were at the helm, we’d now see that shining bald head, weathered face, and maniacal facial hair and look at him with distain or feel, like Skyler, betrayed by the man we trusted and loved. But no matter what Walt does, it’s hard to fully loathe him, because Cranston, the man you know lurking inside, you cannot help but feel the utmost adoration for.

And for someone so intensely devoted in his characters, he still finds time to step out of the spotlight and throw his pork pie hat in the world behind the camera. And it seems his latest endeavor will be guest-directing an episode of The Office. Back in the Malcolm in the Middle days, Cranston directed seven marvelous episodes and has taken on three Breaking Bad ones, as well, including “No Mas,” the infamous post-plane crash episode where Walt impulsively decides to burn his stash of cash. And in a lesser-known fact, Cranston even directed the “Election Day” episode of Modern Family. So there’s really no doubt that whatever he’s doing on The Office will be a raving success.

The news of his Office directorial debut came from Rainn Wilson’s twitter after posting a preciously creepy photo of Cranston sitting on his lap. Also, while the rest of the world spent the post-Breaking Bad evening tweeting about how smug and evil Walter behaved at his impromptu dinner with Skyler and Jesse, Office showrunner Mindy Kaling tweeted away, questioning her sanity over her undeniable love for Walter White and how he is “kind of the sexiest guy ever.” And yeah, we have to agree, she’s pretty right. 






Morning Links: Demi Moore’s Whip-It Problem, ‘The Office’s Dwight Shrute Gets a Spinoff

● Demi Moore’s "seizure like symptoms" are thought to be kick back from all those whip-its — "not a common drug among people of Demi’s age and social status," as per TMZ — she was apparently doing. [TMZ]

● Rumor has it that Gwen Stefani is growing ever the more weary of Gavin Rossedale’s dark past and that, like Vanessa and Johnny and Heidi and Seal before them, divorce is “inevitable.” Memories, they can be inviting, but some are are altogether mighty frightening… [HollywoodLife]

● Lindsay Lohan is being sued for allegedly hitting a woman in a rented Masarati. And just as things were starting to look up. [E!]

● Hearts, but also lungs and kidneys: Justin Bieber helped quadruple organ donor registrations in his hometown of Ontario with but a single tweet. [MTV]

● Doubling up after last weekend’s cash out, 50 Cent has put $1 million down on Eli and the Giants taking the Superbowl. And if they lose, he’s promised to twitpic a dick pic. Birdman, ya hear that? [RapRadar]

● NBC is reportedly planning an The Office spinoff starring Rainn Wilson and set at the much mythologized Shrute family beat farm and R&B. [Deadline]

‘Super”s Ellen Page & Rainn Wilson on Vigilantism, Misogynistic Pigs & Kevin Bacon

Although he appears in 2007’s Juno for just a few minutes, Rainn Wilson’s quip, “This is one doodle that can’t be un-did, Homeskillet,” which he says to Ellen Page’s title character, became one of the most quoted lines from Diablo Cody’s verbose, hilarious, and Academy Award-winning script. (Page was also nominated for an Oscar for her performance as the pregnant and conflicted protagonist.) After spending a day shooting his scenes for Juno in British Columbia, Wilson, now 45, took Page for a drink and cemented their friendship.

When Wilson, most recognizable for his portrayal of Dwight Schrute on NBC’s hit series The Office, met with filmmaker James Gunn to discuss the latter’s balls-out vigilante tale, a midnight-black comedy called Super, they knew the film needed a strong female lead. They were looking for an “Ellen Page type,” but couldn’t quite decide who that was, so instead of scouring agencies for imitations, they went straight to the source. Wilson, who also appears alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Natalie Portman in this month’s Hesher, emailed the 24-year-old Canadian actor to gauge her interest in playing Libby, a comic book store employee who befriends Frank (Rainn Wilson), a scorned everyman who conceives of Crimson Bolt, the superhero alter ego he adopts in his quest to win back his wife (Liv Tyler). Together, Crimson Bolt and Boltie (Libby’s superhero name) do battle with drug-peddling heavies and a sweetly sickening Kevin Bacon. Bolt attacks his targets with a wrench. Boltie runs people over in her car. It’s all very Sam and Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, but with sex and less hairy feet (hers anyway).

From their homes in Los Angeles, Page and Wilson reminisce about spandex and discover their mutual appreciation for Salt.

Were you at all apprehensive about being in such a violent film? ELLEN PAGE: Even though I have a hard time with violence, I didn’t have any reservations about this film. It doesn’t always seep into my brain that—[The sound of a chiming bell indicates that Rainn Wilson has been connected to the conference call.] Fancy you showing up.

RAINN WILSON: I always get on conference calls four minutes late, because it’s not so late that it pisses people off, but it’s just late enough to show how important I am. What are you guys talking about?

We were just acknowledging the violence in Super. RW: I was talking to a friend the other day about that movie with John Cusack where the world gets destroyed—2012? In it, something like five or six billion people die, and it’s the most preposterous thing you’ve ever seen in your life, but no one really talked about the violence in that movie. They just talk about the special effects. In Super, about 11 people die and a few get bashed in the head, but people are so freaked out by the violence. The reason why the violence doesn’t bother me is because I think the movie makes a statement about violence, which has to do with this world where we’re like, Are these people insane or are they heroes? What’s the difference between a vigilante and a superhero? What are the real effects of violence? I don’t want to give anything away, but with Ellen’s adorable character, we really see the consequences of people trying to play superhero. Without the violence, the movie would feel false.

EP: When I did Hard Candy, which is also a vigilante movie, I was constantly getting comments about the violence. Men would chuckle and say, “I don’t want to go anywhere near you!” But every time you turn on the news women are being raped, murdered, and left in dumpsters. It’s the beginning of every Law & Order episode. I don’t know how this happened, but I watched Salt last night, and, sweet Jesus, that lady kills a lot of people. She is just constantly killing people.

RW: In Salt, she blows away 347 people, but it’s a movie about how badass Angelina Jolie looks in leather pants. The camera doesn’t linger on the smoldering, decimated skulls of the people she’s just killed, and it doesn’t show the families weeping at their funerals. image

You know who could die in Super without too many tears? Kevin Bacon’s character. RW: I was 11 years old when I first saw him in Animal House, and he’s always been so memorable in—[A beeping noise indicates that someone has been dropped from the call.]

Did Ellen just hang up? Maybe she didn’t feel like talking about Kevin Bacon. RW: Let’s just come out and say it: Kevin Bacon broke her heart. Seriously, though, I think his characterization is unlike anything we’ve ever seen him play before. He’s so sleazy and charming, and you really just want to put a gun in his mouth. [The chiming bell indicates that Page has been reconnected to the conference call.]

EP: Sorry, sorry! I got knocked off! I’m a huge Kevin Bacon fan—I think any self-respecting person is a Kevin Bacon fan—although I didn’t get to work with him in this movie and I’ve never met him. But I still think I’ve earned the right to say there are zero degrees of separation between us since we’re in the same movie.

Along with Kick-Ass, Super exemplifies a larger trend in film, one that ignores big-budget superhero epics in favor of smaller pictures about regular guys who take it upon themselves to fight crime. Why do you think that is? RW: There are so many superhero films coming out, and there are more and more on the way because they’ve proven to be box-office gold. Get a young star with six-pack abs and put him in a tight outfit, then tell audiences the story of how he discovered he was a superhero and watch the magic happen. Super is a reaction to that. It’s like the real Watchmen, or the underbelly of the superhero tale. Superheroes are like the myths of our time, like our Greek gods, but the way studios package these stories for 14-year-old boys isn’t all that true to their roots.

Having worked together, however briefly, in Juno, was it easier to share scenes in Super? EP: When I trust someone, I’m better able to uninhibitedly pour myself into a character. Rainn and I have a sex scene in the movie that’s kind of delicate—well, not delicate in the way it’s acted out, but delicate for an actor to shoot. I don’t immediately connect to being a sexual predator, so it felt especially strange for me, but it’s so easy when you’re working with someone like Rainn. He takes the craft very seriously, but he doesn’t take himself very seriously. I’m crazy about the guy to the extent that he’s someone I miss, and you don’t always miss, or stay in touch with, your costars.

You two recently joked on Twitter that you’d consider co-starring in a remake of The Bodyguard. What would that version look like? RW: In my low-rent version of The Bodyguard, Ellen Page is the lead singer of a punk band, let’s say Sleater-Kinney, and I’m the doorman at a place like…

EP: Echoplex? Spaceland?

RW: Spaceland! I’m the doorman at Spaceland and she’s a singer in a punk band. I realize that some jilted ex-lover of hers is planning to take her out, but I don’t have a gun or a walkie-talkie in my earbud. All I have as a weapon is…

A clipboard? RW: Yes, that’s right! I’d defend her honor, we’d fall in love, and then we’d make love all night, surround by coyotes, up by the Silver Lake Reservoir tower. EP: It’ll be just like the original, but mixed with a little (500) Days of Summer.

Almost everything we say or do is documented and archived online. You’re both computer-literate, obviously, and so I’m curious to know if you read what’s written about you on blogs. EP: I read some stuff, but not in any OCD manner. My relationship with the internet comes and goes. I think it’s kind of rad that I get to be alive during a time when there’s all this new shit that’s super-relevant and changing things—like YouTube, which made that little kid from Canada ridiculously famous. Who knows if all of this technology is healthy or unhealthy, or what the fuck it all means, but it’s fascinating and I’m curious about it.

RW: When I first created my Twitter account, I read all of the @replies I got. When I started getting known for The Office, I’d read what people were saying on the IMDb message boards, but I got so bummed out by all the negative stuff. Say there’s an online clip of me doing something. If someone enjoys that clip, they’re not going to write anything. It’s only angry, unemployed screenwriters or teenagers from Des Moines with pencils in their butts who anonymously write their hate screeds. My life is so much better than reading about why some pimply fan of the English version of The Office hates me.

EP: As an actor, there came a time in my life when people were suddenly writing about me, which is a weird transition unto itself, realizing that my name somehow resonates with random people I’ve never met. That’s still such a weird concept to me. I’ve read insanely horrible things about myself on the internet, which can be really overwhelming when you’re 21 and it’s about things that are extremely, invasively personal. At one point someone wrote that he would rape me, and I think that’s when I was like, Um, okay, I’m now done reading these things.

RW: Ellen… that was me.

But he feels really bad about it. RW: I’m sorry!

When did you two become friends? EP: I wouldn’t necessarily call us friends. RW: I only spent one day on the set of Juno, but Ellen and I had a great time together. I was such a huge fan of hers because she’s so funny and low-key and real. After that, we stayed in touch. EP: And then we became butt buddies! RW: On set, whenever one of us shouted “butt buddies,” we had to find each other and jump up and down, rubbing our butts together. There’s nothing like butt cheeks and spandex, rubbing up against each other in a friendly, butt buddy kind of way.

Sounds like a Platonic hoot! EP: Who said anything about Platonic?

Mia Wasikowska Covers BlackBook’s ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ Issue

Calling all Brontë purists! Aussie sensation and Jane Eyre star Mia Wasikowska, an actor of considerable depth and poise, covers BlackBook‘s April “Bright Lights, Big City” issue, dressed and styled in homage to fashion icon Twiggy. If we do say so ourselves…mamma Mia! (Don’t worry—you won’t find that pun in the actual issue.) Go here for more photos and the full story on one of this year’s biggest breakout stars. Also in our April issue:

Kim Cattrall, known best to audiences as Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, upends expectations with a darkly comic new indie about an aging porn star; French nightlife baron André Saraiva invites us—and his famous friends—over for a private party; four young stars with major pedigrees—Zoë Kravitz, Max Irons, Lorraine Nicholson, and Grace Gummer—step out of their parents’ shadows; cult filmmaker Werner Herzog enters the abyss to chronicle the birth of art as we know it; Super costars Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page talk about becoming “butt buddies”; New York painting luminary Ryan McGinness invites us inside his Soho studio; aspiring photographer and star of The Beaver Anton Yelchin provides us with the surprisingly dark playlist that makes him click; Japanese menswear designer Mihara Yasuhiro indulges his wild side; and Kathy Griffin considers foot fetishists. Plus, we check in with Yelle, Mario Testino, Hamish Bowles, Nick Zinner, Best Coast, Dan Deacon, Liana Liberato, and Quentin Dupieux! Keep coming back to for more on an issue so bright that you might have to shield your eyes.

SxSW ‘Super’ Interview with James Gunn

Early on the second evening of Austin’s epic SxSW 2011, the eagerly-awaited symphony of spandex otherwise known as Super premiered, with director James Gunn and stars Rainn Wilson and Ellen Paige in attendance. A few days prior, 40-year-old Gunn, who’s 1999 Tromeo and Juliet became a cult hit (Motorhead’s Lemmy narrates the film), talked with me about this bizarre, violent, and remarkably emotional new film about an everyday Joe who decides to become a super.

How would you categorize this film? I went from laughing to being disturbed to nearly crying by the final scenes. Yeah, um… you can’t. I think that’s what we were trying to do: have a lot of emotional responses within one movie. A lot of people want to make things by very strict genre standards, but I notice with my life there isn’t just one genre. One minute it’s a comedy, the next it’s a romance… most times it’s a tragedy. I wanted to make a film that incorporated a little bit of everything. I was influenced a lot by Asian films in that way. They don’t seem to be bound by the confines by the same genre necessities as American films are.

It seems like you focus on different things throughout the film, rather then the plot from scene to scene. We have certain themes in the film and we comment on them from a number of different directions. We have the theme of what it means to be a superhero, the theme of morality, the theme of man’s relationship to god, and the theme questioning exactly what insanity is. We are taking Frank Darbo [Rainn Wilson’s character] and coming at him from as many different angles as we possibly can. It’s more modeled after post-modern fiction then a standard superhero story.

What audience was this film intended for? It seems set in the Midwest and there’s a lot of religious influences as well. Did this play a part? I wasn’t thinking of a particular audience at all. I originally wrote this as a short film and it just kept growing and growing until it became a feature film. To be honest, I never expected to be making this movie at all. By the time I had finished the script, I honestly felt this calling to make this film. The Middle America and God stuff seems more taboo then incest and drugs and sex and violence these days. We have whole movies of people dying from cancer, yet these people never bring up what they think of as God once. I feel like if you have a well-rounded character, that’s something they think about, in some way, shape, or form. Your ex-wife Jenna Fischer had encouraged you to pursue this and make it into a feature. Did this play into Frank’s character trying to chase down his wife in the film? I don’t think it did. Truthfully, I wrote the film while Jenna and I were still married and almost nothing changed from that draft to what’s onscreen. My relationship with Jenna is as a friend today. After it almost got made a couple of times and then it didn’t, she just started riding my ass about why I hadn’t made it yet. She said it was her favorite screenplay I had ever written and suggested bringing Rainn into the mix, as she thought it would be a good role for him. That’s what really got the film started, actually.

Have you heard about the people in and around Seattle who are actually acting like superheroes? Not only have I heard about them, but Rainn and I were just in Seattle a few weekends ago at the Emerald City Comicon where we did a sneak peek of the film. The whole time we had been trying to get a hold of this guy named Phoenix Jones, who is the guy who dresses up as a superhero and patrols neighborhoods there. And while we were doing our panel in front of 700 people, all of a sudden this guy walks in from the back of the crowd and walks though the 700 people to the front, in a full rubber costume.

Isn’t Phoenix Jones wanted by the police? I know he does not have a good relationship with the police. He’d been stabbed the day before, while doing one of his “patrols,” and he’d had his nose broken a little while back.

Well, did he at least like the movie? He didn’t see the movie. He just came to the panel.

The Black List: 10 Things Rainn Wilson Hates About Young Hollywood

In 2009, Rainn Wilson launched, a website devoted to life’s big unknowns—his book of the same name was released in November—but right now, he’d rather get a few things straight. (Who knew that’s where Paris keeps her quarters?) The Office funnyman, who’ll next appear in the stoner drama Hesher and the superhero comedy Super, rips into Young Hollywood, whom he hates.

1. The Young Hollywood Sign, which stands about 1,000 feet from the Hollywood Sign and looks like the Toys “R” Us logo. Ralph Macchio and Lea Thompson, in an act of rage, constructed it in 1988. I hate the Young Hollywood Sign because every time I drive by it, it makes me think about Young Hollywood, whom I hate.

2. Their annoying, sheep-like quoting and carrying around copies of The Sublime Object of Ideology by Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, who once said, of Young Hollywood, “Desire must be created, through the ‘meta-language’ of teaching the voyeur how to desire.” The Žižek fixation in Hollywood has grown so intense that countless young actors, who were previously buff, hairless, and beautiful, are now working overtime to gain 70 pounds, grow messy beards, and wear rumpled, puffy, sleeveless jackets, just like Žižek himself. Wait—I just realized I meant to say Zach Galifianakis, not Slavoj Žižek. Just go back through the entire paragraph and replace “Slavoj Žižek” with “Zach Galifianakis.”

3. The fact that Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Kim Kardashian are now the “grand old dames” of Young Hollywood. They host a weekly salon for up-and-comers where they discuss fashion, career advice, media management, and the care of—and uses for—the anus: change purse, Pez dispenser, Crayola sharpener, brandy snifter, and Señor Wences-style “anus puppet” for entertaining at children’s birthday parties. I attended their salon and left extremely uncomfortable, so now I hate them.

4. Their relentlessly dreamy eyebrows and adorable haircuts that make it so hard for me to stop scribbling “Mr. Rainn Pattinson” all over my notebook. TEAM EDWARD 4-EVAH!!! Seriously, I hate how all the Young Hollywood guys have such big eyebrows. It gives me eyebrow envy. There’s no way those things are real. Look at Zac Efron and tell me those aren’t two strips of John Goodman’s back hair implanted on his forehead. You know who else had big eyebrows? Groucho Marx. I hate him, too.

5. They never share their Lunchables. And if they do, they’ll only give you a cracker or a piece of cheese and not the bologna, which is the best part. All right, I’ll say it—I’m talking about Justin Long. He sat next to me at the People’s Choice Awards and wouldn’t give me a piece of bologna. He’s an evil prick for doing so and I hate him. Otherwise, I think he’s wonderful.

6. The little-known fact that a secret brain trust of Young Hollywood stars, including Channing Tatum, iCarly, and Leighton Meester, engineered the Global Financial Meltdown of 2008. Through their use of trendy social networking websites like “The Facebook” and “YouTubes,” they corralled their brainwashed young fans into using their excess capital to buy and trade mortgage-backed securities, disregarding the whole web of interlinked dependencies, and bringing down the world financial markets. And then their fans were all, like, “Whoa, market crash, gag me with a spoon,” or whatever stupid stuff kids say today. I ran into Channing Tatum at the gym and angrily asked him, “How do you sleep?” He replied, “Butt naked next to your mama.” I found that clever and amusing, but I still hate him.

7. They are too young to remember a time without Saw movies, iPods, Crocs, Big Mouth Billy Bass, ketchup that comes in fanciful colors, Jared the Subway Guy, Elián González, flash drives, Roomba, and the United States in a perpetual state of war—all of which are things I hate passionately. Except for Jared the Subway Guy, who is awesome, and Saw III, which was pretty good.

8. That new fashion style, butt-breezers, where young clubgoers cut the rear ends out of their $300 jeans. They wear pants with the butts cut out. Their butts are literally hanging out as they’re dancing. It’s catching on all over. Seriously. It’s a thing. A fashion thing. If you lived in Hollywood, you’d know. You’d totally see it everywhere. If you haven’t started doing this, you might want to give it a go, as it’s all the rage. Try it! I’m wearing them right now, and—although I hate myself for it—I enjoy the slight “pop” sound my buttocks make whenever I rise from the overstuffed Milano leather chair I’m writing this in.

9. They say things that I don’t understand like “jiggy,” “epic fail,” “pwnd,” “jeggings,” and “scrump-diddly-icious.”

10. The humility.

Photo by Joshua Spencer.

Independent Spirit Award Musical Numbers: We All Win

imageEvery year, on the eve of the Oscars, the Independent Spirit Awards go down in Santa Monica in a tent near the beach. The Spirit Awards do a great job of pretty much awarding all the films Academy members don’t feel okay about voting for, either because they’re not mainstream enough/didn’t make enough money, or because they’re going to give said films the “indie consolation prize,” aka, the Best Original Screenplay award. Either way, they have far more fun at their ceremony than the Academy ever will at the Oscars. The ongoing tradition of the Spirit Awards that really makes it worth watching though (besides the inevitably profanity-laced acceptance speeches) are the musical numbers: all of the films nominated for Best Independent Feature get sing-along numbers performed by special presenters at the live ceremony. And this year’s best of the crop was, naturally, Rainn Wilson’s take on The Wrestler.

Our other two favorite Spirit Award singalongs from previous years: Steve Zahn’s awesome take on the (out-of-context) ridiculousness that is I’m Not There from last year’s ceremony was pretty stellar:

… as was this live music performance by Jesse Bradford and Michelle Trachtenberg about the (awesome) Best Independent Feature, Primer, an uber-low-budget Sundance darling about two friends who invent a time-travel machine.

Chicago Musical Tickets Ambassador Theatre Tickets New York Tickets