Jenna Fischer: Keeping It Real At 'The Office' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Jenna Fischer: Keeping It Real At 'The Office'

Play associated audio

This interview was originally broadcast on June 3, 2008.

For nearly a decade, Jenna Fischer has played Pam, one of The Office's most recognizably real characters.

If you've ever worked in a clerical position in an alienating office, you'll relate to what Pam goes through. In this interview, Fischer tells Terry Gross about creating all those pained looks and knowing smiles — and about how her five years as an office temp helped to prepare her for the role.

Fischer also costarred in the film comedies Blades of Glory and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. And in the new film The Promotion, opening in select cities June 6, Fischer plays a Chicago nurse married to a supermarket assistant manager — who's competing for a promotion to store manager at the chain's newest property.

Fischer tells Terry Gross that she went into the audition "trying to look like a struggling nurse from Chicago" — only to hear later that producers didn't think she had enough Hollywood-style glamour. So she went in for a callback, tarted up in a low-cut blouse, tan body makeup and false eyelashes (courtesy of the hair-and-makeup crew from Blades of Glory). "I looked like a prostitute," she says, but she gave the same performance in that second audition. She got the part.

Glamour isn't all Hollywood execs look for in candidates, she says. Famous faces, blown up larger-than-life-size on movie posters, help sell tickets. Luckily, Fischer says, "The Office has given me a famous face, and I can compete" nowadays in ways that were harder earlier in her career.

Fischer talks to Fresh Air about her abortive career as a member of an all-girl singing group (which turned out to be a front for a high-priced call-girl ring), and about her very first screen role — in a sex-education film made especially for just-released mental-health patients.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

From Her Dad To Her 'Jamish' Roots, A Poet Pieces Her Story Together

Salena Godden grew up in 1970s England with a Jamaican mom and an absent English-Irish dad. In her memoir, Springfield Road, she looks back on her struggle to find her personal identity.
NPR

If You've Ever Looked For Faces In Your Potato Chips, Thank Myrtle Young

The Potato Chip Lady, aka Myrtle Young, died in August of this year. She was 90. Young became famous after showing her collection of unusually shaped chips to Tonight Show host Johnny Carson in 1987.
NPR

Tennessee's Medicaid Deal Dodges A Partisan Fight

An agreement between the Tennessee Hospital Association and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam expands Medicaid without tax dollars, an agreement that could be a blueprint for other states.
NPR

Die-In, Vortex, Selfie Stick: What's The Word Of 2014?

In January, members of the American Dialect Society will vote on the 2014 Word of the Year. Linguist Ben Zimmer runs through some contenders — including words both old and new.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.