Steve Carell says filming Michael Scott’s farewell on ‘The Office’ was ‘really difficult’
Steve Carell’s final days as Dunder Mifflin’s branch manager spanned a spectrum of emotions for the actor.
Carell played Michael Scott for seven seasons on the hit NBC documentary-style comedy before exiting the show in 2011, two seasons before the show’s series finale aired in 2013, and he said his farewell episode was tough to shoot.
“It was a really difficult episode to do but I also loved it at the same time because it was the end game for Michael,” Carell told his former “Office” co-stars Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer on Wednesday’s episode of their podcast “The Office Ladies.”
In the show, Carell’s Scott ends up leaving Dunder Mifflin for love, moving from Scranton, Pennsylvania to be with his on-screen fiancée, Holly Flax (Amy Ryan), in Colorado.
On this week’s podcast, Carell said that Scott’s departure “was the culmination showing the growth that he didn’t need the big sendoff, he didn’t need the big party. He could say goodbye to all of his friends on his own terms without the fanfare. I really enjoyed having that character evolve to that point in that moment.”
Rainn Wilson, who played fan-favorite character Dwight Schrute, told EW in 2011 that filming Carell’s final episode was “intense.”
“There actually wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” Wilson said, adding that “it was very difficult to make comedy when there was a heaviness hanging over the proceedings.”
Even though the sendoff was “emotional” for Carell, he told Fischer and Kinsey on the podcast that his tears were those of joy and that he wasn’t sad to leave, but rather he was “ready to go.”
“It was time for other characters to step to the forefront and other storylines to be pursued. The timing was right for everybody,” he said. “But simultaneously, there was just a sense of joy that we had experienced all of this. I was getting a chance to take a lap with everybody. I was simultaneously saying goodbye as Michael and us as friends in this moment of work together.”
During the show’s run, Carell led the 2007 movie “Dan in Real Life” and went on to star in other notable films after leaving “The Office,” such as “Foxcatcher” in 2014 – which earned him an Oscar nomination for best actor – and “The Big Short” the following year.
Kinsey said the reality of Carell’s departure came in “waves” and that they alternated between laughing and tearing up while filming his final episode.
While Carell was absent from appearing in Season 8 and Season 9, he did make a surprise uncredited appearance in “The Office’s” series finale in 2013 when he stood in as Dwight’s best man at his wedding.
“I think you can see it when you watch the show, there is a calm to it,” he said. “Everyone is loving each other in terms of us as actors and people beyond the characters.”
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