LOS ANGELES—The chances of becoming an actor who gets work are not good. You can be good-looking and have a ton of talent but never get further than the audition process. You have to be a little lucky to get work. Fortune smiled on Jenna Fischer when she tried out for a television show called The Office. In a Los Angeles hotel, she says that the odds of auditioning alongside the right person are slim.
“I ended up doing my audition for the role of Pam with John Krasinski, who was trying out for the role of Jim. It felt so incredibly right and magical that the first thing I asked when I was cast was, ”˜Did John get the role of Jim?' I thought, ”˜I hope that they know that the thing they liked about me was [my compatibility with] John Krasinski.' We were so happy for each other right from the start.”
The show was supposed to be mostly about Steve Carell's character, Michael Scott, but the producers decided that Jim and Pam's secondary story should be flushed out. It has helped the show stay on the air for an upcoming fourth season. It also helped Fischer get a job as Jon Heder's love interest in Blades of Glory, about two male figure-skating rivals who team up. (It opens next Friday [March 30]). She says she was told by the film's directors, Josh Gordon and Will Speck, that they were looking for someone who could play it straight in scenes with Heder and costar Will Ferrell.
“I think that in comedy, someone has to play it straight and someone has to be funny, and I gravitate towards the ”˜straight man' part. I would never try to outfunny Steve [Carell], and I am certainly not going to outfunny Will Ferrell any time soon. The guy is so clever and so funny that if I can stand up next to him and be the best catcher possible, that will make me happy. I get to do funny stuff on the TV show and in the movie, but I like the fact that my reaction to what the funny guy said can make the funny guy funnier.”
Fischer is doing something right on The Office. Her story line with Krasinski's character has become a hot topic around water coolers and has taken up much of the running time of recent episodes. “I know that I was taken with the show when I first started making it, but I knew that it [Pam and Jim's relationship] would get bigger. It's something that you just can't put your finger on, and it's weird. It's like meeting the love of your life. You just know. I'm not surprised that both the relationship and the show caught on, although when we started out, the show didn't do well. After the first season ended, we were picked up for six episodes. At the end of that, we all hugged and said goodbye. Then NBC called us back and we just shot our 50th episode. We are coming back next year and I couldn't be happier.”