Regina Marie “Jenna” Fischer (born March 7, 1974) plays Pam Halpert (née Beesly) on The Office.

Coming to The Office

Jenna Fischer had become frustrated with the lack of success in her acting career and told her agent that she was going to quit and become a veterinary technician. Her acting coach told her that paltry success is normal for an actor. Fischer agreed to stay in acting for one more year. It was that year that she auditioned for The Office.[1]

Fischer was advised by casting director Allison Jones not to make herself pretty for the audition, and "dare to bore me."[2]

Fischer imagined that Pam didn't care about the documentary but had been forced to participate by her boss. At the audition, one of the other actors trying out for the part wore knee-high leather boots. Fischer thought to herself, "Oh, honey, Pam would never wear boots like that."[1]

Greg Daniels interviewed her in character. The first question was, "Do you like working as a receptionist?" She simply said, "No."[2] Daniels was taken aback. "It kind of blew my mind because I didn't understand it. I was like, she doesn't appear to be acting. She appears to simply be Pam." He shifted his approach to be as if he was interviewing a receptionist, not an actor pretending to be a receptionist.[1]

Unlike the other actors, who were chatty and friendly, Jenna Fischer sat quietly. Director Ken Kwapis said, "She was such a wallflower vibe that I actually started wondering if she was there by mistake, that she was actually there to interview for a receptionist job. But of course she was working. She was working really hard."[1]

In her audition, Fischer (as Pam) said, "I hope they get rid of me. Because then I might actually get off my ass and do something. Because I don't think it's many little girls' dream to grow up and be a receptionist. I don't know what I'm going to do, but whatever it is, it's gotta be a career move, not just another arbitrary job. Jim's advice was that it's better to be at the bottom of a ladder that you want to climb than halfway up one you don't."[1]

Trivia

  • Jenna's father's name is Jim, and her brother-in-law's name is Dwight.[3]
  • Jenna Fischer spent some time working as a receptionist while she was a struggling actor.[1] She is an excellent typist, and she does her own typing on the show as Pam. For example, in "Halloween", she types Jim's suggestions for Dwight's résumé.[4]
  • Jenna Fischer auditioned for the role of Sidney Bristow on "Alias". She made it through multiple rounds and the show said that she "blew them away" with her performance. However, they didn't feel that she was "hot enough" for the role.[5]


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Baumgartner, Brian. Episode 2: Ordinary Looking Losers, An Oral History of The Office podcast. July 14, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bianculli, Dave. May 10, 2013. Jenna Fischer: Keeping It Real At 'The Office'. NPR Fresh Air.
  3. Parker, Mitchell. April 10, 2017. My Houzz: Watch Jenna Fischer Renovate Her Sister’s Home.
  4. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 11: Halloween, Office Ladies podcast, January 15, 2020.
  5. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 43: Ben Franklin, Office Ladies podcast, September 2, 2020.
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