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Bob Odenkirk on Why He Lost The Office’s Michael Scott Role to Steve Carell

Bob Odenkirk on Why He Lost The Office’s Michael Scott Role to Steve Carell

Bob Odenkirk has an idea of why Steve Carell ultimately landed the role of Michael Scott in The Office over him.

The Emmy-winning actor, who was a frontrunner for the lead role in the beloved sitcom, recently appeared on the Office Ladies podcast, where he chatted about the show as well as his decision to transition to more dramatic roles.

“I am, in a strange way, a very earnest person for a person in comedy,” Odenkirk explained to hosts Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who played Pam Beesly and Angela Martin, respectively. “I am oddly earnest, and … it’s one of the reasons I think Steve Carell is a better, you know — is the one who got the role [in The Office].”

“There were other parts that I think I was up for that Steve got, and it’s because he’s better at being genuinely fun,” the Better Call Saul actor continued. “I think I bring with me a little bit too much earnest seriousness, and it’s just kinda there. And there’s nothing I can do about it except play other roles where it’s helpful to have that. And, you know, you just don’t believe me as a purely light character. You just are looking for the darkness, and that’s actually great in drama. That’s a plus, you know? But in comedy, it’s not a plus.”

Odenkirk eventually got his moment in The Office, appearing in the show’s ninth and final season. During the episode “Moving On,” he played the manager, much like Carell’s Michael, of a Philadelphia real estate company where Pam was interviewing for a job.

“The idea was, Pam’s gonna go in for an interview at this real estate office,” Fischer recalled of the storyline. “And they thought it would be really funny if it was like her life was gonna repeat itself now in Philadelphia. And her boss is basically Michael Scott.”

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Odenkirk added that his guest role was a chance to “show people what I would have done” had he scored the role of Michael instead of Carell.

“Although, I do think that what I was doing was more a tribute to Steve because that’s what I was supposed to be doing,” the Lucky Hank actor said. “My character was meant to be very much a version of what Steve had invented when he played the character.”

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