When Office fans hear the word “parkour” they don’t just think of the viral internet sensation that inspired people around the world to, in the words of Jim Halpert, “get from point A to point B as creatively as possible.” They think of the Season 6 cold open, in which Michael, Dwight, and Andy put their utterly dreadful parkour skills to the test and tear up the workplace in the process.
They shared which parts of the scene were scripted, talked about parkour stunt doubles, and more. But before we get the details on filming, let’s revisit The Office‘s parkour glory, shall we?
Making the parkour more hardcore
“I reached out to Paul Lieberstein, who wrote and directed this episode, because in the script it really just says they parkour through the office. And he said that the direction he gave Steve [Carell], Rainn [Wilson], and Ed [Helms] was just a basic route to move through so that the camera could capture everything,” Fischer explained. “He said obviously, none of them had any parkour skills. They did no parkour training whatsoever.”
The scene wasn’t choreographed, but Lieberstein did tell the guys, “You can’t do anything wrong, and your goal is to just mess up the room as much as possible.”
After an underwhelming first take they reset everything in the office and Lieberstein asked Carell, Wilson, and Helms to shout “parkour” after every move they made. Now that’s hardcore.
“[Lieberstein] said that ended up being the thing that gave it this really kind of weird energy that was very funny,” Fischer said. “So yeah, I thought that was great, actually, because I thought a lot of the comedy came from that the dichotomy between their very confident parkour and their horrible skills.”
The Nard Dog’s stunt double
After jumping on couches, terrorizing desks, and making their way through the office halls, the three parkour paper salesmen went outside to attempt some larger stunts. At one point, Andy planned an epic jump off of a truck onto some refrigerator boxes. After landing, he wanted to leap to a dumpster, do a 360-degree spin onto a stack of moving pallets, and finally, backflip into a trash can. He didn’t even make it past the first move, because the refrigerator box he jumped on was empty, which caused him to fall through. Ouch.
Have no fear, Helms stans, Andy didn’t actually jump into that box. Fischer said he had a stunt double endure his parkour pain for him.
“Our stunt coordinator was Wally Crowder and his son, Shawn Crowder was Ed’s stunt double. Erik Solky was Michael’s stunt double and Scott Leva was Dwight’s double. But until they were up on that refrigerator truck, it was all our guys, even that scene when they’re running across the cars in the parking lot, those were our real guys,” Fischer said. “And in fact, I guess they dented some of the hoods of those cars. They had to be repaired. But it was Shawn Crowder who jumps off that truck into the cardboard box. The box was full of foam rubber. I guess they had enough supplies to do three takes. They only did two takes and they used the first one in editing.”
Parkour palooza on set
In case you were curious, the parkour love didn’t end when the cold open scenes wrapped. It became an on-set norm to yell “PARKOUR” for a while, and the cast and crew got very into the bit.
“Paul reminded me that after we shot this cold open, do you remember this? Our camera assistants, Chris and Ed and some of the other crew guys would walk around the stage and shout ‘parkour’ from time to time,” Fischer said. “When he told me that, I was like, ‘Oh yes, I remember that. It would just be like, ‘parkour!'”
“I remember we all were doing it,” Kinsey said. “Like we would open the fridge and go, ‘parkour!'”
Sounds to me like it’s almost time for a parkour revival, people.
Be sure to listen to the full podcast episode to hear more behind-the-scenes stories about parkour and filming the episode, “Gossip.”