In May, the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin paper company bid a tearful goodbye to the World’s Best Boss, Michael Scott. Back in 2005, fans of the original U.K. version of “The Office” had been wary of its Americanization when Steve Carell took on the role made famous (infamous?) by Ricky Gervais, but after seven successful seasons and countless award nominations (and several wins), I think it’s fair to say there was nothing to worry about with the Daily Show alum at the helm.
How the show will fare now that Carell is gone is anyone’s guess (James Spader is set to come on board in September, so that might help), but the rest of the cast has been wasting no time in making sure they have a Plan B—namely, film careers.
Carell had already been on the silver screen by the time he joined “The Office,” with minor roles in comedies like Bruce Almighty and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. His big breakthrough—the lead role in The 40-Year-Old Virgin—coincided with his first year as Michael Scott. He’s been able to juggle both big and small screen careers ever since, with a memorable turn in Little Miss Sunshine, along with starring roles in Get Smart, Date Night, Dinner with Schmucks, Crazy, Stupid, Love, and voice-work in Despicable Me.
Clearly Carell is an established Hollywood star at this point, but will any of the rest of the Dunder Mifflin crew be able to follow in his footsteps? Here’s the rundown of who’s done what on the big screen in the recent past:
Helms is probably the cast’s next-biggest movie star, thanks to his turn as dentist-with-a-dark-side Stu Price in the 2009 and 2011 Hangover films. Like Carell, Helms got his start on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, and had a few small film roles before joining “The Office” in Season Three as Stamford branch transfer, a cappella lover, and proud Cornell alum Andy Bernard. He took on leading man status in this year’s indie comedy Cedar Rapids, and next year will provide the voice of The Once-ler in The Lorax.
John Krasinski (Jim)
Jim Halpert is my favorite character on the show, and so I’ve been especially happy to see John Krasinski show up more and more frequently in theaters. I think he’s absolutely hilarious, and at any moment now is going to land a role that will be his really big “movie star” break. But that’s not to say he hasn’t been doing pretty well for himself in Hollywood already —his film credits include Dreamgirls, Leatherheads, Away We Go, It’s Complicated, and this year’s Something Borrowed. Next year we’ll see him in Everybody Loves Whales, a romantic drama about whale rescuers co-starring Drew Barrymore.
Jenna Fischer (Pam)
Fischer’s portrayal of the always loyal but often exasperated Pam Beasley earned her a Best Supporting Actress Emmy nomination in 2007, and in that same year she started taking on an increasing number of film roles. At first she was all about goofy comedies like Blades of Glory, The Brothers Solomon, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, but lately she’s been venturing into dramatic territory. She played Michael Douglas’ frustrated daughter in 2009′s Solitary Man, and had the leading role in the indie dram-com A Little Help, which had a limited theatrical run this summer. Her biggest movie role to date has been in Hall Pass, where she gives husband Owen Wilson the OK to take a week off from their marriage. Next year we’ll see Jenna as the female lead in the comedy The Giant Mechanical Man, written and directed by her husband Lee Kirk, and co-starring Chris Messina, Topher Grace, and Malin Ackerman.
Almost all of the other Dunder Mifflin employees have popped up in movies lately, too—some in higher profile roles than others:
- Ellie Kemper (the new secretary Erin): A small role in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, and one of the bridesmaids in, uh, Bridesmaids
- B.J. Novak (arrogant intern-turned-full-timer Ryan): Showed up in Inglorious Basterds, and voices Baker Smurf in The Smurfs
- Phyllis Smith (the quiet Phyllis): Played Steve Carell’s mom in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and is currently in awe of Cameron Diaz on the big screen in Bad Teacher
- Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute): A small but memorable role in Juno, the lead in The Rocker, and in three 2011 indies: Super, Hesher, and Peep World
- Mindy Kaling (Ryan’s materialistic and shallow girlfriend Kelly): Wonderful as Natalie Portman’s friend, co-worker, and roommate in this year’s No Strings Attached
Which cast member of “The Office” do you think will have the most successful film career in the future?
Redbox movies from the cast of “The Office”:
- Steve Carell in Dinner for Schmucks, on DVD and Blu-ray
- Steve Carell as the voice of Gru in Despicable Me, on DVD and Blu-ray (Mindy Kaling voices “Tourist Mother” in this one, too!)
- Steve Carell in American Breakdown (in kiosks August 23)
- Ed Helms in Cedar Rapids
- Jenna Fischer in Hall Pass, on DVD and Blu-ray
- Mindy Kaling in No Strings Attached, on DVD and Blu-ray
- Ellie Kemper in Somewhere