April 28th, 2011
12:30 PM ET
“The Office” has provided its fair share of laughs over its seven seasons, but tonight's super-sized episode that marks Steve Carell’s exit - and the departure of Michael Scott, the eccentric but loveable boss Carell's portrayed to acclaim on the NBC series - had the cast holding back tears.
Director Paul Feig admitted to the Los Angeles Times that yes, even he had to break out the tissues. (And it looks like he wasn’t the only one - the tears were flowing for Angela Kinsey as well as she rehearsed a final scene with Carell.)
But when the time came for Feig to hand his present of a desk clock to the "Office" actor, he tried to leave him with a more upbeat message.
"I had a Dr. Seuss quote engraved on it - 'Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened' - because that's how I faced the week," Feig revealed.
Part of the difficulty of working on this episode is that the show’s characters wouldn’t behave in quite the same way saying goodbye to Michael Scott as the actual cast did bidding farewell to Carell.
As a result, tonight’s episode unfolds “exactly the way it would go with a boss like Michael leaving Dunder Mifflin,” Feig told E! Online. “If you think back on this he's been a very odd boss. The hardest part was balancing out our real-life love for Steve, who is the greatest man in the world—the nicest person in the world, you can't imagine working with somebody nicer than him—with how you would really react if a boss like that was leaving. The hardest part for Greg Daniels, who wrote the episode, and myself, being on the set, was making sure that we didn't get sadder than the characters on the show would be.”
Attempting to keep their on-camera feelings in check didn’t make Carell’s behind-the-scenes departure any easier, least of which for Carell himself.
“It was very hard for him in the sense that everyone around him was so emotional and he was extremely emotional, too,” Feig said. “Once we wrapped, they gathered everybody on the sound stage and they did presentations to Steve and people brought presents and presented him with things. We showed tapes of outtakes and then after that a bunch of us went to another party for him that the cast threw, and that was more sendoff stuff, and John Krasinski put together this amazing video where he got real-life fans of the show and celebrity fans of the show to do a tribute to Steve.”
Feig said he was “exhausted at the end of that day. So I could only imagine that Steve was just emotionally raw and numb. But it was a proper outpouring of emotion for a man who is completely deserving of getting that much [attention].”
"Goodbye, Michael" kicks off tonight at 9 p.m., including Will Ferrell, who's been filling the role of Deangelo Vickers, Scott's (presumably temporary) replacement.
How do you think the show will fare after Carell takes his leave?
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