Steve Carell Says Filming His Office Goodbye Episode Was 'Emotional Torture'

Steve Carell played Michael Scott for seven seasons before departing the show in 2011.

Steve Carell
Photo: Chris Haston/NBCU

The Office still holds a special place in Steve Carell’s heart.

Carell, 58, opened up to his former co-star Brian Baumgartner on Spotify’s An Oral History of The Office podcast about his emotional departure from the NBC sitcom after seven seasons.

“It was almost more than I bargained for ... I had [goodbye] scenes with everyone in the cast and it was emotional torture,” Carell says in Tuesday’s episode, aptly titled “When We Said Goodbye to Steve.” “It was like just fraught with emotion ... and joy and sadness and nostalgia.”

He continues: “But it was also really beautiful. I'd like treasure just doing that episode because it did allow me to kind of have a finality with everybody.”

Carell’s portrayal of Michael Scott, the bumbling, usually well-meaning-yet-clueless manager of Scranton’s Dunder Mifflin paper company, solidified the actor as a household name and inspired millions of memes.

His storyline came to end in the 2011 episode “Goodbye, Michael,” which shows Scott’s last day in the office before moving to Colorado with fiancée Holly (played by Amy Ryan).

The episode includes an emotional exchange between Scott and co-worker Pam (played by Jenna Fischer) in the airport. Director Paul Feig didn’t use sound for the exchange, however, so the actors were free to say whatever they wanted.

On An Oral History of The Office, Fischer reveals she told Carell how much she was going to miss him on set.

“I ran up to Steve and I just told him all the ways I was going to miss him and how grateful I was for his friendship and the privilege of working with him,” she tells Baumgartner. “And I'm sobbing and he's sobbing and we're hugging and, and I didn't want to let him go and I didn't want the scene to end.”

John Krasinski, who played Jim Halpert , says a lot of tears were shed while filming Carell’s final episode.

“I'm trying to figure it out in real time … why I cried so hard when we did that scene, I also remember him crying and I was not expecting that,” Krasinski says. “The energy in that room was so thick and palpable that when they called action or go ahead, I remember Steve teared up right away … and that was so unlike him, not that he was emotionless, but it was like, it was so unlike him to let real life bleed into the moment.”

At one point, the actor notes, there were “17 takes of not even speaking … just dribbling crying.”

He adds: “It felt like the end of an era.”

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