"He just looked healthy, he looked great," Jenna Fischer said about Steve Carell

By Eric Todisco
December 05, 2019 04:02 PM
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When Steve Carell returned to film season 2 of The Office as the unfiltered Michael Scott, he looked like a whole new man, and viewers had no idea why — until now.

On their podcast, Office Ladies, Carell’s former co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey shared the backstory behind the actor’s impressive transformation between the first two seasons.

“The summer that he was going to film The 40-Year-Old Virgin, he got in crazy amazing shape, and then he’s maintained that,” said Kinsey, 48. “He’s very fit now, he sort of like, made that part of his life. They just gave him a whole new look. They zhuzhed him up.”

And once Carell, 57, returned from shooting the 2005 Judd Apatow-directed film, Fischer, 45, said that the producers of The Office decided to take his character in a new direction.

Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC; Inset: Roy Rochlin/Getty

“Originally, his character was based on the British show and the boss there, so they really mirrored his look after David Brent,” said Fischer. “And when Steve came back so much thinner and just looking amazing, they used it as an excuse. He just looked healthy, he looked great.”

“Also, the first season I know they put this gel in his hair,” Kinsey said. “They slicked it back to look like David Brent, and then after that, they were like ‘Okay, let’s style his hair different.’ ”

Fischer explained that the producers felt comfortable making changes with Carell’s character once they learned they were returning for another season.

“I think they felt like when they got the pickup for season 2, they could really make this for Steve,” she said. “They could really base it more on what Steve was going to bring to the character.”

The Office cast
| Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Among the changes in season 2’s Michael Scott was his more “redeeming” qualities, which Kinsey said allowed the fans to find him much more endearing.

“As awkward and cringe as he could be, and really not aware of the things he said and how it affected people, they would give him one moment that was redeeming,” she explained. “One moment in the episode where you rooted for him or felt bad for him. So that it wasn’t just all ‘Ugh, that guy is such a jerk.’ They just made him have one moment where you are sympathetic towards him.”

The actresses kicked off Office Ladies in mid-October. The podcast delves into behind-the-scenes stories about Pam Beesly, Angela Martin, Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), Michael Scott (Carell) and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin gang.

Jenna and Angela
| Credit: Jim Spellman/Getty

“We’ve been wanting to work together again ever since we stopped working together,” Fischer told PEOPLE before the podcast launched. “Angela and I became best friends because we were cast on The Office together, we worked together and saw each other every day. I think the hardest part for me about it ending was that I didn’t get to see my best friend every day anymore.”

Although Kinsey, 48, admitted that they “don’t consider ourselves the experts on The Office in any way,” they are open to discussing what audiences are eager to have answered. “The fans are more experts than we are, so we are going to be looking for questions. We want to talk about the things that people want to know about.”