It's been 15 years since the US version of The Office hit screens. And if you're missing your co-workers while in isolation, it's the perfect time for a rewatch.

The hilarious NBC sitcom, built around everyday office workers, has become a pop culture phenomenon and spawned countless hilarious memes and short videos on social media that somehow apply to almost every single life scenario.

READ MORE:
The Office is making a comeback - sort of
Why NBC's takeback of The Office from Netflix could be the beginning of consumer chaos
How an old episode of 'The Office' helped save a woman's life
Do you really want to live in a world where Friends and The Office are TV's most valuable shows?

In celebration of the comedy series, which ran for nine seasons, we've dug up some details you probably never knew about the show.

Advertisement

A-list stars who nearly got roles

While John Krasinski is the perfect person to play the loveable Jim Halpert, the role almost went to a different well-known star.

Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation, Step Brothers) originally auditioned for the role and could have landed it had producers decided not to cast Krasinski following his rocky screen test.

Krasinski has since revealed he was waiting in the audition room and got chatting to a man eating a salad, who asked if he was nervous.

Krasinski answered, "You know, not really. You either get these things or you don't. But what I'm really nervous about is this show. It's just I love the British show so much and Americans have a tendency to just really screw these opportunities up. I just don't know how I'll live with myself if they screw this show up and ruin it for me."

The cast members revealed some secrets about the show. Photo / Getty Images
The cast members revealed some secrets about the show. Photo / Getty Images

The man was Greg Daniels, the show's executive producer. Somehow, he still went with Krasinski.

Krasinski recalled, "And I was like … I actually threw up in my mouth."

Elsewhere in the casting process, funny man Seth Rogen auditioned for the part of Dwight Schrute, which, as funny as Rogen is, thankfully went to Rainn Wilson.

Jim's proposal cost a small fortune

Jim's proposal to Pam (Jenna Fischer) is one of the highlights of the show's long run.

Advertisement

But you won't believe how much it cost to pull off.

The writers originally wanted it to be filmed at a real rest stop on the Merritt Parkway route in Connecticut, US, but that would have set them back US$100,000.

Plus, they wouldn't have been able to use fake rain, which writers deemed non-negotiable for the scene.

Instead, the crew built a replica of the route and a rest stop, which ended up costing them a whopping US$250,000.

Daniels described the scene as "the most expensive and elaborate shot we've ever done, but it's also sort of the highlight of five years of storytelling".

"We found a gigantic parking lot behind a Best Buy, and our production team built a replica of the rest stop," he said.

Steve Carell's hilarious improvisation

In an episode in season 3 titled Gay Witch Hunt, the script wanted Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and Oscar Martinez (Oscar Nunez) to hug.

But Carell had other ideas.

Nunez has since recalled, "We were just supposed to hug, and he kept hugging me. And that particular take he came in really close, and I'm like, 'Where is he going with this?' Oh, dear, yes here we go."

So all the reactions you saw from others in the scene were 100 per cent real.

Carell's finale cameo was kept secret

Carell left the show in season 7 but, to the delight of fans, made a return for the last episode.

But it turns out everyone was kept out of the loop in that decision, including the network executives, so as to not take away the shine from other cast members.

Showrunners went to great lengths to hide it from everyone.

Daniels said, "We shot the Steve stuff and we kept it out of the dailies and didn't tell them [the executives] about it. At the table reading, we gave the Steve Carell lines to Creed [Bratton]."

It was, at first, a real office

For the first season of the series, which initially didn't perform in the ratings, the show was filmed in an office building in California that was then redesigned on a studio lot from season 2 onwards.

After appearing in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and becoming hot property in Hollywood, Carell propelled The Office to more widespread success, allowing the production team a budget for real computers.

Yep. While you'd probably think the computers used on set were nothing but broken down props, it turns out they were actually connected to the internet.

Cast members would direct message each other while they were "working" during takes.

The set was always cold

Here's a fun fact about Carell.

His overly active sweat glands influenced the temperature of the room, which was always set to 18C so he wouldn't sweat and ruin takes.