Quick Rap with ‘The Office’ Star Amy Ryan

Quick Rap with ‘The Office’ Star Amy Ryan

Amy Ryan
Amy Ryan

When the fifth season of NBC’s The Office premieres Thursday night (at 9/8c), veteran actress Amy Ryan will thankfully be back. Here’s what the Oscar nominee, who replaced Toby (star/writer/director/producer Paul Lieberstein) as Dunder-Mifflin’s HR director in last season’s finale, had to say about her experience on the show thus far.

On how her Office role came to be:

“I think there were a few things in play. One is I knew Paul Lieberstein many years ago from a television show we both worked on called The Naked Truth. And then most of the writers turned out to be fans of The Wire. And then I had briefly known Steve Carell when we shot the film Dan in Real Life. And then I got nominated for an Oscar and I asked my agent and manager–I said, you know, ‘The one job I’d like that I don’t think I’d get if I weren’t nominated…I want to be on The Office.’”

On joining an established cast like The Office’s:

“It’s quite intimidating…especially when you enter a show that you’re a fan of and you have great admiration for. You have to take a moment to allow yourself to join them. And–but it’s quite an extraordinary group that everyone was really supportive, and very down-to-earth, which is kind of staggering. You rarely see that when a group has a great success.”

On having some DVD-gag-reel-worthy moments with costars:

“It was one of my favorite things…almost to see who’s going to go first. And the day that I went first I was mortified. I was like, ‘That’s just not done with the new kid. You can’t do that.’ But I laughed so hard at one point that it turned into just bawling tears. So I’m not sure where the laughter began and sorrow took over, but I had to reapply [makeup].”

On how The Office is different from her previous, drama-heavy TV/movie/stage roles:

“Showing up to work to do a comedy and you’re guaranteed three fits of hysterical laughter a day, it feels really good. And not that dramas don’t, because they can be satisfying in their own ways. But there’s something… It’s just being like a kid–more so like getting together with your friends–and, you know, just playing, play acting. It was a nice split.”