‘The Office’ stars reveal how they filmed Jim’s red wire prank on Dwight


The “Prince Family Paper” episode of The Office proves that not all of Jim Halpert’s pranks got the praise they deserved.

In the latest episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey chatted all about the Season 5 episode, which kicks off with Dwight finding a new, mysterious red wire hooked up to his computer.

Dwight, who becomes deeply concerned after noticing no other office computers have similar wires, attempts to follow the wire’s trail and locate its source. He makes his way around the office, through the building, and across the parking lot, while it’s revealed in a talking head that Jim bought 500 feet of wire for $20 at a flea market and planted it as a prank.

While Jim’s explaining his great deal on the wire to the cameras, we see Dwight outside, still following the wire and scaling a telephone pole.

“Oh. He’ll be fine. I made it up there,” Jim says. That’s dedication.

As far as all time great Jim pranks go, the red wire prank is low on the list. But perhaps it’s time to reevaluate. I mean, he taped 500 feet of wire and then scaled a telephone pole? That’s some serious effort. Not to mention, the scene took quite a bit of work to shoot.

“I reached out to Randy [Cordray, line producer] to find out how we did this stunt of Rainn up on this telephone pole,” Fischer said.

“Right. He can’t climb a telephone pole. That’s not safe,” Kinsey said about Wilson. (Readers: Don’t be like Dwight. Please do not climb telephone poles, it’s very dangerous!)

“No, because what [Cordray] told me was that the pole over Jim’s shoulder really is an actual working utility pole that’s embedded in our sidewalk. You know, right out there,” Fischer said. “It carried high voltage electricity. They couldn’t even have a stunt person dressed as Dwight climb that pole. So our production designer, Michael Gallenberg, and his construction team rented a matching utility pole. You can do that, I guess.” 

“I mean, seriously, how do they know these things? This is the crazy part of Hollywood magic,” Kinsey said. “‘Oh, you know what I’m going to do today? I’m going to rent a fakey telephone pole.’ That’s huge!”

“Huge. Well, they put it up in our parking lot between the two sound stages, and they put like a green padded platform around it [to catch people who fell]” Fischer said. “And they put up a big green screen behind the whole thing. And then they brought Rainn out along with like a stunt coordinator and a safety officer, and they had Rainn climb up. It was only a few feet that he had to climb. And then in post-production, they had their visual effects team digitally add Rainn to the real pole over Jim’s shoulder.”

Damn. What a process.

“Even though Rainn was really only a little bit off the ground, they could, like, hike it up so it looked like he was like halfway up the pole,” Fischer said. “Yeah, that’s movie magic, folks.”

“That is some good movie magic,” Kinsey replied.

“But here’s the thing that gets me about that,” Fischer continued. “That’s like real special effects, kind of like stunty stuff for our little TV show about a paper company. Like I never really thought hard about how much work it took to do that gag until we went to break it down. Right? Like, it’s such a quick little blip. And you’re like that was like two weeks of figuring that out.”

“I feel like every week we are learning how much Michael Gallenberg, Kyle Alexander, Phil Shea, our wardrobe department and set designers, how they all made these little moments happen and made it seamless,” Kinsey said. “It’s amazing.” 

Be sure to listen to the full podcast to learn more behind-the-scenes stories from filming “Prince Family Paper.”

You can stream episodes of The Office on Peacock and follow along with the podcast every week on Earwolf, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher.

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