How The Office pulled off these Wonderful celebrity cameos
During the second part of the episode, Jim (John Krasinski), Pam (Jenna Fischer), and Andy (Ed Helms) all watch a pirated movie together in the break room, and as Cordray recalls,”His way of [including celebrities] would be to make a movie within the movie. Andy had access to stream so we created this movie and a movie on his laptop. That was our way of fulfilling the community creative people and putting promotable celebrity talent into the episode” — specifically, Jack Black, Jessica Alba, and Cloris Leachman.
Writer Lee Eisenberg recalls,”The system was insistent that we get celebrities, which was really complicated. I remember wanting Matt Damon or Ben Affleck to be on it. I was like,’Alright, we’ll get somebody that has a feel or they’re gonna go up against Michael. It’s Matt Damon or Ben Affleck versus Michael Scott.’ For a lot of reasons, people just decided that putting someone like that in only takes you from the fact of the series.”
Throughout the show’s fifth season, The Office ended up scoring that year’s coveted post-Super Bowl slot, so NBC wanted the episode in question,”Anxiety Relief,” to feature a few super famous guest stars to improve its visibility even more.
Producer Randy Cordray was far more direct, recalling the strife behind the scenes:”Greg was really at odds with NBC over this. His purpose was,’How does that fit into a series based in an office in Scranton, Pennsylvania? What would celebrities be doing interacting with a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania? What would celebrities be doing in Scranton?'” Luckily for the community, Daniels had a solution.