Michael Scott’s soup snake, er, soulmate is in the house.
Well, not really. But she is on the latest episode of Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey’s . That’s right, folks. The Office stars called up Amy Ryan — who played the HR rep and Michael Scott’s love interest, Holly Flax — to ask her all about Season 5 episode, “Business Ethics,” and her time on the show.
Here’s what Ryan had to say about playing Holly, working with Steve Carell, and getting cast as a fan of the show herself.
How Amy Ryan got cast as Holly Flax
As we learned in the episode of the podcast, Ryan was a fan of the show and basically asked to be cast.
“Paul Lieberstein told us that they came to you. They were huge fans. But that you had simultaneously mentioned to your agent, you might like to do our show,” Fischer said.
“That is true,” Ryan replied. “And the timing was eerie because I did say that to my agent. It was so soon after the Oscars and I was like, ‘You know, I’m doing a lot of dramas. And if I have any kind of cachet right now, at this moment, I want to do a comedy — and I want to do a comedy like The Office.'”
Ryan knew Paul Lieberstein before she was cast on The Office on because they both worked on The Naked Truth, so that connection helped a bit.
“My agent had kind of reached out and at the same time Paul had reached out, I guess, to him. I don’t know who got there first, but it was I really think it was like about the same week,” she explained. “Paul had mentioned that he was also a fan of The Wire, as were some of the other writers. So it was kind of a culmination of of all those worlds coming together.”
Ryan doesn’t even remember reading a script for the role, she just heard that Holly was one episode only and a potential love interest.
“I remember also because I was a big fan of the British series, David finally gets a woman who likes him too. So it was loosely based, I think, on her for the first episode,” she said. “And then our group took it to a different level. So there was no script that I was privy to. But I knew the I knew the kind of general idea of it.”
What’s it like working with Steve Carell?
“Business Ethics” is a delightful episode for Michael and Holly that features a memorable “Let’s Get Ethical” dance in the conference room.
If you’re curious how the “Physical” parody came to be, Ryan says she has Steve to thank.
“Just that having that visual, the dance, honestly, that’s me just following Steve on anything. You know, anything that I was lucky enough to be a partnered paired with Steve — I was smart enough to get in the sidecar of that motorcycle ride,” she explained. “I’m not going to leave this here. He’s going to have a better idea. So that was that was just me kind of, you know, literally following his choreography.”
You’re also probably wondering if Ryan constantly broke character as a result of working with Steve Carell so closely. She confirmed what we all assumed to be true: He’s funny as hell.
“You know, always with Steve, it was so hard not to laugh. It was also like a thrill that sets in,” Ryan explained. “Look, I remember when I was 25 I went skydiving, and I did it where you’re strapped to the other instructor. And just as the airplane door opened up and he made me look out, we were about 13,000 feet in the air. And I remember the thought in my head is, ‘OK, I’m going to die or I’m going to have the time of my life, pick one.’ And I remember picking I’m going to have fun. And as nervous as I was, you know, being like in those scenes with Steve, I remember that moment too. Like, ‘Oh, just pick one. Why don’t you have fun instead, you know?'”
“Certainly with with him at the lead we’re all going to look good. You know, he’s going to take us along for the ride, I feel. But but it was so hard not to laugh, like, painfully hard not to laugh at him,” Ryan continued.
For those who don’t know, Ryan and Carell had worked with each other before The Office on Dan in Real Life.
“I have this minuscule part in Dan in Real Life that Steve starred in. It was this big extended family comedy. We all as a whole group of us there on location in Rhode Island, and so we all became friends. And then I think it was about six months after that film is when The Office came up. And I believe they ran the idea by Steve of casting me,” she explained.
Ryan’s favorite Office memory
When asked about her favorite memory from set, it probably won’t surprise you that Ryan couldn’t choose just one.
“Oh, my gosh. There’s so, so much. I mean, just in a general note, I would honestly, no exaggeration, I would go home feeling like I worked out a series of sit-ups because my stomach muscles were always…laughing so hard,” Ryan said. “And I’d just go home exhausted but happy. And that was a nice feeling.”
If you’re hoping for a specific laugh out loud moment, you’re in luck. Ryan referenced an episode where Darryl helps Holly move and rides with her and Michael in a truck.
“Me, Steve, and Craig, like, holed up in that truck all day…Probably we had a little bit of lack of oxygen, but we couldn’t — we we just we were in hysterics and could barely get through the scenes,” she explained. “And it was that like that was like one of the highlights of my time there, just spending the day with those two guys. Just laughing.”
Looking back on The Office years later
Though Ryan still gets recognized for her role as Holly Flax, she hasn’t watched the show in years. She did, however, rewatch the “Business Ethics” episode in preparation for her podcast cameo, and she said that seeing the series after such a long time was an emotional experience.
“I’ve always said, you know, there’s a lid for every pot. So they finally found each other.”
“I hadn’t watched the show in a long time, save for like popping in the room when my daughter was on her third pass of the series, but it is so moving. I think all the characters are so moving,” she said.
“I know everyone’s talked about this before, but that element of the family, you know, it’s not a workplace, it’s actually a family. That really comes through so beautifully.”
As for Holly and Michael, Ryan feels they’re meant to be. “I’ve always said, you know, there’s a lid for every pot. So they finally found each other,” she explained.
Be sure to listen to the full podcast episode for more behind-the-scenes stories about Amy Ryan and “Business Ethics.”
and follow along with the podcast every week on , , or .