'We Were All Devastated': Behind The Scenes Of Steve Carell's Last Episode Of 'The Office'

22 May 2020 | 12:17 pm | Neil Griffiths

"And the fact that it was the last show, everything became epically sad to us."

For any fan of The Office, Steve Carell's final episode is both a beautiful and heartbreaking 30-something minutes of viewing. In 2011, after seven great seasons, Carell farewelled the show that shot him to fame and with it, the world said goodbye to one of TV's greatest comedy characters - Michael Gary Scott. 

Appearing on a new episode of The Green Room with Neil Griffiths, US filmmaker Paul Feig, who executive produced the US version of Ricky Gervais' BBC show for those first seven seasons, also directed some of the series' best episodes including Office Olympics, Dinner Party, Niagra, and of course, Carell's last episode, Goodbye, Michael.

Feig, who also executive produced the new Anna Kendrick-led series Love Life (coming to Stan next week), looked back on the five-day shoot of that episode and the special moments throughout.


"The interesting thing about shooting that whole last episode, we were all devastated because we love Steve so much. And the fact that it was the last show, everything became epically sad to us. So everybody's instinct in every scene was to be very emotional and sad, but I had to as the director go, 'Wait, we all love Steve Carell, but the people who work in the office don't really love Michael Scott. They kind of tolerated him and got used to him.' It was always like, 'Alright guys, we got that out of our system, now let's pretend like we don't really like Michael.'"

Michael's final scene at the airport

"The irony was that the famous scene at the end at the airport, that was probably our third day of shooting.., so, that wasn't the final thing we did.
The relationship between Pam and Michael has always been so interesting... I know Greg Daniels [who adapted the US series], that was his big thing - he wanted to see [Michael] take off the microphone and put it down and I loved that. That gave us that nice Lost In Translation moment of just seeing them talk and you don't hear what they say. I actually just got a bunch of chills just talking about it now, because it was a really special moment."

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Michael says goodbye to Jim (John Krasinksi has said this scene took many takes because they struggled to get through)

"That was the one scene where I was like, 'You know what? I think this is actually OK if the emotion is there.' Because they always did have that - even though it was a kind of weird relationship between them - there was something, a bonding between them that happened. Even at that, we did a few takes... the good thing is, once you've done a bunch of takes, you become less emotional. But I think that was probably one of our early takes and we didn't do that many takes of the scene.

"My job as a director, I just have to make sure that I'm covered in the editing room. Even if it's a very emotional thing where everybody gets swept up in a moment. I've had that happen so many times. You get swept up in a moment, then you get to the editing room and you're like, 'We got it in one take!' and then you're like, 'Oh my God, shit, we need other takes of this.' Like, it worked on the set, but now in context of the story it doesn't work... 

"I just remember mostly of that last day of shooting because just trying to hold it together was so hard. I have a picture of Greg Daniels from back then. It was towards the end of that day and you know the couch as you walk into the office? I remember just kind of looking and Greg was laying on the couch face down just like, in mourning. And I was like, 'Man, that just sums up how we all feel.''

Listen to the full The Green Room episode with Feig on Spotify, Apple Podcasts (below) or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.