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Amy Ryan on The Office

Published October 2, 2008 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
Amy Ryan Amy Ryan
Amy Ryan guest starred on the season finale of The Office as Holly, the new HR girl. Her story arc continues for six episodes in the new season. It seems like she is a perfect match for Michael, but his attachment to Jan and her pregnancy could inhibit their prospects.

Amy Ryan Works at The Office

“With Michael and Holly, I think that it gives us all hope that there’s a lid for every pot,” said Ryan. “I like to say there’s a lid for every cracked pot out there. So everyone has a chance at some form of love.”

Does that make Holly the lid or the pot in that metaphor? “I think she is slightly odd, but the nice way to say it is she’s just really playful and she finds him funny, and so that unleashes her sense of humor. It’s like they’re really kind of like children in that they’re playmates.”

Come on. Does Michael have a shot or not? “I don’t know if I should kiss and tell. I think the beauty is that he’d take shots and then I don’t know if I can really give away plot line. But I will say he gets points for trying.”

Holly has already made Toby’s old desk her own, but Ryan takes no credit for that. “That’s kind of the magic of the prop department. One day during a scene I looked over and there was some photograph with me and some other woman that looks just like two friends. I don’t know who that woman is, so they photo shopped a couple of things together. It’s amazing what they find.”

After her Oscar nomination last year for Gone Baby Gone, The Office was Ryan’s choice gig. “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. Then most of the writers turned out to be fans of The Wire. 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.’ They all laughed at me when I told them that story. They said I shot too low but I disagree. I think that’s one of the best shows on TV.”

Being such a fan, Ryan fit right in when she came to the set. “It feels like almost walking into a museum, just anything that you’re very familiar with from the comfort of your own living room couch. I felt like a little kid walking around, but one of my good friends is Rashida Jones who was on the show, as you know, so I would call her a lot and just ask for advice before I joined. I knew some of the actors. I knew Rainn. We share mutual friends and Steve and I. I had a small part in a film of his a year before that. Of course, Paul and I knew each other many, many years ago on another TV show. So that all helps walking into a new environment.”

The Office airs Thursday nights on ABC.

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Fred Topel
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