Angela Kinsey has been living out of a suitcase. Not for the lack of housing, though — just that her schedule on The Office has been so busy that she hasn’t been able to properly move into the home she and her husband bought. Now that things have calmed down, and she’s found her box of socks, Angela took some time to talk to PopGurls about her alter-ego, the buttoned-up Angela Martin and her beau Dwight Schrute, what they really do in the background when people are filming and what kind of roller skates she rocks.
Many of The Office cast have MySpace pages. How did that come about?
Our Season One was only six episodes, and that’s barely a season by American standards. So we really didn’t know if we were coming back for a Season Two. When we got the pick up for Season Two — we got six more episodes.
So BJ [Novak] had this MySpace page because he does stand up and Dane Cook has such an amazing following and he connects to them on MySpace. BJ had said that this MySpace thing is pretty wild and people are watching the show! So Jenna set up a MySpace page and started chatting just about The Office because it was our way of trying to get the word out, honestly. So she [asked if I wanted her to set up a page for me] — and I said, “yeah, I’ll do it.”
I thought after those six, we were gone. Jenna set up a page for me and she set up a page for Brian and we began blogging behind the scenes things that was happening on the show — pretty much anything that had to do with The Office. It was nice timing — several things brought us back, obviously not one thing, but we did really get this Internet following and it definitely helped communicating to the fans online.
I think that the people who have them are Me, Jenna [Fischer] and Brian [Baumgartner] for sure. We are the ones that actively update them. And BJ has one and Paul Lieberstein who plays Toby has one — I don’t know how often either of them go on.
I love the fact that, while you’re shooting, you’re surfing on MySpace or checking out vacation packages.
Oh yeah. Our computers are totally active. Season One they weren’t, and almost all of Season Two Brian and Oscar [Nuñez] and I didn’t have working computers and we would pass notes all day. It was just like being high school — but instead of worrying about the teacher busting you, you were trying to pass a note before the camera looked over to you. But now that we have computers — we set up Instant Messenger, so we instant message each other during scenes. Now, when I say “during scenes” — definitely when you are not driving the scene. When we’re in the background — they want us to look busy. So it’s very easy to update your MySpace blog and look busy!
Every once in a while, one of our camera guys will say, “Ang, we can see that.” And then you have to minimize it and put something Dunder-Mifflin-looking up on your computer screen.
We’ve even gone into a few chatrooms from the set, like Officetally.com. And stopped in to say hi to fans and usually we have this moment where they’re like — “Wait. How do we know it’s the real Angela?” It’s fun to do that.
Has there been a scene from Season One where you catch yourself passing a note?
No, I don’t think I was ever busted. The one thing I remember is from the episode “Health Care.” Rainn, as Dwight, is listing off a list of insane diseases. Hot dog fingers, on and on. If you look over to accounting — I full on break and so does Brian. It’s just a split second, but we’re completely out of character. That’s not my character laughing. And they just left it in! The producers said it just made [them] laugh.
How does Angela spend her free time?
Oh my gosh. She’s probably an avid mall-walker. I think she appreciates a good antique show. She probably gardens, but has a huge hat and wears long-sleeves so the blistering heat of the sun doesn’t touch her porcelain skin. And she loves cats. She definitely spends time with her cats — she’s pretty much a wild child.
How did Angela and Dwight get together?
Dwight and Angela are that couple that you’re like “WHAT? NO WAY!” and then you start thinking about it and you realize “Oh my god, it totally makes sense!” because they’re both these militant, carry a clipboard, aggressive people in the workplace — they take it all so seriously.
Angela Martin really, she’s not that old of a woman. I’m 35, so she’s in her early 30s. But it’s like she wanted to be born during the Renaissance. I think she loves a dashing man, who is quick to take action! And Dwight has his spud gun in his car and he knows a thing or two about the land. I would think Angela would love him because they could live in colonial times together. Dwight could keep her laughing about stories about the Amish and his beet farm.
When you’re working side-by-side, every day — you spend more time with the people you work with than the people at home — she’s definitely not getting out on dates on the weekend. And this dashing man who knows everything about beets is probably always on time — because she takes work very seriously — became more and more attractive to her.
When do you think their first kiss took place?
The first time the camera ever saw them together was at Jim’s barbeque, when they dangled their Birkenstocks together. Bumpin’ Birkenstocks is what we like to call it. I think that might be the first time they hooked up.
Really? Their first time was at the party?
I think maybe there was some flirting, but it took getting her out of the office, [and having] a glass of wine.
Who made the first move?
I think Dwight. And I think she would have it no other way. If she had to make the first move with him, it would be her way of ruling him out. NEXT!
If Angela was to flirt with someone else to make Dwight jealous — who would it be?
I sort of think if Dwight ever did anything to really make her mad — like in some moment of weakness, Dwight flirts with Kelly (because she hates Kelly) — Angela Martin would know his true Achilles heel, and the way to get back at him would be to flirt with Michael. Or make a move at Michael.
Now, it would probably disgust her. She would probably vomit a little in her mouth as she tried to flirt with Michael. If Angela wanted to get back at Dwight, she would zero-in on Michael Scott. It would be repulsive, and it would be mission accomplished because it would make Dwight have a total meltdown.
I don’t think she is interested in anyone else in the office. I think Oscar is her soulmate in the new way they have this sort of faghag relationship. She thinks Kevin’s an idiot. She thinks Andy’s an idiot —- she thinks everyone is an idiot, basically (laughs).
There is a series of “The Accountants” webisodes on NBC.com. Were you part of planning that?
They had the idea to do webisodes long before we knew as actors.
With Brian, Oscar and I sitting in that corner — especially in Season One, and most of Season Two, not having computers — we do a lot of background work for each other. I think that’s one reason we don’t have a lot of big egos on the show — you’re going to be someone’s background at one point. We’re a real ensemble in that way, we’re really supportive of each other. So we would sit back there for a really long time and we would come up with little bits. Little three line scenes — and half the time they never saw the light of day, it was just a way to amuse ourselves. One we came up with was:
Oscar says “Angela, do you want to grab lunch today?”
I say, “Yeah, sure!”
Kevin’s like, “Uh, where are you guys going?”
And I look at Oscar and say, “Nevermind.”
It’s these little moments, and usually at Kevin’s expense. Every once in a while, we’d flag over whoever was directing that week and say, “We’ve got a little accounting bit!” They would be shooting B-roll, little filler moments and we knew the shorter they were, the more of a chance they had of making it on. Our storylines were not really that developed yet — it was more about establishing the world of the main characters at that point. But we would have so much fun and crack each other up. We started telling the producers that we were going to have an accounting spin-off called ¡Los Contadores! and it would air on Telemundo. It was going to be a telenovela and very dramatic and it became this little running joke with the producers.
So, when it came time to do these webisodes — and feature one department of The Office to do them — I think the seed was there and the opportunity and of course, we were thrilled! We were so excited, we had a blast. We had so much fun. There could be a gagreel just of the webisodes because we laughed so much. We crack each other up anyway — we’re like three dorks that sit in the corner together.
And I’ve known Oscar for almost eight years. We did a sketch show together years ago called Hot Towel and it was directed by Dom Irrera. It was pretty funny. One of the characters that Oscar did was this crazy professor and one of my characters was this little horny Boy Scout! I had a little Boy Scout outfit and I would attack my brother’s dates.
I didn’t know he was cast [in The Office], and he didn’t know I was in it and we showed up to the pilot. And they told us we would be sitting next to each other — I was like, “You’re kidding me! This is amazing!” It’s been so much fun.
Speaking of friendships behind the scenes, how fun is it to play Pam’s nemesis when you are good friends with Jenna?
Oh — it’s so much fun. It’s ridiculous, it’s crazy. Because right before the director will yell action, we’ll be talking and I’ll be like, (giddy) “You did! You got it! Where did you get it? What size? And it came in green? Did you get the shoes? I’m totally going with you!” And then they’ll yell action, and I’ll be like, (deadpan) “Pam, you are a stupid woman.” (laughs)
It just cracks us up. Jenna cannot get through a scene if I glare at her. If I go from happy to sad, she just cracks up. And if anyone’s laughing — I’m laughing.
I was talking to one of our editors, Dean, and he said “You and Jenna have to go say thanks to Dave because I don’t know he edited that scene together.” (laughs) We knew it was going to be bad because we laughed so much that the director said, “Okay, let’s just take a break. Let’s get all the funny out.” And we were like, “We’re getting fired — we’re such jerks!” We are total hell on the editors — they tell us all the time that it’s impossible to edit our scenes because we laugh so much.
Have you ever done anything specifically to get her to break?
The one thing I’m talking about specifically is a scene in the episode “The Traveling Salesmen.” It actually was edited out for time, but when they did an hour special with “The Traveling Salesmen/The Return,” they put it back in. Pam and I have gone and had coffee and we really bonded, and Angela is in a great mood because Dwight drove her tax forms to the corporate office all the way in New York, she’s feeling very loved and happy and giddy.
Pam and Angela Martin get back from having coffee, and Pam pops over the desk and says, “Angela, I’ve got some good news — I’m going to be in this art festival.” I’m like, “Congratulations, Pam. I really like having these moments with you.” And I’m all happy and I say, “I would like to offer you my dominant cat.” Pam says “I really don’t think, I don’t know…” As she’s saying no, the writer wanted me to, by the end of it, absolutely hate her again. So I came up with an internal monologue for myself to help me have a slow transition in my face — a little actor thing that I do. So as she started talking, I was thinking to myself, “Oh you’re one of those type of people. You don’t like animals? Uh-huh. I see how you are. Typical!” I just went slowly to like “You are SUCH an idiot, a selfish person! I was right about you!” My face went from this smile to this look of “You’re going down.” Every time I made that slow transition — Jenna broke. Every time. So then I started knowing she was about to laugh, so I started to laugh. We both ended up like two schoolgirls laughing and laughing, totally being unprofessional.
But how often do you connect with somebody that you’re willing to offer them your dominant cat?
My dominant cat, Ash! And he’s the dominant male! C’mon. Angela Martin was really reaching out. And she was totally shot down by that little bitch Pam Beesley — damn her!
Of the cast, whose trailer has the best amenities?
I think that Jenna’s trailer is the most tricked out because she brings in all kinds of stuff. Ed Helms, one time, stopped by my trailer and was like, “Oh my god! Look how nice your trailer is!” I have a throw-blanket my mom quilted with some candles and some pictures up. I have a little TV tray. So I said, “You should see Jenna’s trailer.” She has this little coffee/tea machine, she has a TV tray because my commercial agent, who’s also a good friend of mine, Valerie, gave me a set gift four TV trays — two for me, two for Jenna. Jenna also has knickknacks and pictures, comfy pillows and a big down comforter. I think Jenna’s is the most tricked out. Then mine, as far as feminine things, is runner-up.
The guys, if they’re going to hang out somewhere, they hang out in John [Krasinski]’s trailer. John has that Madden Football and they are addicted to it. They play that 24-7. Whenever they have a break, they’re running [to it]. They have bets and they trash-talk, they love it.
Who’s the best?
You’re going to get me in trouble! I can’t answer that!
Who are some of the best, then — you can’t say all of them!
This will get me in plenty of hot water, but I’m going to say probably John Krasinski is the best. I think he knows how to do audible plays, I think I overheard them talking about that and I think it changes the game. Look at me!
I’m very impressed.
Well, I’m from Texas. You gotta know a little bit about football. I can throw a spiral — not very far, but I can throw it! I’m not going to do well if you tackle me, but I can throw it a little distance.
What was The Office panel at Paley Festival like?
Paley was amazing — it was so fun to really meet our fans. People came from all over and one of the things that I really liked about it is that we screened an episode with them and we sat in the audience and watched it with them. That was just a blast to watch an episode with people who love what you’re doing.
Because we’re all dorks for our show — we are. We’re so proud of it, we love it, we crack up, we watch episodes together. We talk to each other at work about scenes that were our favorite. It’s such a gift to be part of something you’re so proud of. I think a lot of people — no matter what profession you’re in — might sometimes work at a job they don’t like. But to work with people that you respect, and to really love what you’re doing — as Michael Scott would say, “it’s win-win-win.” And to watch an episode with our fans — it’s just so wild and fun and surreal to see them laugh at different parts.
Then we did a Q&A and people know the show so well, it blows your mind. Our writers came up with a quiz at the end because we thought it would be a fun way to wrap up the Q&A. They came up with a few trivia things we had a Dunder-Mifflin baseball hat and things like that. Some of these obscure questions, not one person would raise their hand — it would be like seven people would raise their hand! It was so much fun!
What TV couple do you love?
I loved Lucy and Desi, I really did. And I loved The Honeymooners. More recently, I thought that Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton had great TV chemistry [on Everybody Loves Raymond]. And Dwight and Angela Martin have been compared to Hot Lips Houlihan and Frank on M.A.S.H., so now I have this new tenderness for them. Think about it! They both secretly wanted to rule the world, they were both hardcore military and they had all these secret rendezvous’ and their whole relationship was “No! No! No! YES! YES! YES!” I think that’s very Dwight and Angela.
You’ve done your own shows. What was the most difficult thing about writing your one-woman show?
Honestly, just writing. Because no one else is going to do it! Just sitting down every day, saying, “I committed to doing this show. I bought the theater space, I’m supposed to be onstage in a month and I better get my crap together and write this thing.” A really good friend of mine, Jeris Donovan, who’s an amazing performer — she signed on to direct. I don’t know what I’d do without her because she’d say, “Okay, you have a rehearsal in two weeks.” And I didn’t have anything written. That was the hardest part because I had an idea of all these characters and just getting it down on the page.
How long did it take you to write it?
Some of them I had been working on for a long time. When you do improv and stuff, you can come out and try a character in a scene. And if that guy totally works, you start to get an idea of who he is. So I was writing and making adjustments right up to the show.
You mentioned that you were a great roller skater — do you have a special routine to a favorite song?
(laughs) Like “Xanadu?” No, I just love roller skating. I wish I lived near a rink because I would do that instead of going to the gym. I don’t know how much of a workout it is, but I would love it.
I grew up in Indonesia — it was Jakarta in the 70s and it wasn’t like you had movie theaters or things like that. The American Club, where a lot of the ex-pats would go, had this big room where they would have buffet dinners. Basically, a big banquet room that had a marble floor. The American Embassy would sometimes get films and they’d show it in this room. On Saturdays, they would clear off all the chairs and they had a little boom box and they’d play music and you could bring your kids to roller skate. My mom would drop me off and I would skate in that dark banquet room for hours. Of course, I loved it all. Then when I got stateside and I got to go to a real rink, I was like, “WOW! They have disco lights and look at the floor!” There was an arcade and you could get a pizza! It was so funny — in Indonesia, we were so excited about our little marble hole in the wall.
So, tell me about your appearance on Thank God You’re Here that airs on May 2nd on NBC.
Well, my background is in improv — ImprovOlympic Theater, specifically. I love improv, and for years I did improv shows that never made it. I did an improv pilot for oxygen. Then NBC has this new improv show — it started out in Australia and I actually got to see a few episodes of the Australian version on YouTube and they are so funny.
I was really excited to be able to do it. Basically, you show up — you have no idea what’s going on. None. There’s a live audience. And then someone comes to get you and you’re in the jeans and t-shirt that you showed up in, you go and there’s a little dressing room right off the main stage, they have a costume waiting for you. The wardrobe people put it on you and as they put it on you and as you start to realize what the heck am I, they announce your name — you walk on stage. And then you walk into a room in front of a live audience and they say “Thank god you’re here” and you’re the center of that scene. But you don’t know why you’re there and you sort of figure it out in front of a live audience being televised.
The wardrobe people call and get your sizes. I’ve never seen such cloak and dagger with wardrobe people — they came into my room just to say hey, and I totally saw them sizing me up. Like, “okay, that top’s definitely going to be too big.” I’m with Tom Arnold, Fran Drescher and Fred Willard. I was so excited to meet all of them — Fran Drescher is so funny and Tom Arnold was so sweet, a teddybear, but Fred Willard — I was so nervous to meet him, because if you do improv, he’s kind of like a god.
So I’m curious to see how it turns out. That’s the thing about improv — it’s a total crapshoot! But they have a way of taking care of you. The improvisers on the show are really good and they provide support for you.
And you’ve got a role in the upcoming License to Wed What’s that about?
It’s a really cute romantic comedy and it stars John Krasinski, Mandy Moore and Robin Williams. If you’re a fan of The Office, then you’re going to see some familiar faces. Ken Kwapis directed it and he also directs a lot of The Office episodes, he directed the pilot. Obviously, John is the lead and then adorable Brian Baumgartner has a fairly sizeable role. I have a very small scene, but I had such a great time — I was paired up with Bob Balaban. He’s a great improviser and so funny. We work in this jewelry store and that’s all I’ll say so as not to give anything away.