Jenna Fischer has revealed that the most expensive scene in the US version of The Office was Jim Halpert’s gas station proposal to her character Pam Beesly.
Speaking on the latest episode of the podcast Office Ladies, which she co-hosts with former co-star Angela Kinsey (who portrayed Angela Martin on the show), Fischer discussed the set of the proposal and how much it cost to make.
‘Weight Loss’, the season five premiere, sees Jim (played by John Krasinski) propose to Pam at a gas station between New York City, where Pam is completing a graphic design class, and Scranton, where Jim still works at Dunder Mifflin.
While fairly simple in appearance, with Jim popping the big question in front of the rest stop while it pours down with rain, the production costs were much higher than you might think, according to Fischer.
“In the end, this was the single most expensive scene ever shot during the entire run of the show,” Fischer told Kinsey. “It lasts 52 seconds, and it cost $250,000 (£176,242).”
Going into a bit more detail about the production, Fischer revealed that the scene wasn’t shot on location, instead it required a custom set, fake rain, drivers, and some work in post-production.
“We did not actually fly to this location. This is the insane part. They built this in the parking lot of a Best Buy that I have been to many times, actually,” Fischer explained. “What they did was they used Google Street View to capture images of a real gas station along the Merritt Parkway, and then using those images, they built it to match in this parking lot. It took them about nine days to build it.”
She added that the show’s team “built a four-lane circular racetrack around the gas station set” in order to create the illusion of highway traffic around Jim and Pam.
“They set up cameras on the other side of this raceway and they had cars drive around it at 55 miles an hour,” she said. “Then they added rain pouring down on us, these giant rain machines.
“Our production manager, Randy Cordray, said they had about 35 precision drivers. They were driving not just cars, but like semi trucks. When we were standing there on that set, you could feel the wind like of these cars speeding past you. It was so, so bonkers.”
Earlier this week, Fischer paid tribute to co-star Mark York who died at the age of 55.
The actor played property manager Billy Merchant in The Office, and died following a “brief and unexpected illness” according to his family.
“Mark was a lovely man and a pleasure to work with. Very funny every time. Much love to his family,” Fischer wrote on Twitter.