Remember that time Jim and Pam got engaged in the pouring rain during The Office's Season 5 premiere? As if we could forget, right? Well, Jenna Fischer just revealed that famous scene was the hit series' most expensive to film. Here's why.
The Hall Pass star discussed the pricey scene with co-host Angela Kinsey on a recent episode of The Office Ladies podcast. "So first of all, I just wanted you guys to know that [showrunner] Greg [Daniels] spoke with us about this. He said that he really wanted Jim's proposal to Pam to be in the season premiere," Jenna said. "He thought, number one, that would be unexpected. You usually end seasons with proposals. So he thought this would be a real shock."
And boy, was he right. Even Angela Kinsey said she "didn't see it coming." But having the highly anticipated moment occur at the season's start wasn't enough shock value to satisfy Greg Daniels. The producer also "wanted to throw people off by having it in a very ordinary location," said Fischer. "He wanted it to feel special, but also he wanted it to feel like Jim made the decision without a whole lot of planning."
But the "ordinary" setting had an extraordinary price tag. The set imitated a real-life gas station frequented by Daniels and took nine days to construct. Built in a Best Buy parking lot, the designers used Google Street View images of the real gas station to recreate it accurately. "To create the illusion of highway traffic, they built a four-lane circular racetrack around the gas station set," Jenna explained.
"They set up cameras on the other side of this raceway, and they had cars drive around it at 55 miles an hour. Then they added rain pouring down on us [with] these giant rain machines," she continued. "Our production manager, Randy Cordray, said they had about 45 precision drivers. They were driving not just cars, but like, semi-trucks."
And if that wasn't enough, a special effects time later edited the background of California mountains for a more appropriate scenery of east coast greenery. The total price? "In the end, this was the single-most expensive scene shot in the entire run of the show," Fischer said. "It lasted 52 seconds, and it cost $250,000." At least Brian Baumgartner's famous chili scene was probably quite affordable! Interested in more behind-the-scenes secrets? Get the inside scoop from the hilarious Office Ladies.