Trail of Tears as Carell Leaves ‘Office’ With Big Shoes to Fill

Steve Carell of 'The Office' (Photo: NBC)

Steve Carell of 'The Office' (Photo: NBC)

How big a challenge will it be to replace the incomparable Steve Carell on “The Office”? For those who have worked with him for seven seasons, it will be difficult indeed.

That’s the feeling you get every time someone from the set of “The Office” reports on the high emotions everyone felt as Carell – the befuddled, tactless and (sometimes) lovable heart and soul of this razor-sharp NBC comedy series – filmed his last scenes last week.

Carell Films Final ‘Office’ Scenes, Farewell Episode Gets Airdate

The latest to weigh in with his two cents: Paul Feig, who directed Carell’s final episode, scheduled to air April 28. “We were exhausted by the end of that week,” Feig told in this interview. “You thought you’d stop being sad or stop being emotional, but every scene was, ‘Oh, we just did the last conference room’ or ‘Oh, we just did the last talking head.’ So it was pretty wild.”

Once a group of virtual unknowns, many of this show’s cast became big stars from playing office workers on this well-regarded series, and they realize they have Carell to thank for it. He’s a big reason — possibly the biggest reason — why this show stuck around for as long as it has.

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“Everybody was kind of in a state of suspended animation,” Feig said. “Everyone kinda knew and [was] pretending it wasn’t happening, but then we were rehearsing a scene with the accounting department, and all of a sudden Angela Kinsey just sort of burst into tears. She was like, ‘This is my last scene with you.’ And we all kind of immediately snapped out of it, pretended it didn’t happen, and we went back and started doing it. But they had a great send off for him at the end. It was very emotional.”

There’s still no word on who the producers will install as Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton-based regional manager next season.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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