Jim Halpert, played by John Krasinski, is one of the characters many fans of “The Office” could relate to. Kransinski’s comedic style provided a balance for Michael Scott’s antics at Dunder Mifflin, but if not for a NASCAR driver, Kransinski might not have ever gotten the shot to play the role.
In 2002, three years before “The Office” began airing on NBC, Krasinski starred in a NASCAR ad with Matt Kenseth, which caught the eye of the show’s executive producer, Greg Daniels, according to NASCAR’s Inside Groove.
Kenseth, being the relatively “boring” driver he is, didn’t want to have a line in the script. That left the up-and-coming actor to do all the heavy lifting.
“At the end of the day, they just asked ‘Would you just improv and have fun? Let’s see what we get’ and we just kept going and I think they just watched the dog go off the leash, just improving all this stuff,” Krasinski told NPR’s Fresh Air, via NASCAR. “By the end, Matt said ‘Well, now I do want to say some stuff.’ So he came in and we were joking around all day. It was probably one of the more fun times I’ve had, certainly before I got ‘The Office.‘”
The result? Three minutes of awkward comedy that’s very similar to “The Office’s” style.
Krasinski’s a NASCAR fan, now, and served as the grand marshal for the fall race at Texas Motor Speedway in 2015.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images