James Spader in talks to join 'The Office' -- EXCLUSIVE

james_spader

The Office may have found a new boss: James Spader is negotiating with NBC to join the hit comedy next fall — but not merely as the manager of the Scranton branch.

The three-time Emmy winning Boston Legal star has been reportedly in the mix to replace Steve Carell for awhile, and even guest starred in the season finale as one of several celebrity contenders vying for the Dunder Mifflin manager gig (video below).

But producers have a different role in mind for Spader: CEO of Dunder Mifflin, replacing Kathy Bates, who sources say will exit the show to focus on season 2 of Harry’s Law. “In the finale, he kicked ass,” says a source close to the show. “He was so funny and had this weird energy. We didn’t want to pass it up.”

Whereas Bates functioned more like a guest star in the series, however, Spader would have a significant weekly presence on the show. The actor’s deal is not done and no scripts have been written for the upcoming eighth season, which goes into production in about a month. Yet if all goes according to plan, Spader’s character — named “Robert California” — will be introduced in the premiere as the new Office manager. He quickly decides the role is too small for him, and somehow talks corporate into appointing him as its new CEO.

Sources say California will have a strong impact on the rest of the Office staff, demonstrating a manipulative power and a somewhat creepy sexual vibe:

“Dwight has never come up against somebody equally powerful and diabolical. With Andy, he could be a real father figure and make life really hard for him once he senses he can manipulate him. Jim reads people really quickly, yet wasn’t sure what to make of this guy.”

As for who will take the role of manager, that’s still unclear. Spader’s hire leaves open the possibility of an internal candidate stepping into the post, or another new hire coming on board. Brit comedian Catherine Tate was reported as an early front-runner for the post. Movie star Will Ferrell filled in for a multi-episode arc during on the show during May sweeps that divided some fans.

The NBC hit has teased viewers and the media alike with a year-long guessing game over who will take the starring role on the show. When the show ended last month, felonious mysterious Creed Bratton was sitting in the manager seat thanks to his seniority with the company.

In the finale, Spader was interviewed by Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) along with the HR representative Toby — who’s also the show’s real-life executive producer Paul Lieberstein. “There is no such thing as a ‘product,'” Spader’s arrogant character lectured. “There is only sex. Everything is sex. You understand what I’m telling you is a universal truth.”

Gabe worried Spader might be “over qualified” for the gig. “Do I look like someone who would waste my own time?” Spader countered.

The Office has a long history of blending behind-the-scenes writers and on-air characters, and in the finale, you could take Spader’s scene for a real-life audition. Here’s the scene where Spader is “interviewed” by Lieberstein and Krasinski:

Read more:
‘The Office’ season finale recap: Who’s the boss?
‘The Office': Who would you hire?
26 Great TV Season Finales

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  • orville

    I dunno. That character was too weird–even for The Office. I could see him as a guest star on the order of what Kathy Bates did, but not as a weekly presence.

    • Ryan

      he was one of the worst ones i hate this guy to be on the show

      • Booyah

        I liked him. But most of all I would like Steve Coogan to play some distant relative of his character Alan Partridge as the new manager.

      • Carlos Estevez

        Charlie Sheen! It’s brilliant!

      • Jill

        I absolutely HATED James Spader’s character just tremendously in the finale! Even being huge fan since the beginning and with some pretty bad archs in between, I gotta say if they hire him I won’t watch. His character was that unpleasant and generally icky.

      • Joey

        Wow, he’s really let himself go. What is he, 50? Just 11 years ago he was uber-hot in that science fiction film he did with Angela Bassett, what was it, Supernova? Black Hole? The guy never looked as fit and hunky before or ever since, but he looks like he is seventy now. Damn.

      • Mallory

        I just saw “Supernova” (that’s the film, Joey) and yes, my God, he was friggin’ hot in that movie, back in 2000. He is 51 now, way too young to look that old. He is still attractive, but he could be a hot fiftysomething if he just lost the gut and shaved his head a la Bruce Willis.

      • Walternate

        I bet Mallory is “way too young to look that old” also!

      • Veronica Mars

        Ryan = Complete simpleton

      • LINDA BOWMAN

        Jim Spader isone of the best actors ever….he is also one of the least heralded….an asset to any show….he becomes the character and can make u hate him or love him..that is a great actor…..

      • 210

        i totally hated Spader’s character, and if he somehow replaces Carell, I will be VERY VERY disappointed.

      • officefan

        I disagree. Spader was great! Creepy, funny. Will fit right in!

    • sarah

      I agree. I also thought he had too much the same element as Steve Carrell’s Michael. Overbearing, thinks too much of himself, etc.

      • Veronica Mars

        sarah = ignoramus

      • sean

        Why because she voiced an opinion opposite of yours? Veronica Mars you are the ignoramus.

      • Jiji Moran

        Some of these doctors need to learn how to spell.

    • Cygnus

      Spader looks terrible. That hairline has receded several feet since Boston Legal. He may need to borrow Shatner’s toupee soon.

      • Vic Nardozza

        I agree. Don’t give us somebody who is funny and talented. Give us someone with hair. Idiot.

      • Cygnus

        WHo’s the idiot for inferring I meant anything about his comic ability and acting? I think he’s hilarious. Was just pointing out how haggard he looks as he’s getting older. Get a grip, guido.

      • G. G.

        The one who looks awful is Toby. Has he lost a lot of weight? Has he been ill? He looks a bit haggard.

      • Barb

        Yeah, what’s going on with Toby?

      • Bigmouth

        What’s wrong with Toby? Not enough of his brother’s preserves!

      • flounder

        What happened to the Spader? Man…he looks likes he’s 85. No hair and fat.

      • Rose

        For all the people (mostly adolescent males) who are posting negative comments about James Spader’s hairline, weight, etc. Just remember that he has more than established himself to be a multi-award winning and highly gifted actor, and although he is getting older (yes, that will happen to you sooner than you think), he’s still drop dead sexy! Most of you couldn’t even hold a match (let alone a candle) to Mr. Spader, in your lifetime! HA!

      • mary

        I think he had his eyes “done” Has that beady eyed look popular with peeps like Gary Shandling, Billy Crystal, Kenny Rogers, etc. How do they think it makes them look better? I don’t get it….

      • Jean

        Well, I’m a 52-year-old female, and I think he looks incredibly old for his age, which should be around the same ballpark as mine. And no, I don’t think that takes anything away from his talent. But it wouldn’t hurt his career if he were talented (like he is) AND hot (like he could be if he just shed the pounds and worked out) Have you seen him in “Supernova”? That was only 10-11 years ago, and you would think it was 30 years back. He was ripped and hunky.

      • thin

        Did any of you rocket scientists consider for even a second that he might actually have had makeup to make him look worse? Did you fail to notice that every one of the celeb guest stars looked uglier/geekier/shlumpier than they usually do? Geez.

      • amyc

        Thank you, thin, my thoughts exactly.

      • Darr247

        Compare how young he looked with Kurt Russel in the first Stargate movie.

      • Anne

        I love James Spader – BECAUSE he is weird and a fabulous actor – but I signed in here to look further, because I couldn’t believe he DIDN’T look hot! Please James, lose the weight (or the pillow under your shirt) – we shouldn’t have to endure a world in which James Spader doesn’t look hot.

      • gaga

        James Spader has never looked hot…in any world! Ick.

      • Mel

        maybe him looking the way he did was for this particular character??

        just sayin..

      • artgrl

        Holy crap, he WAS smokin’ hot in Supernova. And that was just made in 2000?? Why did he let himself go? Not saying his acting isn’t brilliant, but that is a waste of a once beautiful, stunning man.

    • Matt

      I wasn’t sold either way; I do not think he should be an every-episode character; maybe have the screen-time exposure between Michael (every ep) and Kathy Bates’ character (once in every few eps)? I think Daryl should be the branch manager; have the rest of the office play as the comic foil against him.

      • Veronica Mars

        Zzzzzzzz…..

        Matt = The guy that everybody wishes would never talk

    • ryan

      He is great!

      • debi

        i agree-i thought he did the best guest starring bit & is a wonderful actor!

    • Ian

      He’s basically going to play the new David Wallace instead of their regional manager, which seems like it will work better.

      • Veronica Mars

        Liar.

        He is NOT going to play the new David Wallace.

    • Sam J

      He is the comedic opposite of Michael Scott. He is Smart, Serious, and Commands Respect in a funny, creepy way. This could work. I’m laughing at the “this job is too small for me. I need to be CEO”. I tryed that once. Now I’m not working and talking to you.

    • wendy

      I LOVE James Spader – I can’t wait!

      • amie

        Im with you Wendy, I thought he was the best cameo on the finale. Love this idea!

      • thin

        I’m on board with this, too. He was the only one of the guests who was interesting in any way beyond the primary joke of seeing big stars doing cameos interviewing to work there.

      • amyc

        I love James Spader, too, and loved him in the finale. The guy is brilliant! I would definitely welcome his presence on the show.

      • 210

        wendy you cant have watched the same finale that i did. spader sucks! his character tried to act cool and superior than everyone, but whats so cool about a fat, bald, ugly man. i hope he characted suffers a worse fate than ferrell’s character.

      • tina

        i agree! he was creepy with swagger. i love the interaction between he and jim.

    • wendy

      by the way – Spader has always had a receding hairline, but does not usually brush it back like that.

      • wendy

        maybe not always – but since 2006 – he had to start brushing it forward – using bangs

    • retling

      I think he would make a great addition to the show. You have to have someone make them uncomfortable that’s what Carrell did when the show first started. It would be great to see how they have the characters handle him.

  • Marten

    YES! He was the guy I most wanted to win. He’ll be great.

    • jk

      I agree! Even if he was weird and evil, he was the stand out of amongst all the “applicants”.

      • Lily

        Agree. Spader rocks. He’s an awesome actor and effortlessly creepy!

      • iloveshowtime

        same I loved his staredown with dwight in the lobby hahaha “u trying to read me?” “already did. it’s done” haha and if he takes over for Kathy bates then either Jim carrey or that english chick should take over for manager and get the Ramano character for like a second Toby haha it’s like I want all the people from the finale eh except gervais he’s funny but I couldn’t see him playing the same character again

    • katie

      I totally agree. He was completely kick ass in the episode and I have to say I remember his character the most.

    • Jen in ny

      Spacer is the only guy who could save the show. He was amazing in the finale.

      • Jen in ny

        I mean Spader. I’m doing six things at once.

    • RLRose328

      YES! He is perfect for the show. Just re-watching that clip gave me chills. Have always been a fan and will always be a fan, receding hairline and all. He will definitely give Dwight a run for his money and isn’t that what we all want?

      • Lady

        I agree with all said. Spader is the man — love him in any movieor TV. He is a genius.

  • Brian K

    Bring back David Wallace.

    • Matt

      Amen… and correct the article… it’s Creed BRATTON!

    • Matt

      Well, for starters, I’m Matt. But yes – I thought I was the only one who missed David Wallace!

      • JaySin420

        How about a “Suck It” spinoff?

      • Veronica Mars

        How about GTF0, idiot?

    • Mary

      I agree. Bring back David Wallace

  • Carrie Ann

    Should be interesting. I’m dying to know who will replace Michael, though. I was kinda hoping it would be Catherine Tate. Why not replace him with a woman?

    • alan of montreal

      agree

    • Jessica

      I agree completely. As far as I’m concerned, the only real plus to this news about James Spader is that his brief storyline might buy Catherine Tate enough time to finish her run in “Much Ado About Nothing” in the West End before she’d have to be over here to start shooting the season. Fingers crossed…

    • T2

      Why not Jan?

  • Grubi

    Gabe was the one that said he might be overqualified; not Jim.

    • lefty

      Irrelevant.

  • LOL

    Spader was the best element of the Office season finale.

    • shawn

      I agree, I loved him on the last show.

  • e4ia

    He was the best! I was really hoping that he would join the cast. His character would give The Office a new vibe and head it into a fresher direction to get it’s mojo back.

  • Zoe

    Spader was easily the most memorable “interviewee” in the finale. I would have been surprised if the producers would have passed him up.

    • K

      I like this twist on it. I didn’t buy him wanting to be manager, but I do believe he would manipulate himself to a higher position. I am actually more positive about the season if this happens because it is more realistic for that character.

  • JOsh

    Well there we go…I’m now officially done with The Office if this turns out to be true.

    • jason

      Agreed!

    • Conner

      Gee, you are loyal. Just gunna give up on it? Get out of here, you were never a real fan.

    • Klaatu

      Oh great…that’s just great. Now Josh and Jason are done with the show.
      C’mon, NBC! Get your shtuff together! You’re going to lose Josh and Jason!

  • Al

    He was brilliant in the finale. I think this is perfect as he was a little too intense for the manager role but I like him as a recurring character.

  • astro

    The best news I’ve heard today!

    • Teddd

      I agree, the best news I’ve heard today! Spader is such a wonderful actor I can’t imagine that this could be anything but a win for The Office.

  • Ben

    I stopped going to church a while back. But when I heard Tate was a strong shoe-in I immediatly returned and prayed God spare us the dread and unkind punishment that would result from that reality.

    • Vic Nardozza

      I agree. She would be, by far, the worst choice of the bunch and the death knell for the show.

  • 867-5309

    Nooooo – please don’t waste Spader on this dreck. He deserves his OWN show that will showcase his dramatic and comedic talents. David Kelley – bring back Allen Shore!!

  • JJ

    Terrible idea. They need to cast a funny female in that role like Mo Collins.

    • Laura

      Finally a great suggestion! She’s just crazy/funny enough for the role, and is even already associated with The Office by her recurring guest role on Parks & Recreation. There aren’t a lot of female actors who are that laugh-out-loud funny and she cracks me up every time!

    • Raphael

      WOW! dude good call i never even thought of Mo Collins – she would be absolutely great

    • David

      Mo Collins would be PERFECT as the boss!!

    • Kyle

      No, I’d rather have Catherine Tate!

      • Shevi

        I’m with you, Kyle. It really should be Catherine Tate! Everything that came out of her mouth in her interview could have been plots for future episodes. Spader’s character left me with an icky feeling, so if he replaces Michael Scott, I’m definitely not going to stop watching. If they thought Will Ferrell divided audiences… They’re going to be losing viewers faster than the Titanic lost passengers. But Tate could bring in millions of Doctor Who fans. My daughter and her friends say they’ll start watching The Office if Catherine Tate is on it, and aren’t shows always looking for that younger demographic? Spader is great, but he’s a serious actor–and you can’t replace a great Improv actor with a serious actor. Catherine Tate, though, is brilliant at Improv. It has to be Tate!

      • Shevi

        That should have been “I’m definitely going to stop watching” if Spader replaces Steve Carell.

    • amyc

      Ha ha, Yes! Mo Collins!

  • D

    No one can replace Michael Scott, I give it two more seasons tops

    • JaySin420

      I agree, but I’d love to see Rob Corrdry get a shot at it.

      And if they just want ratings, why not bring in Sheen for a few episodes?

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