NEW YORK — Jenna Fischer’s girl-next-door accessibility has charmed viewers of The Office for eight seasons. And she takes that approachability into real life, posting honest descriptions on social media of what it’s like to do a photo shoot or break into acting.
Perhaps that’s why in her latest project, a romantic comedy called The Giant Mechanical Man, you want to see her win. Fischer’s character, Janice, is a down-on-her-luck single woman who can’t seem to get her life together and falls for a street performer played by Chris Messina.
The film premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. It also stars Topher Grace and Malin Akerman and is written and directed by Fischer’s husband, Lee Kirk.
“In the time it took for him to write the script, develop the movie and get financing, we did end up falling in love and getting married and we just had a baby,” she says. “So, I guess the on screen love story was paralleled by our real life love story.”
AP: What was it like being directed by your husband?
Fischer: It was a little unusual for the love scenes, for example. Chris (Messina) and my husband became such good friends in the making of the movie that I could tell Chris was very shy about kissing me so he kept holding back. The most awkward thing was to go to my husband the director and say, “I think you need to tell this man to kiss me more because he’s holding back. You need to go give him permission.” The kissing scene was the one scene we ended up reshooting. Then Chris really did kiss me and I said, “I knew it!” because you could tell.
AP: You were a producer on the film, too. What was that like?
Fischer: I love producing because I love making Excel spreadsheets and schedules and proofreading. I’ve always said if I wasn’t an actor I would aspire to be the executive secretary of the President of the United States. I love anticipating people’s needs and filling them.
AP: Would you ever direct?
Fischer: I will never do it. And I don’t write. They’re too hard. I can’t do it. My brain doesn’t see things that way. I can’t visualize how a scene is supposed to look but I can feel it emotionally from the inside.
AP: You have a real dialogue going with your fans on MySpace and on Twitter. Why?
Fischer: Growing up in St. Louis, Hollywood or New York City felt very far away. I so wished that I had some portal into that world. When I’m tweeting or writing blogs, I’m hoping that I can give a glimpse of what it’s like to some other girl or boy who wants to be an actor. I imagine how excited my 14-year-old self would be if I could get advice about that world.