Movies & TV Shows

Breaking Bad Star On Trying to Out-Bore Toby in His Cameo

David Costabile opens up about his cameo in The Office season 6, and his attempts to out-bore Paul Lieberstein’s fan-favorite character, Toby.

David Costabile reveals he tried to out-bore Toby during his cameo in The Office. The series, based on the British iteration of the same name co-created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, was developed for US audiences by showrunner Greg Daniels. One of the most beloved sitcoms ever made, The Office US ran from 2005 to 2013 and drew in a number of prominent cameo performances from major stars including Christian Slater, Jim Carrey and Idris Elba.

Perhaps best known for his roles as Gale Boetticher in Breaking Bad and Mike Magner in Billions, Costabile also enjoyed a brief appearance in The Office’s season 6 episode “The Banker.” Featuring as Eric Ward, an investment banker looking to sign off on the sale of Dunder Mifflin, he is unprepared for the chaotic welcome that greets him as the employees of Scranton attempt to impress him. A compilation of some of the office’s most comedic and risqué blunders ensues when Ward attempts to discuss employee morale, office safety and liability issues with HR manager, Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein). One of the most beloved characters on the show, Toby became iconic for his sensible yet mild-mannered responses to the destructive behaviour of his co-workers, with some of his most comedic interactions featuring Michael Scott (Steve Carell), who openly declares him his nemesis.

Related: The Office Finale: The True Story Behind Dakota Johnson’s Cameo

Now, during an appearance on the Office Ladies podcast (via Mashable), Costabile opened up about his cameo on The Office and his attempts to out-bore Lieberstein’s Toby. Stating that he’d tried to be even “drier” and “more understated” than Lieberstein, Costabile admitted that he ultimately couldn’t do it. Adding that their attempts to outdo each other had been fun, Costabile said that Lieberstein “smoked [him] out” in the end, explaining the actor had more “levels” to his straight-faced portrayal.

“One of the things that I remember so strongly was I had a scene with Paul, and I wanted so badly to see if I could be drier and even more understated than Paul and sadly, I couldn’t do it. […] And I tried my hardest to do it, and I really, really wanted to because I love Paul’s acting, and I thought he was hilarious in the show and I wanted to see if I could actually go underneath where he was. And as I did it, I realized like, ‘Oh no. He has so many other levels that he could even ratchet back.’ And he did. He smoked me out, clearly, as we were doing the scene, because then as I was trying to get below him, he would just get lower and lower and smaller and smaller. And it was an incredibly fun game to try to play as we were shooting the scene.”

Toby Flenderson sits at his desk in The Office

Boasting huge ratings, as well as critical acclaim, a portion of The Office‘s success was accredited to the comedic chemistry of its ensemble cast, including the poker-faced Liberstein. With regulars including Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, B.J. Novak, Ed Helms, Mindy Kaling, and Amy Ryan, The Office claimed two Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2006 and 2007 in recognition of the cast’s outstanding comedy performance. Considered a launching pad for the careers of several of its stars, The Office was similarly praised for the individual performances of actors such as Carell, who took home a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Michael Scott in 2006. Among such an outgoing an energetic ensemble, it was perhaps sometimes easy to miss Liberstein’s understated but exceptional performance as Toby.

Though Costabile also revealed that he had previously auditioned for the role of Dwight, it is perhaps a testament to the show’s acclaim that he continued to push for a part in the series even as it entered its season 6. While hard to imagine any actor filling the shoes of Rainn Wilson as such an integral character, Costabile’s perseverance meant that he eventually found his place in The Office and became another example of the show’s excellent casting choices. Though he may have felt that his performance failed to match that of Lieberstein’s Toby, his screen time opposite the beloved character could be considered an invaluable way to leave a permanent impression on the comedy series.

More: The Office: All The Clues Toby Was The Scranton Strangler

Source: Office Ladies (via Mashable)

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