David Denman, who played Roy on The Office, is currently starring in Brightburn, which is produced by James Gunn, who used to be married in real life to Jenna Fischer, the actress who played a character on The Office to whom Denman’s character was romantically involved. It was that connection that eventually led to Denman landing the lead role in Brightburn opposite Elizabeth Banks. In fact, according to Denman, during the years in which he was on The Office, he was closer friends with Fischer than even John Krasinski was, despite what one might believe based on a quote taken out of context several years ago. At any rate, James Gunn befriended Denman through his relationship with Fischer during his years on The Office, they had dinners and stayed in contact over the years, and a situation, Brightburn, finally arose in which they could work together, which lead to Denman’s role in the movie.
Before Brightburn, however, Denman — who is married to Fear the Walking Dead and The Rookie star Mercedes Mason — bounced around in a number of roles, from Cinemax’s Outcast to NBC’s Parenthood. Still, thanks to the popularity of The Office on Netflix, Roy remains the role for which he is best known, though he was only a star on that series for three of the show’s nine seasons.
According to an interview with Denman, however, he knew ahead of season four that he’d be written out of the series, not because of anything he read in the scripts, but because NBC had offered him a rich contract, which would only kick in if he was picked up for the fourth season. From Hollywood Reporter:
Ahead of what would be his final run, it wasn’t totally clear he’d be exiting the show. During contract negotiations ahead of season three, NBC offered the actor a rich deal that would kick in should he be asked to continue for season four. Denman’s then-agent told the actor that the writing was on the wall: NBC was offering big money for a hypothetical season four to keep him under his old contract for one more year. He’d never see that money.
In other words, NBC lowballed him on season three with the promise of a bigger contract if he remained on the show in season four. Denman was optimistic, and his character and Pam actually began to reconcile in season three, but eventually, it became clear that he’d be written out of the series:
“All of a sudden, Roy was an idiot again. And I went, ‘Uh. We’re definitely not going to get back together,'” recalls Denman. “At that same table read, we found out The Office has been picked up for three years. Everyone is going, ‘Oh, my God! It’s amazing!’ And I turned to Greg and I go, ‘I’m not going to be on this, am I?’ And he goes, ‘No. It’s not you. Honestly. I need to get Romeo and Juliet together, and I can’t really do that with you lurking around.'”
That’s the nature of the business, unfortunately, Thankfully, Denman harbored no ill will, especially as Greg Daniels allowed Denman to pursue other projects while still under his third-season contract with The Office. Of course, Denman would return twice more to The Office, including “Roy’s Wedding,” in part because John Krasinski lobbied for his return. Coincidentally, three years after The Office ended, Denman ended up co-starring in Michael Bay’s 13 Hours alongside Krasinki, all of which is to say: Hollywood is a small world. Connections matter, because one never knows how a prior relationship could pay off years down the road, as Denman’s connections on The Office have continued to pay dividends throughout his career.
(Via Hollywood Reporter)