Melora Hardin by Chris Polk/WireImage Melora Hardin by Chris Polk/WireImage

By all accounts, it's been a rough spring for The Office's Jan and Michael. The now-infamous dinner party not only sent Michael on the prowl for ladies in NYC, but also left us wondering what will become of Jan. With the finale of The Office arriving May 15, we chatted with Melora Hardin to find out more about her character, plus what else Hardin will be up to while Dunder Mifflin's on hiatus - from her role in the upcoming Hannah Montana movie to her theatrical work. Just as Jan and Michael's relationship hit the rocks, Hardin also teamed up with Oscar Meyer for their Deli Creations campaign, which, Hardin says, seeks to put some romance into office lunchtimes everywhere - something that she can relate to. - Anna Dimond

TVGuide.com: Jan's had a stressful spring. What's been going on inside her head?
Hardin:
Coming off this office relationship that she had with Michael, which leads us to the Oscar Meyer survey [on office romances] - [which found that] 67 percent of Americans have had some sort of relationship with a coworker - she came out of that feeling really bad about herself, and then good about herself, and then they were living together, and she's just trying to put the pieces together and find her femininity and who she is and what her life is about, where she fits in as a woman. She's trying on the white picket fence, and seeing if that's for her, and I think finding that it's not.

TVGuide.com: Is there any part of Jan's experience that you can relate to? How does it compare with your own experiences?
Hardin:
Well, Jan is extremely different from me, but I identify with a lot of her struggles, everyone has struggles in their life. In terms of through your twenties and figuring out who you are, I think she's a little late in that process. She's spent so much time climbing the corporate ladder that she didn't have time to really look inwardly at all and figure out who she is, and I think she's amping up to get ready to do that.

TVGuide.com: Have you ever had a relationship with someone you worked with?
Hardin:
I have, and I in fact I met my husband at a wrap party of a movie I starred in, so I guess you could consider that an office romance, being that wrap parties are part of my office setting.

TVGuide.com: So what's next for Jan and Michael?
Hardin:
I can't tell you very much. But the season finale is when people need to tune in, because there's lot of surprises, but we may see Jan. Jan's not going away.

TVGuide.com: And what about other aspects of the finale? Are Pam and Jim rock solid?
Hardin:
I've been sworn to secrecy, but there's some good stuff in many different storylines.

TVGuide.com: Do you think audiences "get" Jan? Are there any misperceptions about her?
Hardin:
I think audiences get her. Sometimes people say they think she's "evil." I don't get that at all. I think she's flawed and I think she's lost and I think she's searching and really doing the best that she can. And she struggles and falls and trips and sometimes splats on the pavement, but I don't think she's full of malice. I think she's really doing the best that she can. And I think she does love Michael, and is very confused about all of that.

TVGuide.com: Once The Office wraps May 15, what do you have on tap for the summer?
Hardin:
Well, the Hannah Montana movie is taking me all through June, then I have two weeks off, then I start rehearsals for Les Miserables, and by then we'll be back to The Office again, for Season 5. Les Mis will be at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles for three nights, with some really amazing Tony Award winners, and Rosie O'Donnell's going to do it.

TVGuide.com: You have a few movies in the works, including the new Hannah Montana movie. What's your role like?
Hardin:
I play Billy Ray Cyrus' love interest. It's fun because she's such a different character than Jan. She's very confident, very earthy. She's the foreman of the farm, of Miley's grandmother's farm. She's a woman who comes from being down and on the upswing of more good things to come.

TVGuide.com: As you get ready to work with Miley Cyrus, and given that you're a mother and also started acting very young, what's your take on some of what's been going on with her lately?
Hardin:
I think she's 15. Fifteen is a very tricky age and full of a lot of things: Full of naiveté and full of budding sexuality and full of a little bit of myopic sense of themselves in the world. It's not really her problem. Annie Leibovitz is an amazing photographer, so she's going to capture all that stuff that's going to come out of her, being a normal 15-year-old, and I think it's more a question of her handlers protecting her image.

TVGuide.com: You also have a movie of your own that you directed. Can you tell us about the film?
Hardin:
It's called You, it's a love story, it's a tapestry, kind of a coming of age for a man and his daughter. It's a father's coming of age story as well as a daughter's coming of age story. It's very beautiful, it's very touching and poetic. My husband wrote it, I directed it, we're both in it, our kids are in, my parents are in it, friends of ours - Brenda Strong and Joely Fisher and Allison Mack are in it...lots of really talented people. It was a labor of love.

TVGuide.com: Do you see yourself directing more?
Hardin:
Absolutely. This will be just my first movie, not my only movie.

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