After spending all summer waiting to see what happened after Jim and Pam's kiss, fans of NBC's The Office received another shock at the start of this season: Pam's loutish, inconsiderate and generally unworthy ex-fiancé, Roy, emerged from the aftermath a changed man. After being dumped and arrested for a DUI, he lost weight, got cute and realized — too late? — that he'd taken Pam for granted. No one was more surprised about this transformation than David Denman, the Juilliard-trained actor who plays the warehouse wonk. TVGuide.com sought out Denman to see what's up Roy's sleeve and to find out if tonight's hourlong episode, "A Benihana Christmas" (starting at 8 pm/ET), will bring new complications to the Roy-Pam-Jim-Karen love quadrangle.
TVGuide.com: Let's begin with the obvious. How did you end up playing Roy?
David Denman: I had seen the original British version [of The Office] and was a huge fan. I heard they were doing an American version, so I called my agent. He said, "You really want to do that?"
TVGuide.com: Because everyone doubted its prospects?
Denman: Everyone thought [the American version] was not going to be good, that it wouldn't translate well.
TVGuide.com: The British version of Roy — Lee — is pretty mean and unlikable. Did that attract you?
Denman: By the time I got in, all the other parts had been cast! I think it's pretty funny that he isn't likable in the original. And he wasn't likable for our first season. It wasn't until this year that [executive producer] Greg [Daniels] had the idea that he wanted to make Roy more of a viable option for Pam. When he said that, I said, "Are you crazy? I think that's a great idea, but how are we going to do that?" We spent the whole season making him such a knucklehead. I said that the only way that would work is if he realizes that he's been such an idiot and has some sort of cathartic experience. So they came up with the DUI. I don't think Roy's a bad guy. He just never had to work at that relationship. They'd been together for 10 years or something.
TVGuide.com: So you hadn't been lobbying for this all along?
Denman: I wanted to be around. I wanted to see Pam and Roy together, but as a fan of the show, it was clearly Pam and Jim.
TVGuide.com: And of course, once the main couple finally gets together, they have to break up.
Denman: You've got to drag that triangle out as long as you possibly can. So they brought Karen in for Jim, which I think is a great idea. Now Pam gets to sit back and pine over Jim. When all is said and done, I really hope Pam ends up with Roy. I think that's reality. That's the kind of stuff that happens.
TVGuide.com: Is it just my perception, or did you go through a big physical change to become the new Roy?
Denman: I definitely did! I lost something like 30 or 40 pounds. I started training for triathlons.
TVGuide.com: Which came first, that you were supposed to lose weight for the character, or that you were training?
Denman: It was never said, "You should lose some weight." But Greg said, "I want to make you more of a viable option." I said, "That's great, because I was actually planning to get back in [shape] and start working out." I'd kinda turned into a little bit of a couch potato. And then one of the camera operators on the show, Matt Sohn, who has done a bunch of triathlons, was trying to get us to go do this Malibu triathlon, and I said, "Yeah, I'll do it." I started on this training schedule for about eight weeks. I had so much fun, I did another one, like, a month later.
TVGuide.com: Did anyone else from the cast do it?
Denman: Ed Helms (Andy) did a triathlon with me.
TVGuide.com: He's hard to imagine as athletic.
Denman: I thought the same thing, but the guy was a swimmer in college. He actually beat me; I was so pissed!
TVGuide.com: Is there any warehouse/office rivalry?
Denman: It's not a rivalry. I show up, and they go, "You suck. I'm here every day, 12 hours a day, while you're on your butt at home, and you come in for your one day of work a week!"
TVGuide.com: I notice you've joined your cast mates in the MySpace world.
Denman: Jenna [Fischer] started it, Angela [Kinsey] jumped on board pretty quickly, and then I eventually got on board and added a site. Everybody would send me e-mails going, "You're such a jerk. It's awesome!"
TVGuide.com: If you were Roy, what would you do to win Pam back?
Denman: I think the strategy is, first of all, to listen to her and try to care about what she wants. I think he's trying to be encouraging. And also to sit back and give her a little space.
TVGuide.com: Does he have a clue about Jim?
Denman: No! As far as I'm concerned, he doesn't know. I think that's way more juicy if we wait until later in the season.
TVGuide.com: What can you tell us about tonight's Christmas-party episode?
Denman: Michael gets his heart broken by Carol, and they take him to Benihana to cheer him up. Roy is trying to be funny for Pam a little bit. There's a scene when I'm trying to talk to her, and she's not having it. She and Karen end up kind of becoming friends in this episode. And Roy gives Pam a nice present at the end.
TVGuide.com: What else do you have coming up?
Denman: I'm in this movie called Fanboys, where I play the meathead brother to one of these four guys who take a road trip across the country to break into Skywalker Ranch to steal a rough cut of [Star Wars:] Episode I. And then I have another movie, Crossing Paths, with Minnie Driver. Our son gets killed, and it's all about how he dies and [how they deal] with the loss. Then I did another movie called If I Had Known I Was a Genius. It has Whoopi Goldberg, Sharon Stone, Pink and Tara Reid... a bunch of random people. It's loosely based on a true story about a child actor whose show gets canceled and eventually he ends up working at Costco. I play his nerdy manager.
TVGuide.com: So you're not a meathead!
Denman: There you go! And I'm leaving next week to do this movie called Smart People with Sarah Jessica Parker and Dennis Quaid. I get to play a smart guy — a neurologist! — so I'm excited.
For even more Office scoop, check out Kate Flannery's TVGuide.com blog.
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