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At this point I feel bad for the staff and cast of The Office, who every time they leave the house are bombarded with the same question: "WHo's going to replace Steve Carell on The Office? Is it you? Is it Danny McBride? Is it Ricky Gervais? Is it The Pope?" You'd think by now they'd just say "no comment" and stop the speculation, but that Office crowd is a nice bunch, and they're always coming up with some new name to float and get people excited.
When the rumors start coming from writer and Toby-portrayer Paul Lieberstein, though, you get excited-- because hey, he actually has some power. And the idea he swung by Kristin Dos Santos at E! Online is probably the most interesting one we've heard yet: Harvey Keitel.
"He's probably the only guy who can do it, and he's doing TV now [ABC's Life on Mars]. That's what a very smart eager man once called a "win-win-win."
Lieberstein noted that he hasn't actually started talks with Keitel, but says he is "absolutely" being considered for the role, and they've already come up with a storyline for a possible character:
"He's an old salesman who thought he could retire and the stock market went down, and he has to come out of retirement to work for a few years."
Aside from the Keitel speculation-- because, really, who knows if the actor would even be interested in the job-- this is the first confirmation we've gotten that the writers and producers are deliberately looking for actors who are different from Carell, which of course makes perfect sense. Bringing in a pale imitation of Michael Scott would only seem pitiful and desperate, but shaking up things entirely and bringing in a new boss-- kind of like they did with Charles Minor, but hopefully with better results-- could be fascinating. Whether it's Keitel or another big name actor or, hell, promoting Kelly Kapoor to the top office, I'm now more excited than ever to see how the big switch on The Office goes down.