While preparing Office Space, Mike Judge realised the time seemed ripe for an office
comedy. "There hasn't been one in quite a while," he points out. "And I
can't remember any taking place in a hi tech, computer company environment. With Office
Space, I wanted to offer my take on the hundreds of Silicon Valley office parks and white
collar environments springing up around the country."
"Mike writes about his own experiences, which are
universal" producer Daniel Rappaport
Judge set his screenplay in familiar territory. "My first job out of college was
in engineering – in an office," he explains. "When I got the job, I felt
really good about it. But after about a week and a half, I walked into the office, looked
around and thought, 'Is this it?' I lasted a little over a year and held my next position
for about two months. As I moved from job to job, my employment periods become briefer and
Judge used his workplace experiences as a model for Office Space. He did not want to
make an outright lampoon of corporate America, but have his story and characters based
firmly in what Judge calls 'just left of reality.'
"What makes Mike's humour so popular," says producer Daniel Rappaport,
"is that it's identifiable. Mike writes about his own experiences, which are
universal. He knows how to take those situations, bring them to life, and find the humour
The humour in these situations revolves around the film's central character, pent-up
computer programmer Peter Gibbons. "Peter is frustrated at work and realises things
are worsening each day," comments Judge. "He also is troubled by corporate
downsizing and how his company is mistreating loyal, longtime employees. So, Peter decides
to find what he thinks will be a better life."
"Sometimes you have to slow down and let it (happiness)
catch you." Ron Livingston
Judge found his 'Peter Gibbons' in actor Ron Livingston. Best known for his co-starring
role in the sleeper hit Swingers, Livingston, according to the director, "looked like
a guy you believe could have ended up in a programming job. I easily envisioned him
sitting in a cubicle, thinking he ought to be doing something better."
"Peter is an average guy who is just in the wrong place," says Livingston.
"It's not so much that his job is terrible; he realises that he doesn’t belong
at INITECH, and that he has spent far too much time there."
Livingston's philosophy about life and work isn't far from his cinematic alter ego's
"Office Space," he says, "is a comedy about the pursuit of happiness, and
how it isn't necessary to always frantically chase it. Sometimes you have to slow down and
let it catch you."
While Peter plans to conquer the corporate grind, he hooks up with an attractive
waitress named Joanna. Judge made an exception to his "No TV/movie star rule" by
casting Jennifer Aniston. "What I like about Jennifer being so recognisable,"
Judge offers, "is that putting her in a ridiculous chain-restaurant uniform makes the
outfit stand out even more. On the other hand, even with her recognisability, Jennifer
looks like someone you could have gone to high school with."
"I had never really thought about the man behind Beavis
and Butt-head" Jennifer Aniston
No stranger to ensembles as one of the stars of the hit series Friends, Aniston
relished the idea of being included in Judge's world of disillusioned employees. "His
characters are bizarre and distinct, which makes them fun to play," says the actress.
Being a fan of Judge's work was another attraction. "Beavis and Butt-head are rude
and crude, but they make me laugh," she admits. When first introduced to Judge, the
creator and voice of the duo, the actress was somewhat taken aback. "I had never
really thought about the man behind Beavis and Butt-head; then I met Mike and he was this
nice, clean-cut guy. I was thrown."
Office Space – Australian release; April 15,