The scene where Andy has his chest hair removed required five cameras set up for the shot. Steve Carell's chest hair was actually ripped out in the scene. Carell had told director Judd Apatow just before shooting the scene, "It has to be real. It won't be as funny if it's mocked up or if it's special effect. You have to see that this is really happening." The scene had to be done in one shot.
Steve Carell's wife Nancy Carell (Walls) suggested Jane Lynch for the role of Paula, who also worked with Carell during their Second City days. Before Walls suggested Lynch for the role, it was written to be played by a man, and the character did not come on to Andy until Lynch had been cast and the actors came up with that scene (with her singing the "beautiful old Guatemalan love song" to Andy) during rehearsals.
According to Seth Rogen, Steve Carell was so nervous that the film would be shut down by the studio, he had the writers prepare a back-up version of the script that didn't contain a single word of profanity.
Judd Apatow had a part written for Jason Segel with the character named Jason, but Apatow could not get the studio to approve his casting. Apatow advised Segel because of his unique brand of humor, to consider writing material for himself. Thus Segel wrote Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), which Apatow served as one of the producers.
The "beautiful old Guatemalan love song" sung by Javier to Paula translates to: "When I clean my room / I can't find anything / Where are you going in such a hurry/ To the soccer game." Jane Lynch has told several interviewers that these "lyrics" were really a practice dialogue that she remembered from a high school Spanish class.
In a magazine interview, director Judd Apatow revealed a trick behind the film's success: during the first preview of the movie, he had actually recorded the preview audiences vocal reaction with a tape recorder. When it came to re-cutting the film for the general release, he trimmed the film in sync to the recorded reaction. The scenes that did not have audience reaction were either cut or trimmed (but reinserted in the Unrated edition).
Andy, David, Cal and Jay are believed to be in the same age group. However, Seth Rogen (Cal) was only 22 years old at the time of filming while Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Romany Malco were in their mid-30's to 40's.
When Trish is helping Andy package up his toys for sale she mentions that "oh my god, this guy Eric Gilliland, he has bought like 15 of these (toys from eBay). I think he likes action figures even more than you." Eric, who is a real friend of Catherine Keener, was the head writer on the Roseanne (1988) show and has written and produced many others.
The film ended up being instrumental to making the U.S. version of "The Office" into an Emmy-winning smash hit. After that show's 1st season, the producers were worried because Steve Carell's Michael Scott character was coming across as nasty and menacing when they didn't want him to. After seeing his performance here, they used some of its elements to transform Michael Scott into a man who was still a buffoon but was more clueless than mean and had some genuine skills.
To prepare for his role as Andy, Steve Carell lost 30 pounds for the role. Director Judd Apatow was originally nervous about the transformation, stating that he didn't think that "comedians wanting to look good is ever good for comedy." However, he gradually realized that Carell being "ripped" was a good idea, as it helped establish that Andy was only a virgin because he's shy and nervous, not because of his looks.
Several times in the movie, Cal wears t-shirts with music LP covers on them. They are: - Nirvana: Nevermind - Sonic Youth: Dirty - Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet - Genius/The GZA: Liquid Swords. All these albums were released through Universal Music labels; this film was released by Universal Pictures.
The studio claimed that they thought Carell looked like a serial killer. In response, "Steve decided the character would be a little more Buster Keaton-esque," according to Apatow. "He was low-energy and everyone else was spinning around him." Lines were also written (and improvised) making fun of the fact that Andy could be confused for a serial killer.
Leslie Mann came up with the idea to throw up on Andy's face. The original plan was that Nicky (Mann's character) and Andy were to be pulled over by the police and it would turn out that Nicky was concealing a gun under her seat the whole time. Mann insisted that her vomiting on Carell's Andy would be a funnier conclusion to the scene, so she gulped down a mix of strawberry yogurt and "some kind of kefir."
After Andy agrees to go to the bar with his co-workers, he walks by a newsstand that includes a magazine cover featuring Katherine Heigel, who would go on to star with many of the same actors in Knocked Up (2007).
Jane Lynch's character Paula talks about the "beautiful old Guatemalan love song" sung her gardener Javier used to sing to her. Here's the actual translation: "When you clean my room / I can't find anything / Where are you going in such a hurry? / To the football game?"