“Revenge, I’ve found, is better the longer it takes.”
So says Mike Judge, the writer-director (and co-star) of Office Space, who has been drawing out his satisfaction for nearly a decade after the movie fizzled at the box office in 1999 only to become a cult-favorite hit among all those who’ve ever felt their spirits choked in a white-collar workplace.
On a recent Sunday — yes, EW asked them to come in and work on the weekend – Judge was reunited with actors Ron Livingston (the disheartened Peter Gibbons), David Herman (the angry, unfortunately named techie Michael Bolton), Stephen Root (the mumbling Milton Waddams), and Gary Cole (ummm, yeahhh — the prince of darkness himself, oppressive boss Bill Lumbergh), who all swapped stories about trying to make a funny film about miserable people.
One common note from executives at 20th Century Fox was that the characters needed to look happier — it was a comedy, after all. “Executives did not like it. That’s not a good feeling,” Judge says, breaking into an impression of one watching the movie: “‘Can you change that? Ugh!’” Judge groans, cringing in his chair as he cries out. “‘I just want it to be fun!’”
Office Space became a kind of aspirin film – the type of thing not everyone rushes out to buy at once, but everybody reaches for in the moment they need it. To a generation lost in the labyrinth of cubicle farms that often feel more like veal pens, Office Space was a welcome release of workplace frustration. “It’s an oasis for people in those spaces. It holds the mirror up to it,” says Herman. “That’s what you feel when people come talk to you about this movie. It’s like, ‘You don’t understand!’ It’s a relief and brings meaning to a very meaningless situation.”
See the exclusive video of the cast reunion and hear the cast and filmmaker talk about the joys of working in a non-smiling workplace, as well as how casting Jennifer Aniston in a supporting role as a frazzled, T.G.I. Friday’s-esque waitress gave them cover with the studio brass.
This Week’s Cover: The Reunions Issue!