Bryan Cranston explains how he almost killed the cast of 'The Office'

On The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Monday, Bryan Cranston spoke about directing an episode of The Office, during the filming of which the cast could have died. In the episode, titled Work Bus, the entire office is forced to spend the day working on a cramped bus due to Jim’s (John Krasinski) failed attempt to trick Dwight (Rainn Wilson). The air conditioning was too loud to run while filming, so to keep the cast cool while the bus was moving, they attached a trailer with a refrigeration system. Unfortunately, they didn’t think about how they set up that refrigeration system.

“What they didn’t plan on, they didn’t think,” Cranston said, “that where the intake for the refrigeration system was, was exactly lined up to where the tailpipe of the bus was. So the exhaust of the bus was going right to the intake.”

Cranston credits Jenna Fischer, who played Pam on The Office, with saving everyone’s life.

“Jenna Fischer actually saved everyone’s life,” Cranston said. “How?” Colbert asked. “Well, she said, ‘I smell exhaust. It’s coming inside the bus.’,” Cranston replied. “And I’m thinking, ‘Jenna, I mean, come on. How is that possible? It’s not possible.’”

Cranston checked it out for himself and realized Fischer was right.

“I got a chair and I stood up on the thing and I stuck my nose up in there and sure enough, it was billowing down. It was carbon monoxide,” Cranston said. “I wasn’t quite sure so I got a second wind, I got some more, I got nice and dizzy, and then realized, oh my God, we could have all been dead. It would have been one hell of an episode. It would have been the finale before they would have planned that though.”

Video Transcript

BRYAN CRANSTON: So it's not fair that it's called Death Bus because no one died.

[LAUGHTER]

It was-- I'll admit, it was my aim.

KYLIE MAR: Bryan Cranston joined the "Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on Monday, where he spoke about directing an episode of "The Office" titled Work Bus, which is pretty self-explanatory.

Cranston explained that to keep the cast cool, they attached a trailer with a refrigeration unit. But they didn't consider how it was set up.

BRYAN CRANSTON: What they didn't plan on, they didn't think that where the intake for the refrigeration system was, was exactly lined up to where the tailpipe of the bus was. So the exhaust of the bus was going right to the intake.

KYLIE MAR: The story of the Death Bus was first told by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who played a Pam and Angela on "The Office," respectively, in their new book "The Office BFFs."

And Cranston credits Fischer with saving the lives of the cast and the crew.

BRYAN CRANSTON: Jenna Fischer actually saved everyone's life.

STEPHEN COLBERT: How?

BRYAN CRANSTON: Well, she said, I smell exhaust. It's coming inside the bus. And I'm saying, like, Jenna, that's-- I mean-- That's not.

KYLIE MAR: Though he didn't believe Fischer at first, Cranston checked it out and realized that they were actually in real danger.

BRYAN CRANSTON: I stuck my nose up in there and sure enough, it was billowing down. It was carbon monoxide. I wasn't quite sure, so I got a second wind. I got some more.

I got nice and dizzy and then realized, oh my god, we could have all been dead. It would have been one hell of an episode.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Yeah.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting