Bryan Cranston credits Jenna Fischer with saving the lives of 'The Office' cast when he directed

Bryan Cranston on Monday joined The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, where he spoke about directing an episode of The Office and claimed that the cast was literally in mortal peril. The episode, titled “Work Bus,” finds Jim (John Krasinski) once again messing with Dwight (Rainn Wilson) winding up with the entire Dunder Mifflin gang having to work on a bus for the day. To keep the cast cool while filming, the bus pulled a trailer with a refrigeration unit. The problem was that the show crew didn’t pay attention to how it set up the refrigeration unit.

“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.”

This story was first told by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who played, respectively, Pam and Angela on The Office, in their new book, The Office BFFs. Though the title of the episode was “Work Bus,” the title of the chapter in the book is “Death Bus,” which Cranston took issue with.

“So, uh, it’s not fair that it’s called “Death Bus,” because no one died,” Cranston said, before jokingly adding, “It was — I’ll admit, it was my aim.”

But Cranston credits Fischer with saving the cast and crew, though he didn’t take her concerns seriously at first.

“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.’”

Though Cranston didn’t believe Fischer at first, he checked it out for himself and realized that they were actually in real danger.

“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.”

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.

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