Welcome back to Dunder Mifflin…with a twist.
An Australian version of “The Office” is in production, but this time, instead of being led by Michael Scott, a female boss Hannah Howard (played by Felicity Ward) will be in charge.
The American version of the hit show, which aired from 2005-2013, was a mockumentary about the quirky employees of a paper company in Scranton, PA, helmed by blowhard Scott (Steve Carell).
The original British version, which aired from 2001-2003, was helmed by David Brent (Ricky Gervais).
Now, move aside Michael and David — a woman can be an obnoxious incompetent boss, too.
“I’m very excited about Australia remaking my little show from the turn of the century,” Ricky Gervais told Variety. “Office politics have changed a bit in 20 years, so can’t wait to see how they navigate a modern-day David Brent.”
The Aussie version of the show will have Hannah as the managing director of packaging company called Flinley Craddick. After Covid, she must deal with the news that her branch is shutting down and her staff will have to work from home. This sends her into outrageous schemes to keep her “work family” together.
This will mark a whopping 13th adaptation of the hit comedy, which has also seen other versions in countries such as France and Israel.
Although the American version of show is widely regarded as a hit — as it’s enjoyed a second life on streaming, pulling in a new generation and countless memes — it had a rocky start.
According to the book “Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of ‘The Office’” by Brian Baumgartner (who played Kevin Malone) and Ben Silverman (an executive producer), when Carell told Paul Rudd that he was auditioning for the American version of “The Office,” Rudd advised him, “Ugh, don’t do it. Bad, bad move. I mean, it’s never going to be as good [as the British version].”
In that same book, series star John Krasinski recalled that an NBC executive used to come in and tell the cast about the show’s imminent cancellation.
“He was like, ‘This will be the last [episode] … It’s just not getting the ratings and the network doesn’t get it.’ He said that every week of the first season,’” Krasinski recalled.
Over a decade later, they’re having the last laugh, as the show has now lasted long enough to gender-flip Michael Scott.
In addition to Felicity Ward, the Australian version of the show will also co-star Shari Sebbens (“Thor: Love and Thunder”), Edith Poor (“The Power of the Dog”), Jonny Brugh (“What We Do in the Shadows”), Steen Raskopoulos (“The Duchess”), Josh Thomson (“Young Rock”) and Pallavi Sharda (“The Twelve”).
The Aussie version of “The Office” will stream on Prime Video at an unannounced date in 2024.