Severance cast was influenced by The Office, says Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller, who directed most of Severance, says that he was influenced by The Office when casting the archetypes who surround Mark at Lumon


The Apple TV series Severance reimagined the workplace drama in ways we hadn’t seen before. And it coincidentally came out during a time when many people were working from home and the work-life balance was more precarious than ever. Writer Dan Erickson and director Ben Stiller took influence from other office-set shows, such as comedy series The Office, when creating the archetypes who populate Lumon.

Star Adam Scott has he own experience with workplace comedy in Parks & Rec, which is very much in the same vein as The Office. Ricky Gervais’ original UK series has been hugely influential, and this only increased when the US version of the show became such a massive hit.

While Severance doesn’t have any Jim-style looks-to-camera, Stiller said in a recent interview that he did think of The Office when considering casting. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, he said; “The rest of the characters [aside from Scott’s Mark] were all these interesting archetypes, in terms of the office and workplace culture. I love the show The Office, and it was hard not to think, “Oh, [Zach Cherry’s Dylan] relates a little bit to Dwight in a way.”

Stiller, who is mainly known for acting in comedy movies such as Zoolander of course, was initially only going to direct the pilot but ended up directing six of the nine episodes in the end. Severance has 14 Emmy nominations.

Stiller was asked if he always knew there would be a second season and responded; “I always hoped there would be, and we designed the first season really with no other choice. To end the first season that way and not come back would have been frustrating for fans of the show. And I think Apple, to their credit, never really questioned it. Everyone was like, ‘If it works, it needs to work for multiple seasons.'”

While we wait to find out what happens to Mark and the rest of the staff of Lumon, check out our guide to the best sci-fi series.