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The Office’s Oscar Nunez on Who Should Replace Steve Carell

On The Office, Oscar Nunez plays accountant Oscar Martinez, one of just a small handful of actually competent Dunder Mifflin employees — which means he's one of the few people we can be pretty sure will not be succeeding Michael Scott as branch manager when Steve Carell leaves the show at the end of its upcoming seventh season. In honor of September 23's premiere and yesterday's release of The Office's season-six DVDs, we spoke with Nunez by phone about his favorite-ever episode, what to expect from the show this fall, and who he'd pick to replace Carell.

You had a great season last year. We saw Oscar courting Matt, the guy from the warehouse. How fun were those scenes to shoot?
Oh, yeah. It was damn fun. He's a good guy.

Will we see anymore of Matt this season?
I don't know! It just kind of evaporated. He was on for a couple of shows. He's a nice young guy and we had fun, shooting at the bar. Maybe he'll come back, but I don't know.

Do you have a favorite-ever episode of the show?
My favorite episode ever would have to be "The Gay Witch Hunt." Greg Daniels wrote it. I got a bunch of really funny scenes with Steve.

Some of the more recent speculation is that Steve Carell could be replaced with one of the show's current cast members. Would they ever replace him with someone who is actually good at their job, like Oscar?
No, I don't think so. My picks are David Koechner [Todd Packer] or Melora Harding [Jan Levinson]. I think those two characters could be quite good. Because they both can be huge assholes, but at the same time they have a vulnerability that makes you feel sorry for them; they're not completely hateful. I think they'd both be good.

Last week, Paul Lieberstein told a reporter he thought Harvey Keitel would make a good new Michael Scott. Could he have been serious?
[Laughs.] I don't know. He could have been joking — who knows!

Do you have any idea how they might get rid of Steve?
No, I don't. That'll be fun.

Would they ever kill him?
I don't think so … Hmmm. No ... Who knows! It's just like Lost — [the writers] haven't even thought of this themselves.

How much of the new season have you shot?
We've done about four or five episodes. It's been about a month.

Can you tell me anything at all about what we can expect from either Oscar or the show?
Well, we just shot some episodes with Timothy Olyphant from Justified and Deadwood. He was great, and those will be fun.

So many of Oscar's best moments have been when he was the target of Michael Scott's ignorance. Are you worried about losing that if Steve is replaced by someone playing less of a boob?
I don't know. It'll be different. It's hard to fill those shoes. It's the same way I felt about Ricky Gervais — I never thought the American Office would work. I thought we'd shoot the pilot and it wasn't going to fly. Then when I found out Steve Carell was the lead, I thought, "Oh, we have a chance." Maybe there's someone out there who I haven't thought of yet, but Steve's are some pretty big shoes to fill. So, I don't know what's going to happen.

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images