Office Space Star David Herman Is the Real Michael Bolton
"Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks!"
First released in 1999, Office Space remains one of the most relatable and hilarious comedies of all time. Mike Judge's irreverent snapshot of the day-to-day tedium of cubicle life transcended cult status to become a bona fide classic, a fact that will be cemented this week when it receives the Texas Film Hall of Fame's Star of Texas Award at the Austin Film Society, after a special 20th anniversary screening at the the Paramount Theatre. Judge, along with stars Ron Livingston, Gary Cole, and David Herman, will be on hand to accept the award and participate in a post-screening Q&A. "I'm expecting a medal from the Austin Film Society," said Herman, who played the memorable role of Michael Bolton – a nebbish office worker who begrudgingly shares a name with the famous singer-songwriter.
Although his career has largely shifted to voice acting in animated projects, Herman is still recognized by fans of Office Space. Unlike his fictional counterpart, who was constantly annoyed by comparisons to the person with whom he shared a name, Herman is thrilled that the film still has such a huge impact. "I happily embrace it," he said. "People who love Office Space, it hits them at their core. There's nothing more wonderful than having someone come up to you and say how meaningful it is and how much it mirrors their life."
Herman was cast in the film after working with writer/director Mike Judge on the first two seasons of his hit animated series, King of the Hill. "It was an easy friendship to make," said Herman. "I get where Mike comes from, I instantly get what he's trying to do."
Judge has utilized the actor in various projects, including his other cult-classic comedy film, Idiocracy, but Office Space is still the pair's most iconic collaboration to date. Herman said Judge cast him based on the "weenie trying to maintain his manhood type of guy" he often voiced on King of the Hill. "He knew I was capable of this part. ... How flattering, right?"
Office Space was filmed in and around Austin for three months, and Herman says the city is "a far cry from what it was in 1998," when he would walk from his hotel down South Congress to Ego's, where "their Wednesday night band was this guy with a steel guitar. It was mind-blowing."
The city left such an impression on the actor that he came back to stay, living here from 2006 until 2013. He's excited to return for the 20th anniversary screening and eager to reunite with old Austin friends – like local musician Mike Flanigin, whom he calls "phenomenal" – as well as his pals from Office Space. Though he doesn't run into Livingston as often these days, Herman says he frequently spends time with Cole, now his co-star on the FOX animated series Bob's Burgers. "That Mike Brady is terrifying," he said of Cole, the beloved character actor who followed 1995's The Brady Bunch Movie with a career-defining performance as Office Space's dispassionate and irksome office manager Bill Lumbergh. "It's chilling how good he is," said Herman.
"It's magnificent that Office Space has transcended and is still being celebrated," Herman said of the cult-classic comedy. "I couldn't be more thankful." But what if the Austin Film Society doesn't give him that medal? "I'll still be appreciative, but it would be nice to get a medal. I have the room on my suit jacket for it."
David Herman will be part of the Texas Film Awards celebration of the 20th anniversary of Office Space.