Nowadays, it’s hard to picture anyone besides Steve Carell playing Michael Scott on The Office. Same with John Krasinski as Jim Halpert, Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly, etc.
But, before those actors landed the roles that reshaped their careers, producers brought dozens more in for the auditions in 2003. In newly released tapes from the casting process, we get a glimpse into what could have been…
As the saying goes, everything happens for a reason. In this case, all those actors went on to roles that seem like better fits…
Seth Rogen, who read for Dwight, eventually worked with Steve Carell in 2005’s The 40 Year Old Virgin. He went onto to become a full-fledged celebrity thanks to Superbad, Pineapple Express and other leading roles.
Bob Odenkirk, who read for Michael, wrote for Saturday Night Live from 1987 until 1995. He had limited (albeit notable) writing roles in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but really broke through with his role as Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad. A spin-off show is reportedly in development for his character.
Eric Stonestreet, who read for Kevin, now stars in another award-winning TV comedy: Modern Family. Kevin’s role in the office was hilarious, but Eric probably gets to show off his versatility a bit more as Cameron Tucker.
Kathryn Hahn, who read for Pam, has since landed significant roles in Anchorman, Girls and Parks and Recreation. She can also be seen in We’re the Millers, which premieres this week.
John Cho, who read for Jim, scored a lead role a year after his audition as Harold in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. That spawned a couple of sequels, which kept John in steady acting roles for the mid 2000s. He also appeared on TV comedies How I Met Your Mother and Go On. His most recent role was in Star Trek Into Darkness.
Adam Scott, who also read for Jim, has since earned roles in dramas such as The Aviator as well as comedies. He currently appears on Parks and Recreation, where his character was upgraded from a guest role to the eventual husband of Amy Poehler’s character.
It really looks like things worked out for the best. Not only did we get perfect actors in The Office roles, but many of the hopefuls who were turned down went on to bigger and better things… Good job, Office producers.