The Office arguably contains one of the most iconic casts in sitcom history. When you see any of the actors in something other than the show they got their start in, you can’t help but think back to their Office counterparts. Before the roles of Michael, Jim, and Pam were fulfilled though, The Office’s creators cycled through a list of actors who tried to score a spot on screen.
Rather than looking at the stars who actually appeared in the hit television series, we’re here to examine the hopefuls who auditioned for The Office but never quite got there. Get ready to go back to a time before Dunder Mifflin became a reality as we look at the actors who tried to kick off their careers via The Office auditions.
Updated on March 28th, 2021 by Scoot Allan: NBC’s hit series The Office debuted on the network’s Peacock streaming service with new extras and deleted scenes that have reignited the passion for the long-running series. Other extras have been released over the years that included videos from NBC featuring people who auditioned for The Office that included future stars of movies and other series like Parks & Recreation. Today we are going to explore a few more actors who auditioned for The Office but didn’t get the part, which could have led to a very different version of The Office
15 Alan Tudyk Auditioned For Michael Scott
There were quite a few actors who auditioned for Michael Scott, the cringe-inducing manager of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch. The role ultimately went to the hilarious Steve Carell and it can be difficult to imagine anyone else in that role, though if anyone could it would be Alan Tudyk.
While he might be better known for his numerous CG and voice-acting roles in films like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Dwight Schrute actor Rainn Wilson revealed through a call sheet list from the official first day of casting that Alan Tudyk was one of the potential candidates for Michael Scott which might have some Firefly fans dreaming about what could have been.
14 Mary Lynn Rajskub Auditioned For Pam Beesly
Mary Lynn Rajskub was also one of the actors who were on the official cast sheet revealed by Rainn Wilson on the actor’s Facebook page, though the role of Pam Beesly that she tried out for might seem quite different from her role as Chloe O’Brian on 24, though the comedian would have fit in well alongside the other castmates on The Office.
Fans of her comedic roles from series like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia might still be able to see Rajskub in the role of Pam Beesly, though it would have made for a much different Dunder Mifflin that still would have been hilarious.
13 Matt Besser Auditioned For Dwight Schrute
Matt Bresser was one of the founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade improv troupe and TV series on Comedy Central before his audition for Dwight Schrute on The Office, which was also revealed by the actual Dwight’s casting call sheet that was shared on Facebook.
Besser appeared on Netflix’s Haters Back Off as the estranged father of the family, though it also showcased some of the qualities that would have made him a great Assistant to the Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin as Dwight Schrute.
12 Kathryn Hahn Auditioned For Pam Beesly
Fans of Kathryn Hahn recently watched the actor/comedian play a large role on Disney+’s WandaVision that also roke the charts with the hit “Agatha All Along” song from the series. However, Hahn had previously auditioned for the role of Pam Beesly on The Office.
Her audition was included on the extras released on Peacock, and while she obviously didn’t get the role, Hahn would later appear as political campaign manager Jennifer Barkley on Parks & Rec, so her audition clearly left an impression with producers.
11 Patton Oswalt Auditioned For Dwight Schrute
Patton Oswalt was another actor who would go on to appear on Parks & Rec from The Office producer Michael Schur, though the comedian originally auditioned for the role of Dwight Schrute as revealed in the casting video released on Peacock.
Oswalt would have brought a delightful take on the character to the series, though the dynamic between Patton Oswalt’s Dwight and John Krasinski’s Jim Halpert would have been quite a bit different than what fans saw in the series. However, he might have paired up nicely with some of the other options that auditioned for Jim during the casting process.
10 Adam Scott Auditioned For Jim Halpert
Before Scott was cast as Ben on Parks and Rec, he auditioned for the role of Jim Halpert. Jim is charismatic and charming, and we could totally see this working even though it’s hard to imagine anyone other than John Krasinski portraying that role.
While Scott had been acting longer than Krasinski, the latter of the two guys stood out to the show’s creators. Luckily for Scott, the perfect role for him in another NBC sitcom was not far behind, as well as a number of movie opportunities that have continued to see Adam Scott’s star rise.
9 Anne Dudek Auditioned For Pam Beesly
You might know Dudek as Tiffany Wilson in the 2004 comedy White Chicks, Dr. Amber Volakis in the medical drama House, or Lura Grant in the HBO drama Big Love. You almost got to know her as Pam Beesly.
Though Jenna Fischer ultimately scored the role, Anne was an early contender. She hasn’t reached Fischer’s comedy fame, but she has appeared in guest roles on multiple popular TV shows. She played Ted’s girlfriend Natalie in How I Met Your Mother, Tessa Jankow in Bones, and Eden on The Mindy Project. Her list of minor roles goes on.
8 Eric Stonestreet Auditioned For Kevin Malone
Eric Stonestreet, who is best known for his role as Cameron Tucker in the ABC mockumentary Modern Family, auditioned for a very different role years earlier. Long before he was rolling in those Emmy nominations, he was trying his hand at Kevin Malone.
The role ended up being awarded to Brian Baumgartner, and we’re glad it did. For one thing, Baumgartner makes The Office’s most loveable idiot believable. And secondly, Stonestreet definitely wouldn’t have tried out for Modern Family had he been busy with The Office. The ultimate casting decisions ended up creating a win-win situation.
7 Ben Falcone Auditioned For Michael Scott
Michael Scott could have looked very different. One of the many actors who auditioned for the role was Ben Falcone, who is the husband of Melissa McCarthy.
Though the role ultimately went to Steve Carrell, Falcone has had guest roles in Gilmore Girls, Bones, and New Girl. In the film world, he’s played roles in movies like Bridesmaids, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and Spy.
6 Seth Rogen Auditioned For Dwight Schrute
Seth Rogen tried to land a spot on The Office’s cast list as Dwight Schrute. It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Rainn Wilson in the role, yet Rogen auditioned for the part. Rogen tends to play goofier characters, which makes us wonder if his version of Dwight would have been less serious.
Though he wasn’t cast, he’s had a successful acting, writing, and comedy career since then. He’s appeared in Neighbors, The Interview, Steve Jobs, and most recently, The Lion King. We doubt his success will be slowing down anytime soon.
5 Bob Odenkirk Auditioned For Michael Scott
Ben Falcone wasn’t the only guy to audition for the role of Michael Scott. In fact, Bob Odenkirk technically was cast as Michael Scott until Steve Carell — who was the producer’s first choice — ended up becoming available. The NBC pilot Carell had been working on failed (thank goodness), so he was recast as the world’s best boss.
Bob Odenkirk still makes an appearance in The Office episode “Moving On” as the boss of a company Pam interviews for in Philadelphia. She quickly realizes he is strikingly similar to Michael Scott. This comes as no surprise, being that his actor almost became Dunder Mifflin’s boss in the first place.
4 John Cho Auditioned For Jim Halpert
The man who plays Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek reboot was another hopeful who tried out for the role of Jim Halpert. You might also recognize him as Marshall Stone in Grey’s Anatomy, Kenny in Ugly Betty, Lorne in 30 Rock, Daniel in New Girl, or Andrew Kim in The Exorcist TV series.
Though the audition tape that was released by Peacock featured a great audition from Cho and he would have fit alongside the cast well, but it doesn’t feel like the Jim we’ve come to know and love from John Krasinski over the years.
3 Nick Offerman Auditioned For Michael Scott
Though Nick Offerman is best known as Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation, he had priorly auditioned for The Office. He did so several times during early seasons, but a few years into the show, while reading for a guest star role, his name was taken down by writer and producer Michael Schur.
Schur (who also plays Mose Schrute in The Office) ended up co-creating Parks and Recreation in 2009, and clearly, Offerman was memorable enough to be cast as Ron Swanson. The list of roles Offerman formerly auditioned for on The Office is vague.
2 Matt Walsh Auditioned For Dwight Schrute
Walsh is another big comedy name who almost got a spot on The Office’s cast list. He tried out for the role of Dwight Schrute and has instead filled his recent years with a slew of minor acting credits.
In the TV comedy world, he’s appeared in Black-ish, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Bob’s Burgers, How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Recreation, and Community. That being said, we can’t imagine him taking down Michael Scott at the dojo or hiding weapons around Dunder Mifflin as Rainn Wilson did.
1 Ever Carradine Auditioned For Pam Beesly
Carradine began appearing on screen in the mid-90s. She took on minor roles in shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural and Castle. She scored larger roles in ABCs’ Once and Again and Commander in Chief. What she didn’t get was the coveted part of Pam Beesly.
Despite this, her career has been on the up and up in recent years. These days, she holds roles as Naomi Putnam in The Handmaid’s Tale and Janet Stein in Runaways. Though her success has been slower, she’s continuing to gain ground.
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