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 a part on the show but never quite got there.
Get ready to go back to a time before Dunder Mifflin became a reality. Here are a list of actors who tried to kick off their career via The Office.
10 Adam Scott
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 its 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 sitcome was not far behind.
9 Anne Dudek
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
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 beforehand. 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
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 Rogan
Seth Rogan 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 Rogan auditioned for the part.
Rogan 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
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
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 his audition tape (which can be found online with via a quick Google search) is fine, it doesn’t feel like the Jim we’ve come to know and love.
3 Nick Offerman
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
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 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 like Rainn Wilson did.
1 Ever Carradine
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.