The Office US auditions

All the famous actors who auditioned for The Office US but didn’t make the cut

What do you mean Cam Tucker and Dwight Schrute could’ve been the same person?

Most fans of The Office US probably can’t imagine the characters being played by anyone else but the cast could have been totally different. The specific combination of all the actors just creates a dynamic so specific to the show that if any of them were different, I think the whole thing would be thrown off-kilter somehow. Steve Carrell, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson and John Krasinski, after all, are so integral to the unmatched vibes of the show.

The casting team for The Office US had a slightly unorthodox auditions process: Instead of having a specific script for actors to read from, the producers would ask them a series of questions which the actors would then answer as the character. Despite this unusual casting approach, I think the team got it spot on with who they chose to make up the ensemble cast, so here’s a look at the other actors who could’ve made it into the show and made it so different from how we know it today:

Adam Scott

The Office US cast

via NBC

Best known for his role as Ben Wyatt in Parks and Recreation, Adam Scott actually auditioned to play the role of Jim Halpert as well. His audition tape shows him playing Jim in a very similar way to how John Krasinski interpreted it, but there’s something about the way Krasinski plays Jim that just makes sense. And likewise, I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing Ben Wyatt – who is largely dubbed as Parks and Rec’s Jim Halpert anyway.

John Cho

The Office US cast

via Paramount Pictures

Another actor who was ultimately unsuccessful in his audition to play Jim Halpert is John Cho. His audition tape shows him performing Jim’s introductory scene where he bores himself talking about his job. Cho went on to have a recurring role in the rebooted Star Trek films.

Eric Stonestreet

The Office US cast

via ABC

Known best for playing Cam in Modern Family, The Office character that Eric Stonestreet auditioned for might surprise you: Kevin Malone. Stonestreet’s character on Modern Family is so different from the slightly clueless Dunder Mifflin accountant, so I’m sure he was better suited to that role. Although Stonestreet’s audition for Kevin is pretty convincing, there’s a certain quality Brian Baumgartner brings the character, a certain je-ne-sais-quoi, a certain lights-are-on-but-nobody’s-home that no one could do like he did.

Bob Odenkirk

The Office US cast

via AMC

Bob Odenkirk of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul fame also auditioned to play Michael Scott. Again, his audition tape shows him playing a watchable enough version of Michael Scott, but the self-proclaimed “world’s best boss” is just so Steve Carrell coded I genuinely cannot see the show being the same had anyone else played him.

Odenkirk actually appeared in an episode of The Office’s ninth season, playing Pam’s potential future boss at a job interview.

Seth Rogen

The Office US cast

via Columbia Pictures

Comedy movie veteran Seth Rogen auditioned for the part of Dwight Schrute, who we all know as being played by Rainn Wilson. Rogen’s interpretation of Dwight is somewhat less intense than what we ended up with on screen – it might have made for a less creepy viewing experience but Wilson’s Dwight is so integral to the dynamic of the office I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Patton Oswalt

via Pixar

If, like me, you’re not initially familiar with the name Patton Oswalt, chances are you’ll be familiar with his voice: He played Remy in Disney’s Ratatouille. He also later appeared in Parks and Rec. Oswalt’s audition for Dwight shows a more sarcastic version than the one we know today, which would’ve have changed the dynamic of the iconic Jim-Dwight rivalry as it is.

Kathryn Hahn

via Columbia Pictures

The last actress who auditioned for a role in The Office is none other than Kathryn Hahn. Kathryn auditioned for the other half of everyone’s favourite slow burn TV couple, Pam Beasly. Her version of Pam in the audition tapes is somewhat more spiky than the one we know thanks to Jenna Fischer, and I just can’t imagine the Jim-and-Pam romance being the same had Pam been played by anyone else.

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Featured images via Columbia Pictures, ABC and NBC.