Leslie Knope’s one true love, wooing a mousy receptionist played by 24’s Chloe O’Brian? Bridesmaids’s secret air marshal explaining to an invisible documentary crew that he wants people to be afraid of how much they love him? A kooky beet farmer/paper salesman who doubles as a founding member of the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade improv troupe?
Thanks to Rainn Wilson, we now know that all of them could have been featured on The Office – if casting had gone just a little differently.
“This is the original sign-in sheet for the first day of casting for The Office given to me by Allison Jones, our incredible casting agent,” Wilson explained upon posting this revealing photo on Facebook yesterday. “I was the very first person to audition for the series, 11/06/03.” As you’ll see, Wilson and a certain future Parks and Recreation star arrived at the audition simultaneously – and 12 other notable actors followed in their stead:
Some thoughts on these names, in order:
1. How crazy is it that Rainn Wilson went out for Michael as well as Dwight? No wonder his character had such a jones for the Regional Manager position.
2. Adam Scott as Jim! Adam Scott as Jim! If he did a screen test, it needs to be posted on YouTube like, yesterday.
3. Who knew The Office and 24 had so much in common? Two of this list’s potential Pams – Mary Lynn Rajskub and Ever Carradine – ended up on Fox’s real-time drama. Rajskub as Pam may have made the character a little nerdier, giving her an interesting new dimension.
4. A Jim played by Hamish Linklater would pull only super classy pranks.
5. Ben Falcone, a.k.a. that Bridesmaids bit player, a.k.a. Melissa McCarthy’s real-life husband, could have been an excellent Michael if Steve Carell hadn’t been in the picture.
6. But Alan Tudyk – hilarious as he’s been on Suburgatory and everything else – may have been a little too spastic for the role.
7. Matt Besser co-founded the UCB with Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh. If he had been cast, then, Dwight would have been played by one of Michael Scott’s idols – assuming Michael actually did his comedy homework.
8. Though he didn’t nab Dwight, Matt Price did end up on The Office at one point – he guest-starred in season 3’s second episode.
9. Jarrett Grode: Clearly too handsome for the part. (Sorry, Rainn Wilson.)
10. Yes, Ever Carradine is one of those Carradines. David was her uncle.
11. A Michael played by Jim Zulevic may have put the show in a tough spot – the Second City vet died suddenly in 2006.
12. You may not know who Bill Chott is, but chances are you’ve heard his voice; he’s the announcer for Robert Smigel’s “Ambiguously Gay Duo” shorts.
13. Note to struggling actors: As numbers 1 and 13 prove, if you audition for a sitcom on the first day of casting, you’ve got a 1 in 7 chance of getting the part.
14. Beware of not giving Anne Dudek what she wants – not getting cast on The Office freed the actress to play House’s “Cuttthroat Bitch.”
Think any of these also-rans deserved a Dunder Mifflin desk?