Who could possibly imagine anyone other than Courteney Cox donning a fat suit for the iconic Monica dance? Would Ross and Rachel have been suitably odd, yet totally perfect together if anyone other than David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston had bagged the roles? To join our ‘Alternate Cast’ series we take a look a selection of other actors who tried out for the roles of the much-loved FRIENDS cast.
Can you imagine anyone other than Jennifer Aniston playing Rachel?
American movie star Tea Leoni was believed to be the producers’ first choice to play Rachel Green. However, Tea passed on the role and went on to star in The Naked Truth. The show only ran for three seasons but allowed Tea a lead role as opposed to FRIENDS, where she would have had to share the limelight with five other actors. She’s since gone onto to star in a string of Hollywood films, so we don’t think she suffered too much from turning down Rachel.
Elizabeth Berkley AKA Jessie Spano from Saved By The Bell and exotic dancer Nomi Malone in Showgirls (although the less said about that, the better) also tried out for the role of Rachel Green. Would you ever have been able to see her as anyone other than Jessie if she’d won the part? A whole generation grew up on Saved By The Bell and it’s hard to see any of the stars as any characters other than Zack and co.
Elizabeth played Jessie Spano in Saved By The Bell
Fellow Saved By The Bell alumni Leah Remini is also believed to have tried out for the role of Monica Gellar, but lost out to Courteney Cox. Fortunately, Leah wasn’t out of work for too long and by 1998 landed the role of Carrie Heffernan in CBS’s The King of Queens, a sitcom which ran for 9 years. Would Leah have been able to play Monica with a streak of such endearing neurosis as Courteney?
Will and Grace star Eric McCormack auditioned for the role of geeky but loveable Ross Gellar. It's hard to imagine anyone other than David Schwimmer as Ross, but Eric has proved himself as a top notch comedy actor. Would he had slotted into the cast as well as David did?
Would Eric have passed for Courtney's brother in the show?
Two and Half Men star Jon Cryer was reportedly in the running for the role of Chandler Bing, back when FRIENDS was going to be called ‘Six of One’. Cryer said show execs were desperate for him to try out for Chandler, but had been in London at the time of filming his casting tape and it didn’t reach the network in time. What do you think, is it a shame or was it just fate that Cryer’s casting tape didn’t make it back to LA for the network executives to see? He did go on to star in smash hit show Two and a Half Men alongside the notorious Charlie Sheen, so we’re sure he doesn’t cry himself to sleep over it.
Jon Cryer went on to star in hit show Two and a Half Men
The Simpsons actor Hank Azaria actually auditoned for the role of Joey Tribiani, a role eventually taken by Matt Le Blanc.
"That's the only job I ever auditioned for twice," Azaria told HuffPost Live on Wednesday (Jan. 22). "I thought it was so good - they had rejected me once - I said, 'I'm going back, I'm gonna do it again, I'm gonna try it again.'
The six stars that were eventually chosen to star in FRIENDS were certainly part of something pretty magical. The chemistry they had onstage is what made the show such an outstanding hit, would FRIENDS have been as successful if even one of the actors had been picked differently?