The actors offered the role of Michael Scott before Steve Carell



Finding the perfect chemistry in a cast is essential to creating a sitcom. Could anyone else have played Michael Scott as perfectly as Steve Carell?

In the sixteen years since its premiere on March 25, 2005, the American adaptation of The Office has made a place for itself in American iconography. Now considered one of the most influential sitcoms of all time, many can’t imagine the series any different from what they’ve had. However, there are a lot of moving parts behind creating an ensemble comedy. Audiences got a glimpse of this process in Andy Green’s book “The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s” and many were shocked at the number of other actors who almost played the Area Director. everyone’s favorite, Michael Scott.


At this point in his career, Steve Carell was arguably the most well-known original actor on the show, as his stint in Office came after his time as a correspondent on The daily show and shows in Presenter and Almighty bruce. While these performances certainly showcased Carell’s acting prowess, producer Ben Silverman and casting director Alison Jones believed someone more recognizable could help market the series. As far as we know, there were over twenty star names considered for the lead role, many of whom were offered the role prior to Carell’s review. Here are some of the best known.

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Philippe Seymour Hoffman

In an alternate universe, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s career might have taken a right turn had he accepted the offer to play “World’s Best Boss”. Prior to his consideration for the role, Hoffman had many comedic roles under his belt through performances in films like Boogie evenings and The great Lebowski. That being said, most of Hoffman’s recognition has come for his impeccable dramatic work both in the theater and in films like The talented Mr. Ripley, Magnolia and Flawless.

Certainly a well-known performer, Hoffman has had the choice of taking his career in many different directions. With a Tony Award for Best Actor and a Drama Desk Award, he had proven that he had the skills to approach complex characters with confidence. A few weeks before the premiere of Office, Hoffman won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Truman Capote. In the end, Hoffman most likely saw his future as a titular drama star and felt that choosing a long-term engagement on a show that might fail was not a smart play. Looking back, if Hoffman had accepted the role, audiences would have lost his monumental performances in films like Doubt and Before the devil knows you’re dead.

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Paul Giamatti

In a separate timeline before his turn as a top businessperson in Showtime’s Billion, Paul Giamatti was also considered for the future role of Carell. Unlike Hoffman, Giamatti had television experience early in his career, but less rave reviews in the years leading up to The offices design. From the perspective of the modern entertainment industry, it seems that a potentially long sitcom wouldn’t have been a ready-made choice for the. Next to actor.

However, Giamatti had a career in mind and television was not the way to make it happen. His television experience at that time had mostly consisted of co-star roles and most of his recognition came from his film work. In the early 2000s, television still hadn’t made the leap to what it is today and didn’t quite attract the caliber of a movie star. When Giamatti chose to turn to television in 2008, he was playing John Adams on HBO, which had even more notoriety than broadcast television. As for what Giamatti would have brought to the character, Silverman and Jones believed he would have delivered a performance closer to Ricky Gervais’ original Michael Scott. Ultimately, however, the creators hoped to step away from that tone and create a more relevant lead.

Bob odenkirk

The actor who was closest to claiming “That’s what she said!” as its main slogan, is everyone’s favorite shady lawyer, Bob Odenkirk. When choosing between the two powerful comics, casting director Alison Jones said the decision was a matter of tone. In his readings, Odenkirk gave a “more cerebral performance”, while Carell leaned into “sweet and simple … comedic energy … approachable and lovable from the Midwest.” Like the other actors mentioned, if Odenkirk had been cast for the role, someone else would have taken his defining performance for Saul Goodman.

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What Happened and Honorable Mentions

Despite a controversial first season, almost canceled after six episodes, Office now stands as many people’s favorite comedy of all time. While it’s fun to revisit what could have been, Jones and Green certainly picked the right choice when they put together this case. Either way, here are some honorable mentions of actors who were considered for the role of Michael Scott:

Alan Tudyk, Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Paul Rudd and Rainn Wilson.

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