The Office premiered on NBC in March 2005, and introduced the world to some of the most memorable characters in television history, including Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, Pam Beesly and Jim Halpert. It was the talented actors behind these colorful characters that brought the boring 9:00 to 5:00 office job to life. For eight seasons, these characters made us cry, made us laugh, made us cringe, and even made us want to work in an office. Prior to taking on the roles of Michael, Dwight, Jim and Pam - actors, Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski were essentially unknowns aside from Carell who had landed supporting roles in the comedies Bruce Almighty and Anchorman. However, thanks to the success of the show, these actors were skyrocketed into stardom, turning their character’s names and their real names into household names. We'll always identify Steve Carell as Michael Scott, Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, and John and Jenna as Jim and Pam, because their portrayals of these characters were so genuine that for us - they seemed real. It's hard to imagine anyone else playing the roles of the famous Dunder-Mifflin staff, but back in 2003, NBC auditioned several now well-known actors. They didn't make the cut, but they were pretty darn close.
10 John Cho
Actor John Cho, who is best known for his roles in the Harold and Kumar films, was up for the part of Jim Halpert in 2003. From an acting standpoint, John could have easily been able to bring the same personality to the role of Jim, the lovable, mild-mannered paper salesman, as John Krasinski did. However, John Cho is of Asian descent and this singular but significant difference might have reshaped the relationship between Michael and Jim. With Cho as Jim, Michael Scott may not have looked up to him as much and might have acted weird towards him to placate to his Asian heritage, much like he did to Daryl, Stanley and Kelly. Due to the fact that the Michael character was ignorant about cultural differences and was basically a racist because of it, having John Cho as Jim could have completely changed the dynamic of the show. Despite the possibility of a reshaped relationship between Michael and Jim, Cho could have opened up a lot of opportunities for a range of humor. The Office was known for delivering prejudice jokes about African Americans, Mexicans, Gays, Women and more; but it never poked fun of Asian stereotypes, aside from the 'Diversity Day' episode in season one. Cho’s presence could have allowed for an additional stream of ridiculous comments out of Michael and provided a new cultural avenue for the writers and cast to explore.
9 Patton Oswalt
8 Kathryn Hahn
Kathryn Hahn, well-known for her roles in the films, Step Brothers, We're the Millers and The Goods, once auditioned for the role of the shy and kind receptionist, Pam Beesly. Although Hahn has a similar look to Jenna Fischer, she may not have brought the same level of sweetness and innocence that Jenna brought to the character of Pam, which is what made Pam so likable. Without Jenna, Pam's modest and down-to-earth style might not have been the same. According to Fischer, Pam's hair and makeup style was her idea and it's actually how she wore it in her audition. Fischer had a rule for the hair and makeup team - it couldn't look like it took Pam more than 30 minutes to get ready in the morning. Even though Pam’s sweetness may not have been as sweet, Hahn could have brought a bit of vulgarity to the character. This could have sparked some hilarious interactions between Michael and Pam, since Pam would have been able to play along with Michael's crudeness - that's what she said.
7 Alan Tudyk
Most people recognize Alan Tudyk from the 2004 film Dodgeball, where he played the offbeat character, Steve the Pirate. However, a year prior to the release of Dodgeball, Tudyk was up for the role of Michael Scott. The Office premiered in 2005 and with Tudyk's claim-to-fame being the character Steve the Pirate, it could have been difficult to take him seriously as Michael, Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton. On the other hand, Tudyk is a very eclectic actor with a background in all different genres. He could have brought different facets to the character on the emotional spectrum that Steve Carell wasn't capable of doing in the first couple of seasons, due to his singular comedy background. Nevertheless, without Steve Carell, audiences would have never experienced the Michael and Oscar kiss in season three's episode, 'Gay Witch Hunt.' It was Carell that improvised the kiss in the scene that only called for a hug and as a result, the shock and uneasiness viewers witnessed from the cast was completely genuine and entirely hilarious.
6 Adam Scott
5 Eric Stonestreet
4 Seth Rogen
3 Nick Offerman
2 Judah Friedlander
1 Bob Odenkirk
Bob Odenkirk was actually cast as Michael Scott after Steve Carell had to turn it down, due to accepting a role in the NBC sitcom, Come to Papa. However, the show was cancelled after four episodes, allowing Steve Carell to accept the role as Michael Scott. In Season 9, Episode 16, fans were able to get a glimpse of what Bob Odenkirk would have been like as Michael Scott when he played Michael's doppelganger, Mark, a manager at an office in Philadelphia that Pam was interviewing at. Odenkirk's 'Michael Scott' was a little more enthusiastic, talkative, and over-the-top than Steve Carell's 'Michael Scott.' Even though Odenkirk could have lived up to Michael's goofy, ignorant and dorky side; he might not have been as convincing during Michael's serious moments like in Season 4, Episode 12, when Michael had to stand up to Stanley's insubordination. Additionally, because of his upbeat and over-the-top personality, Michael's romance with Holly might have seemed far too cheesy with Bob Odenkirk.