13 Actresses Who Were in the Running for Your Favorite Roles on
October 2, 2018
Friends is probably the most iconic TV show of our generation. It is hard to find a person that hasn’t seen at least one episode or doesn’t know one of its many quotable lines. Think about it, have you ever ran into someone who didn’t understand the meaning of “We were on a break”? Probably not. If you have, please sit them down in front of Netflix and educate them.
The show also made its actors household names. It practically started the careers of
Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow. We honestly can’t even imagine what the show would have been like if it were cast differently. But, it almost was. Believe it or not, multiple actresses were considered for the parts of Rachel, Monica and Phoebe. Just try to picture these faces as our favorite characters from the ’90s.
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This is a shocker. Although Courteney is
so much more Monica than Rachel, she originally auditioned to play the part of Ms. Green! However, she ended up turning the role down, opting instead to audition for Monica.
"For some reason, I thought I related more to Monica, which maybe it's because I do. I'm very similar to her... I'm not as clean as Monica, but I am neat. And I'm not as competitive, even though some people, my partner (musician)
Johnny McDaid, would say I am."
We're so glad she made the right choice in the end.
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Tea Leoni is no Jennifer Aniston, but she sure does look like her! In fact, Tea was the first choice to play Rachel Green — but she turned it down.
A year later, she starred as the lead on a different NBC sitcom,
The Naked Truth. Still, it wasn't nearly as successful as Friends. We wonder if she regrets the choice now.
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Elizabeth Berkley is another actress who was a contender for the role of Rachel. This Saved by the Bell star auditioned for the part, but didn't receive it.
However, shortly after
Friends' premiere, Elizabeth put out a movie that was a little more... grown up. In the film Showgirls, she starred as Nomi, an aspiring performer in Las Vegas. The role was a stark contrast to her almost-character, Rachel.
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Manny Carabel/Getty Images
Saved by the Bell's other leading lady, Tiffani Thiessen, almost landed the gig of Rachel on the hit NBC show as well. On Nikki Glaser's Sirius XM show, the actress told her she tested for the iconic role. When the star auditioned, she was only 20 years old! "I was just a little too young," she said. "I was a little too young to the pairing of the rest of them." It's cool, though, the 44-year-old still had popular roles on other '90s shows like Beverly Hills, 90210, so she shouldn't feel too bad.
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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Emmy nominee auditioned for Friends, too!
In an interview with
Giuliana Rancic, Jane admitted, "Well, I, like almost every actor auditioned for Friends... I wish I had gotten that one… I didn't go very far."
When asked if she'd even gotten a callback for the roles she'd auditioned for (Rachel and Phoebe), she admitted, "My business manager is very sad that I didn't." Ouch.
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Although actress Lisa Kudrow ultimately got the role of Phoebe (and nailed it), we can't help but imagine that Ellen could've done it, too. In fact, she was so fit for the role, directors reportedly offered it to her first!
Ellen denied the claims, saying that there was another pilot with a similar name that she was linked to, which confused the public. Hmm...
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Jane Lynch supposedly auditioned for the role of Phoebe before it was finally awarded to Lisa.
However, in an interview, she debunked that rumor, saying that Lisa actually got the part because she was first fired from
She told reporters, "Lisa Kudrow got the role [as Roz] on
Frasier and was fired... And then Lisa, they cast in Friends, and then I mean, come on, that was the role of a lifetime."
About the rumor that she'd auditioned for the part, too, she said she wished she'd had such an opportunity so early in her career, but alas — it wasn't in the cards.
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In the verrry beginning of casting, directors pictured comedian
Kathy Griffin for the role of Phoebe.
Eventually, after considering other actresses for the part, they decided on Lisa Kudrow. But now, we keep on picturing Phoebe with a head of flaming red hair. Imagine!
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Lar Park Lincoln
The role of Phoebe was offered to this
90210 actress early in the casting process. However, she turned it down. We still count ourselves lucky that LK didn't do the same!
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There are all sorts of rumors out there that Janeane was supposed to be the OG Phoebe. And while it's true that she was being considered for the role, it happened way back, even before Phoebe was the crazy character we know and love today.
In an interview, Janeane told reporters, "Long ago before
Friends was Friends, when it was in its infancy, it was a show called Friends Like Us, and I was being considered for a role, like a goth girl, which I think morphed into Phoebe." We can hardly imagine a choker-clad Phoebs.
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Leah Remini really really wanted the role of Monica. Eventually, however, she was turned down for the part, and it was given to Courteney Cox.
Later, Leah got to fulfill her dream of being on the show, and appeared on an episode. We hope there were no hard feelings on set!
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Still Standing actress Jami Gertz was actually offered the role of Monica! After she turned it down, however, it was passed along to CoCo. We have to admit, they do kinda look alike. But in the end, Court crushed it, so we can't complain.
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Back when Court was still auditioning for the role of Rachel,
Nancy McKeon auditioned alongside her as Monica.
However, when Courteney began auditioning for Monica, the directors had to think a little harder about their casting choices. At the time of these auditions,
Lori Openden was in charge of casting. About the directors' decision, she said, "Nancy McKeon, from The Facts of Life, also read for Courteney's part. She gave a terrific performance. Warren [Littlefield, the then NBC president] let Marta [Kauffman] and David [Crane] make the call. They went off for a walk and came back and said Courteney."