As seen in his audition tape for The Office, Bob Odenkirk’s Michael Scott feels a little different than the version that was eventually portrayed by Steve Carell. It’s hard not to get a darker, meaner vibe from Odenkirk’s version of the character. Pam actress Jenna Fischer was a fan of Odenkirk when he was called to the audition and was excited to rehearse with him for their recall together (via Mashable). At the last minute she was asked to read with Carell. Not long after losing the series, Odenkirk’s financial situation got so dire that his manager forbade him from turning down offers — including one to star in the second season of AMC’s fledgling crime drama Breaking Bad (via The Howard Stern Show). As they say, the rest is history. And although Odenkirk didn’t get the role of Michael Scott, he did return as a copy of Michael Scott in the show’s final season (via YouTube).
However, Odenkirk wasn’t the only actor to narrowly miss out on Dunder Mifflin fame. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti were also considered for the role of Michael (per Esquire). Seth Rogen was originally considered for the role of assistant regional manager Dwight Schrute alongside 30 Rock star Judah Friedlander and comedian Patton Oswalt (via Screen Rant). Marvel Studios newcomer Kathryn Hahn read for receptionist Pam Beasley, while Star Trek star John Cho and Parks and Recreation star Adam Scott read for their great love Jim Halpert. Even “Modern Family” star Eric Stonestreet vied for the role of accountant Kevin Malone. You can relive all “The Office” auditions on YouTube.