It’s hard to picture Friends with any other actors but Jennifer, Courteney, Lisa, Matthew, Matt and David (we’re on a first name basis). There were other possibilities for these hilarious roles, though, and many of them may surprise you. Imagine a world where Jennifer Aniston is not the slightly egotistical yet caring Rachel Green or Courteney Cox is not the perfectionist Monica Geller. You can’t imagine it, right?! Or how about Matt LeBlanc not being the dumb but oddly charming Joey or Matthew Perry not being the extremely sarcastic Chandler. Nope, can’t imagine that either. Basically, these 6 friends make up the perfect cast and I don’t think anyone would have it any other way. Check out these actors who missed out on being a part of the friend group everyone wishes they could be in!
One thing that may surprise everyone is that Jennifer Aniston was not the first choice to play Rachel! Crazy, right?! The first choice was Tea Leoni but she passed on the role and became the lead on the NBC sitcom, The Naked Truth.
Elizabeth Berkley, who played Jessie in Saved By The Bell, was another actress who tried out to be this funny lady but did not get the role.
And one more actress who almost played Rachel?! Courteney Cox! The producers wanted her to play Rachel but Courteney convinced them to let her play Monica. Good thing she did because Monica as Rachel? No, just no.
Leah Remini auditioned for the part of Monica but Courteney Cox was chosen over her. No worries though, Leah went on to play our favorite queen of Queens! She even had a small role as a pregnant lady in one episode of Friends.
Monica Geller was originally written for and given to Janeane Garofalo but she ended up turning it down to be on Saturday Night Live for the 1994-1995 season. Her stint on SNL did not work out too well though. Speaking of SNL, Jennifer Aniston was offered a part on SNL but turned it down to be on Friends. You go, Jennifer! Clearly this worked out very well for her…very, very well.
Two other actresses who tried out for the part of Monica are Jami Gertz (Still Standing) and Nancy McKeon (The Facts Of Life). Nancy came close to getting the part but proved to be no match for Courteney Cox. Better luck next time, ladies.
So who almost became the cynical Chandler Bing? Well one actor is Jon Favreau, who everyone might recognize as Monica’s millionaire boyfriend in later episodes! He turned down the role of Chandler before Matthew Perry was cast, but had a recurring role later on.
Jon Cryer also auditioned for this part…well kind of, sort of did. He was in London when he got a call about auditioning for Six of One (yes, it was called that until they changed the name after filming the pilot). He read with a British casting person but the tape did not get to LA in time. At least he got the part of Allen on Two and a Half Men a decade later…maybe that softened the blow a little.
The first choice for Chandler was Craig Bierko (Cinderella Man) but he turned it down to film a pilot coincidentally called Best Friends. This pilot never made it to air though. He might regret that decision, huh?
Eric McCormack auditioned multiple times for the role of Ross but the part went to David Schwimmer. Luckily Eric got a different leading role playing Will on Will & Grace.
There could’ve been very different combinations of this cast but luckily we ended up with our 6 favorite friends. It also could’ve been horribly titled Six of One. So let’s all be grateful for the best cast ever and a good title!
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