This Star Almost Played Jennifer Aniston's "Friends" Role
"I think all the right people got cast in that show."
She went on to star in beloved comedies like 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Dickinson, but before that, Jane Krakowski was up for another iconic sitcom role, that of Rachel Green on Friends. In a recent interview with ETOnline, the actor laughed about losing out on playing one of those six New York City singles to Jennifer Aniston. And she seemed to have no complaints as to how it all shook out. Keep reading to find out what she had to say about the character she missed out on, and for more TV nostalgia, check out Courteney Cox Just Shared How She Recreated the "Friends" Turkey Scene.
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Jane Krakowski says she thinks "all the right people got cast in that show."
"I love Jen, I'm a huge fan, and I think all the right people got cast in that show," Krakowski said to ETOnline. "You know, Friends was one of those scripts that was one of the best scripts going around that pilot season, so I think most actors and actresses in that age group that they were looking for probably auditioned for it."
While Krakowski said that she and Aniston have never discussed their Rachel connection, she went on to explain how their careers have overlapped in other ways.
"What's interesting is that Jen's first audition was for a soap opera that I got, so we sort of have been in each other's show business worlds for a very, very long time," the actor continued. "And that was a soap opera called Search for Tomorrow that her dad [John Aniston] actually was on, so I did get to meet Jen all those years ago when we were teenagers. And she was on 30 Rock, and we've crossed each other many times during our careers."
So it's safe to say that there are no hard feelings on Krakowski's side, even with the '90s comedy becoming a lucrative phenomenon. "I just think [Aniston is] a top-notch lady," the star said. "She's a class act, and as I say, I think Friends was cast absolutely perfectly."
Read on for more stars who just missed being cast on Friends, and for more celeb news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Saved by the Bell star Tiffani Thiessen would have been one of the more famous cast members to join the show had she been cast on Friends. The actor said in a SiriusXM interview (via Entertainment Weekly) that she "tested" for the part of Rachel, but "was just a little too young" to fit in with the rest of the actors. For more heartthrobs from the Saved by the Bell era, check out The Biggest '90s TV Teen Idols, Then and Now
Eric McCormack made it to Must-See TV eventually with his show Will & Grace, but he was almost part of Friends in that lineup instead. He told HuffPost that he auditioned for the role of Ross, but found out later why it was all for naught. Director James Burrows, who worked on both shows, told him that the paleontologist was written with David Schwimmer already in mind. Chances are any hatchet was buried when Schwimmer guest-starred on the Will & Grace revival as a love interest for Debra Messing's character. For shows that have endured, check out The 40 Longest-Running American TV Shows of All Time.
Hank Azaria is a familiar face to Friends fans, who know him as Phoebe's off-and-on scientist boyfriend, David. But did you know that he could have played her best pal Joey instead? He told HuffPost that it was "the only job [he] ever auditioned for twice." And he didn't let it go immediately after Matt LeBlanc won the part.
"At first, in my opinion, in the first few episodes of Friends, he hadn't really found it," The Simpsons star said. "And all that first season I was like, 'I could've been funnier than him!'" Harsh! Eventually, Azaria said, he thought that LeBlanc "really found himself in that part." And if you're a Friends fan, check out Every Major "Friends" Character, Ranked From Worst to Best.
Leah Remini also appeared on Friends—as the pregnant woman Joey meets in the Season 1 finale. That one episode guest spot, however, came after she missed out on joining the main cast. Remini wrote in her memoir, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, that she was one of the finalists for the role of Monica, according to Showbiz CheatSheet. She even remembered seeing Courteney Cox in the building as she was leaving her audition and having the distinct feeling that the part would eventually go to her. For the former Scientologist's take on a recent news story, check out Leah Remini Says This Was the Real Reason for Tom Cruise's COVID Rant.
Actor and filmmaker Jon Favreau wasn't just considered for a major Friends role—he was reportedly offered the role of Chandler Bing. The rest is history: He turned it down, it went to Matthew Perry, and then Favreau eventually joined the show for a multiple-episode arc as Monica's billionaire boyfriend Pete Becker. To see how the MCU movies Favreau helmed stack up against the rest, we're Ranking Every Marvel Movie, From Worst Reviewed to Best.
Though the comedian hasn't confirmed it, it's been long rumored that Kathy Griffin very narrowly lost out on playing Phoebe Buffay. Or course, the part of the kooky masseuse would go to Lisa Kudrow, her long-time friend. And for famous pals who've had falling outs, here are Former Celebrity Best Friends Who Barely Speak Anymore.