These Actors Auditioned So Well That Television Roles Were Changed To Suit Them

When casting directors begin to piece together their ensembles, they generally have a rough idea of what they want in their characters: Their race, their age, their gender, and maybe even their hair color. But sometimes, people who do not fit the description come in and audition anyway. In very rare instances, those auditions are so good that the casting directors end up changing the character to suit the actor, instead of finding an actor to suit the character. In even rarer instances, characters are created specifically for an actor who was so good auditioning for a different roles.

Here are ten of those instances.

1. Saved by the Bell.

Role: Lisa. Original Character Description: White, Jewish princess from Long Island.

Cast Instead: Lark Voorhies

Role: Mr. Belding.

Original Character Description: Male, Black, in his 50s.

Cast Instead: Dennis Haskins

2. X-Files

Role: Agent Dana Scully

Original Character Description: Someone “taller, leggier, blonder and breastier” than the woman that Chris Carter wanted for the role, Gillian Anderson.

Cast Instead: Gillian Anderson

3. Agents of Shield

Role: Agent Althea Rice

Original Character Description: A white woman, known as “The Cavalry.”

Cast Instead: Ming-Na Wen (and changed the character name to Melinda May)

4. Lost

Role: Sun-Hwa Kwon

Original Description: Did not exist

Cast Instead: Yunjin Kim, who actually auditioned for Kate, but was liked so much, they created the character of Sun-Hwa Kwon for her.

5. House, M.D.

Role: Gregory House

Original Description: No non-Americans, and especially no British actors (because their American accents were poor).

Cast Instead: Hugh Laurie (who director/exec producer Bryan Singer didn’t realize was not American because of his flawless Boston accent. In fact, Singer singled Laurie out as an example of the kind of compelling American actor he had been looking for.)

6. Doctor Who

Role: The Doctor

Original Description: After David Tennant, Steven Moffat insisted that he would not go younger with the character and that he wanted someone who was at least middle age.

Cast Instead: Matt Smith, who impressed Moffat to such an extent in auditions that he had to cast him (Peter Capaldi, who is replacing Matt Smith, may have been more in line with what Moffat was thinking at the time).

7. Grey’s Anatomy

Role: Miranda Bailey

Original description: Blonde, hard-nosed white woman.

Cast Instead: Chandra Wilson

8. Criminal Minds

Role: Garcia

Original description: A middle-aged Mexican man

Cast Instead: Kirsten Vangsness

9. Arrow

Role: Slade Wilson

Original description: An American (in fact, the character was American in the comics, too)

Cast Instead: Manu Bennett, a New Zealander of Maori descent

10. The Walking Dead

Role: Daryl Dixon

Original description: Did not exist

Cast Instead: Norman Reedus, who originally auditioned for Merle Dixon. They liked him so much they created the character of Daryl for him.