The Cast of 'Friends' That Could've Been

Over on Vanity Fair, they’re running an “Oral History of “Friends,” and among the interesting revelations were a couple of people who offered roles in the show. For instance, Craig Bierko was offered the role of Chandler because Matthew Perry was tied up in another pilot for Fox (he was later released from that commitment, obviously). Bierko would’ve been an interesting choice — he has the snarky sarcastic demeanor, but as the piece noted, “He seemed to have a lot of anger underneath, more of a guy you love to hate.”

There could’ve been many different iterations of the cast, in fact. The show, originally and horribly titled “Six of One,” tackled a lot of casting decisions before the pilot was filmed. For your Internet edification, I did a little research to discover other people who auditioned and either declined or passed over roles in the show.

— Nancy McKeon (“Fact of Life”) auditioned for the role of Monica (Courteney Cox)

— Courteney Cox originally auditioned for Jennifer Aniston’s role, Rachel Green, but preferred the role of Monica

— Jon Cryer was also offered the role of Chandler, as was Jon Favreau

— The role of Monica was originally written for and offered to Janeane Garofalo

— Jami Gertz also turned down the role of Monica

— Leah Remini auditioned for, but lost out, on the role of Monica

— The first choice for Rachel was Tea Leoni

— Elizabeth Berkley also lost out on the role of Rachel

— Erik McCormick (“Will & Grace”) lost out on the role of Ross Geller, which went to David Schwimmer