“The One With the Male Nanny” almost transformed into “The One With Tom Hanks,” according to the guy who actually featured beautifully in the Friends episode in question. As you’re undoubtedly aware, Freddie Prinze Jr. won everyone’s hearts (although Ross was an impossibly tough sell) as the “manny” who took care of Rachel and Ross’ baby, Emma, in the 200th episode of the still-blazingly-popular series. It’s difficult to imagine anyone but Prinze selling this character’s unique manner of wearing his heart on his sleeve, but Prinze says that he actually wasn’t the first guy that producers tried to hire for the role.
Who nearly played Sandy the manny? Tom Hanks. Yes, if Prinze is to be believed (and let’s face it, we have no reason to doubt the voice of Fred Flintstone), then the Bosom Buddies star was almost the one who was offering up a special, homemade diaper-rash balm. Here’s what Prinze told Entertainment Weekly:
“I wasn’t even supposed to be [Sandy], that was originally offered to Tom Hanks but he wasn’t gonna make it back from his film on time. And so my agent called me and said, ‘Do you want to be on Friends? And I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do an episode of Friends. That’ll be great.’ He said, ‘Yeah, it shoots tomorrow.’ and I was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Yes, tomorrow so I’ll send you the script.’”
Prinze was available in a pinch, and that’s about 80% of what success is made of, right? More or less, but I do believe that he was a better choice for the role, even if Hanks was as big of a “get” as Julia Roberts was, back when she stole Chandler’s undies. Yes, this is a controversial stance to take because we’re talking to someone as beloved as Hanx, but Freddie’s take on Sandy was refreshingly unexpected and, perhaps because he had no time to prepare for the role, his take felt genuine. And yes, Sandy was only with us for a very short time, but he left his mark. Even on Ross.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)