This Is What The Cast Of 'Friends' Would Have Looked Like If Things Had Been Different
This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of Friends, the hit 90s sitcom which would have been nothing without the characters in it.
Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Phoebe - the six friends at the heart of the show - gave us endless laughter, cringe-worthy moments and heartwarming scenes in the ten years it was on, and props must go to the actors that portrayed them.
We can hardly imagine anyone else other than Lisa Kudrow taking on the offbeat and ditzy Phoebe Buffay, any actor other than Matt LeBlanc saying "How you doin'" as Joey Tribbiani, or anyone else nailing Monica Geller's neuroticism as well as Courteney Cox.
But in actual fact, things were planned to look very different.
In early 1994, after news the pilot for Friends was getting the go-ahead from NBC, auditions began in New York and Los Angeles.
Warren Littlefield, the then-president of NBC Entertainment, reported getting calls from every agent in town wanting they client to be part of the series.
The casting director shortlisted 1,000 actors who had applied for each role down to 75. Those who received a callback read again in front of writers David Crane and Marta Kauffman and their production partner Kevin Bright.
By the end of March 1994, the potential actors had been narrowed down to three or four for each part. Finally, the hopefuls were asked to read in front of Warner Bros then-president Les Moonves.
But it wasn't plain sailing for Jennifer Anniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow. In fact, they were up against stiff competition from fellow actors, many of whom have gone on to be have super successful careers, while in some cases the roles were offered to other people altogether initaillt.
This is what the Friends cast could have looked like if things had gone differently...
Rachel Green went from spoilt daddy's girl to badass fashion exec, and fans laughed along with her failed romances before she ultimately ended up with Ross.
The final character to be cast, Rachel is played by Jennifer Aniston, who auditioned for the role after turning down a position on sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live.
Originally, it was actress Téa Leoni (Bad Boys, Deep Impact) who was the studios first choice for Rachel, however she declined the offer to star in sitcom The Naked Truth instead.
Other actresses who audition for the role are Elizabeth Berkley, Denise Richards, Melissa Rivers, Nicollette Sheridan, Parker Posey, and Jami Gertz.
Producers Crane and Kauffman originally wanted Courtney Cox to play Rachel, however the actress pushed to play Rachel best friend Monica, ultimately convincing them.
Monica Geller was the cleaning-obsessed chef who was Ross's sister, Rachel's BBF and ultimately, Chandler's wife. We loved Monica dearly despite her neuroticism.
It was ultimately Courteney Cox who got the role, who was undoubtedly the biggest star out of the six at the time. However writers had originally written the role with comedian Janeane Garofalo in mind - but she turned it down.
Actress Jami Gertz was also offered the role but declined it - which is when it ultimately went to Courteney.
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Phoebe Buffay is the quirky masseuse who was loved for her offbeat moments and memorably sang 'Smelly Cat'.
Jane Lynch, Megan Mullally and Kathy Griffin all auditioned for the role of Phoebe - but Lisa Kudrow was ultimately the lucky actress.
Ross is the dinosaur-obsessed brother of Monica, love interest of Rachel and high school best friend of Chandler. He had some of the most memorable scenes in the show and created some of the best catchphrases - "PIVOT! PIVOTTTT!"
Ross was the only role that was written with one of the eventual cast members in mind. The writers had worked with David Schwimmer in the past so wrote Ross for him, and he was the first actor cast.
However, producers still saw other actors for the role, one being Will And Grace's Eric McCormack.
The actor told HuffPo in an interview: "Years later, I told Jimmy Burrows, who directed all of Will & Grace and Friends too [that] I was up for Schwimmer's part. He said, 'Oh, honey, you're wasting your time. They wrote the part for him.'"
Joey was the slightly dim-witted, sandwich-loving, womanising actor with a heart of gold. Everyone woman secretly wanted him to ask them "How you doin'?"
While Matt LeBlanc won the role of Joey, comedy actor Vince Vaughn was also considered at the start.
Casting director Ellie Kanner told HuffPo that she remembered Vince as "handsome and tall" and a "good actor", but he didn't quite fit the role the way Matt LeBlanc did.
"That would have been a little different," Kanner said of Vince winning the role. "It's just a matter of putting the pieces of the puzzle together," she added.
Chandler is the wise-cracking super sarcastic best friend of Ross, roommate of Joey and eventual hubby of Monica. Could Matthew Perry BE any better for the role?
Well it turns out producers did have their questions.
Originally, Craig Bierko was the first choice for the role, and in a weird twist, was coached on by his actor friend Matthew Perry.
When Craig turned down the role after reading the pilot scrip, Matthew was the next choice, but actually turned down the role due to another commitment on a Fox pilot - LAX 2194, believe it or not, a role about baggage handlers set in the future.
In the interim, both Jon Cryer and Jon Favreau were in the running for Chandler (the later of which featured in later series as Monica's love interest Pete Becker), before Perry's pilot was axed freeing him up to do Friends.
Oh, what could have been...
We have to say though, we cannot imagine anyone else playing these iconic roles better.
Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros