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July 28, 2014

Jenna Fischer wasn't sexy enough to play Sydney Bristow

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 18th 2008 3:04PM
Jenna FischerOne of the fun games to play when it comes to TV shows is "What If." What if Mickey Rooney had been cast as Archie Bunker on All in the Family? What would have happened to the show (and to Rooney)?

That's one of interesting revelations (though that one has been known for quite some time) in the new book Mickey Rooney as Archie Bunker and Other TV Almosts by Eila Mell. It lists a bunch of actors and actresses who almost got roles we know and love. For example, Jenna Fischer (The Office) tried out for the role of Sydney Bristow on Alias, but was deemed not sexy enough for the part (as we told you about before). Whitney Houston didn't want the role of Bill Cosby's daughter on The Cosby Show so the role went to Lisa Bonet. And Leonardo DiCaprio almost played David Hasselhoff's son on Baywatch (the role went to Brandon Call and later Jeremy Jackson). That one isn't surprising at all, considering DiCaprio did work on Growing Pains and other shows.

It's easy to sit here and say this actor or this actress would have been terrible in a role, but hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and who knows how they would have done in such a role. Nancy McKeon as Monica on Friends? Why not? Rosie O'Donnell as Elaine on Seinfeld?

Well, OK, that one sounds weird.

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Tess Capra

The studio was hot to get Gene Hackman to play Mike Brady -- think how *that* would have impacted cinema in the sixties and seventies. Would Robert Reed have been up for Popeye Doyle?

August 19 2008 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Europa

I just want to be clear; I don't have anything against her being gay - be who you are and, yeah, acting should just be acting - but I just think back then many producers and certainly the suits at the top of the networks would have been really hesitant about even considering her *if* her sexuality had been widely known to the general public at that time. I don't know; just hunch/feeling on my part. I think people sometimes forget what a huge deal it was when Ellen Degeneres "official came out" and the some what negative impact it had on her career for a while. There was a point when she was having a really hard time finding a gig. It was like half of Hollywood didn't know what to do with her and the other half was too afraid of the "moral majority" to just leave her personal life out of it and let her do her thing.

August 19 2008 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees auditioned for the role of Fonzie. Would not have been the same. I like the Monkees, but he would have provided a different take on the character.

August 19 2008 at 12:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Europa

"Rosie O'Donnell as Elaine on Seinfeld?

Well, OK, that one sounds weird."

But I think only because like you said, hindsight is 20/20. Back when Seinfeld started I doubt if the public at large knew she was gay and as "angry at the world" as she seems today. Heck, if people had known her then as they do now I doubt she would have even got a *day time* talk show.

August 18 2008 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to Europa's comment
divineparasite

And yet just a season prior to "Alias" Jennifer Garner was playing the mousy best friend to vivacoue Jennifer Love Hewitt on "Time of Your Life", kind of like that "Not Another Teen Movie Joke, want to mouse up a girl, put on some big glasses and a ponytail and some baggy clothes, then to vamp her up just take out the ponytail, remove the glasses and put her in a dress. Instant babe.

August 18 2008 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Boomstick

@Christian
Then you should check out Richard Chamberlain in the Indy ripoff titled King Solomon's Mines. A very Indiana Jones character is played by Richard Chamberlain, who is a very Tom Selleck like actor (beard rather than mustache).

August 18 2008 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Boomstick's comment
Boomstick

Or should it be Indy ripped off H. Rider Haggard?

August 18 2008 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Yme Sandelmann

It's not TV per se, but I believe Tom Selleck was originally supposed to be "Indiana Jones" and did not do it because he preferred his TV gig. It's really strange to picture him and his mustache as Indy :)

August 18 2008 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Yme Sandelmann's comment
Chris

Selleck did want to do the movie but they wouldn't let him have the time off to film the movie since, at the time, Magnum was a top 5 show.

Abrams has said previously that he wrote the part of Sidney Bristow with Garner in mind. I believe that he has stated he wanted her to play the role Evangaline Lilly has on Lost right now but ABC brought back Alias for that last year and messed that up for him.

Have to hand it to Abrams, he definately has a type.

August 18 2008 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Franklin

@Vijay

Then the movie would have starred Eric Stoltz and bombed at the box office.

August 18 2008 at 4:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DrZibbs

I agree, she's not sexy at all. Now I would like to see who tried out for the part of the Fonz

August 18 2008 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jake

Jenna is very sexy, but I definitely think she would have been wrong for Alias. Besides, didn't JJ Abrams have Jen Garner in mind for the role from the start?

August 18 2008 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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