Ten years ago, NBC had the chutzpah to attempt to adapt Ricky Gervais’s shortlived but much-admired British sitcom, The Office, and a gaggle of relatively unknown actors and actresses auditioned to become the Americanized Tim and Dawn, David and Gareth. When Rainn Wilson posted the new show’s original audition list last March on Facebook, as the American show was taking its final bow, he opened up a parlor game of what-ifs — Adam Scott as Jim? — teasing fans who could only imagine what those audition tapes might look like.
Well, those tapes are out of the vault. When season 9 of The Office arrives on Blu-ray on Sept. 3, the 2003 casting tapes are one of the best bonus features. A few clues about some of the notable names who read — before you click below to see for yourself: one actor went on to win two Emmy Awards, another came from the Judd Apatow stable of comedy all-stars, and one is now a crew member of the USS Enterprise.
I think an Office with Adam Scott as Jim would’ve worked very similarly to what the show ultimately got with John Krasinski, but it’s fascinating to see John Cho was in the mix — if only because of the very different dynamic that his ethnicity would’ve forced on Jim and Michael’s relationship. All the race-based politically-incorrectness that flowed Kelly Kapoor’s way would’ve been siphoned towards Jim. In the end, I think they made the right calls overall: Cho gives off a Type-A personality vibe that never would’ve worked for Jim, and Seth Rogen is too affable to play Dwight. Plus, if those two had been cast in The Office, think of all the great stoner movies that never may have been.
Also included in the season 9 home-video collection:
Bonus Features on Blu-ray and DVD
2003 Casting – Never before seen audition tapes featuring the cast of the show, plus a few surprise auditions from future comedy stars including Seth Rogen, Eric Stonestreet, Jon Cho and more!
Deleted Scenes – Over of 2 hours of Deleted Scenes
The Office: A Look Back – Retrospective with the cast and their memories of the show
Finale Table Read – Hilarious cast read-through for “The Office” series finale
Autotune Andy – Autotune Music Video
The Office: Behind-the-Scenes Panel Discussion