After the Friends reunion special earned a nomination for Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) at the 2021 Emmys, it's hard to see anyone else playing the iconic NBC sitcom's characters. And yet Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer all had to fight for what would become their breakout roles, competing against fellow up-and-coming actors for their spot on the iconic NBC sitcom, which was then called Six of One.
Some stars were already committed to other pilots, while others were brought in at the last minute when the roles were this close to being filled. And one friend almost played a different friend. Thankfully Cox, arguably the most well known of the sextet thanks to her work in Family Ties, Seinfeld and that one Bruce Springsteen video, had to foresight to ask to read for Monica.
According to casting director Ellie Kanner, the plan was to allow the actress to audition for Monica with every intention of casting her as Rachel. But when she "nailed it," Kanner told Huffington Post in 2015 that everything changed.
"We were just blow away," Kanner admitted. "We were like, 'Oh s--t! I guess she's got to be Monica.'"
Ahead of the cast's latest reunion at the Emmys, let's take a look at just how different the show could've been if any of these actors had landed one of the six main roles on Friends...
Friends: The Reunion is streaming on HBO Max.
(Originally published on Friday, May 26 at 3 p.m. PT)