Rainn Wilson Recalls Nearly Missing Out on The Office Casting

Jun 2, 2023

Can you imagine The Office with anyone other than Rainn Wilson playing Dwight Schrute? That’s something that came very close to happening, and it was all thanks to one project’s collapse that allowed for his casting to come to fruition. Based on the English series of the same name, The Office aired for nine seasons from 2005 to 2013. Among the most popular characters was Wilson’s Dwight, who was reponsible for some of the show’s funniest moments throughout its entire run.

In a recent chat with Theo Von, Wilson reflected on how he nearly missed out on the show. At the time, when the series was first entering preproduction, he’d caught wind of the American remake happening, and as a fan of the English version, Wilson was disappointed that he couldn’t be involved. The problem was that the actor was already attached to a separate comedy series pilot starring Janeane Garofalo, as Wilson explains.

“I was supposed to be on this Janeane Garofalo TV show, and on the way to the table read for it, I ran into this TV executive. He’s like, ‘Oh, I’m so excited, we’re going to do the American version of The Office.’ I had seen the English version and I loved it. Outside, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s great!’ Inside, I was like, ‘F***, I want to be on that.'”

Unfortunately, despite the quality names attached to the cast, the pilot itself “wasn’t very good,” as Wilson admits. He’d learn that first-hand when the readthrough for the pilot was so disastrous that the project was immediately scrapped. That was actually great news for Wilson, who took advantage of that newfound free time to audition for The Office. The rest is television history.

“Janeane’s lovely. It’s not about her. But the pilot wasn’t very good. We read the pilot. Bob Odenkirk was in it, me and Bob Odenkirk, and Marc Maron. The readthrough went so badly, they pulled the plug on the spot. By the time I got home, they were like, ‘They’re not shooting that.’ Inside, I was like, ‘I get to audition for The Office!’ Sure enough, a month later, I audition for The Office, and got Dwight a few months after that. So, you never know, kiddies. Sometimes, a rejection and a disappointment is a good thing, and it just is a path forward where other doors can open.”

Related: Rainn Wilson Reveals the Role He Wants People to Remember, and It’s Not From The Office

The Office Would Have Been Very Different Without Rainn Wilson’s Dwight


If Wilson wasn’t available, the Dwight character would certainly have been wildly different, no matter who it was that ultimately got the role. It might have been Seth Rogen, as he was one of the hopefuls who’d auditioned for the part of Dwight. Other actors who tried out for the role include Matt Besser, Patton Oswalt, and Judah Friedlander. All fine talents, but Wilson seems to have been born to play Dwight Schrute. Speaking with Theo Von, Wilson couldn’t be more grateful for his casting, as he also noted just how amazing it was to be a part of the phenomenon that is The Office.

“I never thought I’d have a better show than The Office. Nine seasons, 200 episodes, everyone got along. Made a big impact. Was funny as hell. It’s a great character. Great money. Fun people everywhere.”

The Office can be found streaming on Peacock.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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