Jennifer Aniston has revealed she was nearly replaced in the now classic hit comedy Friends. When attending the Santa Barbara International Film Festival she told reporters that back at the start of the show due to her other commitments, the show’s producers were considering recasting the role of Rachel Green…… even before the show aired.
We all know from our Television history that not only did Aniston become a household name, but also the bane of hairdressers around the globe as she started the iconic “Rachel” haircut for hundreds of thousands of women, some of whom just couldn’t be turned into Rachel no matter how good the stylist!
At the Festival, which opened on January 27 th and runs through to February 7th 2015, Aniston was presented with the prestigious Montecito Award in honour of her career. She was also lauded for her touching performance in the Daniel Barnz directed Cake.Aniston said of her career breakthrough role “Friends came when I was off doing Muddling Through. So there was a period where I had to stand out of the photographs for the group shots, and I had phone calls from girlfriends saying, ‘I’m auditioning for your part in Friends.'”
The show Muddling Through only lasted for three months in 1994, which meant that lucky for Aniston she actually wasn’t replaced in Friends. “They just took the chance that Muddling Through would fail after the [ten] episodes they picked it up for, and so I just started doing this back-and-forth from Sony to Warner Bros for two weeks.”
The star of Horrible Bosses and We’re The Millers also talked about how she was originally asked to play Monica Geller.
“(The producers) wanted Courteney (Cox) to play Rachel,….unbeknownst to each other, I wanted to play Rachel and she wanted to play Monica. It worked out perfectly.”
The 45 year old actress was expected to be among the list of Academy Award nominees for Best Actress, for her performance in Cake, which tells the story of Claire (Aniston) who is fascinated by the suicide of a woman in her chronic pain support group while grappling with her own, very raw personal tragedy. When speaking with Ellen Degeneres on her TV talk show she told the audience “I’m the number one snubbed! That’s the silver lining!” The film was released for the Toronto Film Festival and in the USA on December 31st 2014 and for those countries that have yet to see the film, you can watch a trailer below.
There is some interesting history in the cast of friends, and who did and didn’t make it. The series debuted on US television over 2 decades ago on September 22nd 1994. It shot not only Anitson, but fellow cast mates David Schwimmer, Courtney Cox, Matthew Perry, Matt Le Blanc and Lisa Kudrow into the stratosphere. However they also weren’t the only choices that studio execs had for the roles they are now synonymous with.
Even through the role of Ross Geller was in fact written with him Schwimmer in mind, Will & Grace star Eric McCormack also auditioned several times. Can you imagine Will as Ross?
As I mentioned the first actress considered to play Rachel was in fact Courteney Cox, who instead lobbied successfully for the role of clean freak Monica. However before Cox was cast, Jami Gertz is said to have turned down Monica.
After Téa Leoni turned down the part of Rachel Green, not only did Aniston audition but so did Elizabeth Berkley.