Ed Helms auditioned for this *other* Office character first, and it would have been a completely different show
Pretty much every character from The Office has become a pop-culture staple, but Ed Helms just made a revelation about the show that has us shaken to the core. Apparently, he auditioned to play Jim Halpert before landing the role of Andy Bernard—and yeah, we can hardly keep our cool about this, either.
This truth bomb was revealed by none other than Jenna Fischer, who dropped the deets in the May 19th episode of the Office Ladies podcast, which she co-hosts with Angela Kinsey. The pair discussed the Season 3 premiere episode, “Gay Witch Hunt,” which fans will remember as the introductory episode to Andy Bernard and Karen Filippelli, two Dunder Mifflin employees at the Stamford branch where Jim is transferred. Fischer revealed that Helms auditioned for the show first for a character close to her heart.
“Ed told me that he was a huge fan of the original BBC Office, and he said not many people know this, but he originally auditioned in New York for the role of Jim,” said Fischer.
She added that Helms also wanted to join the show when he learned that his Daily Show coworker Steve Carell landed the role of Michael Scott. It’s truly relatable, TBH, to want to work with Carell, but we can’t believe we didn’t know this tidbit about Jim Halpert.
Helms obviously didn’t land the role of Jim—that went to John Krasinski. However, he must have made an impression because, according to Fischer, “somewhere near the end of Season 2, [Helms] got a phone call to meet with [showrunners] Greg Daniels and Paul Lieberstein about a new character that they wanted to introduce in Season 3.”
That character was, of course, Andy. Even crazier is that Andy was intended to be a short-term, recurring character.
“They thought that the Stamford storyline would not necessarily end in a merger and that his character would be finished when Jim went back to Dunder Mifflin,” Fischer explained. “That was the plan, that Jim would eventually return. But this idea that the other Stamford characters would return wasn’t quite in the works yet.”
Apparently, Helms’ audition was news to Kinsey, too, so we’re not alone in our shock. Helms playing Jim would have fully changed the entire course of The Office. So while we think Krasinski was certainly the right choice in the end, we’re happy that the enthusiastic Cornell grad still found his way to Scranton in the end.