The Main Character In Friends That Jon Favreau Nearly Played

One of the most interesting things about HBOMax’s “Friends: The Reunion” is hearing Marta Kauffman, David Crane, and Kevin Bright talk about the casting process of the iconic show. It is nearly impossible to imagine anyone else in the roles of Ross, Rachel, Monica, Joey, Phoebe, and Chandler, but many, many other actors were considered for those roles before they were officially given to David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, and Matthew Perry.

Jane Krakowski, whom we know today from “Ally McBeal,” “30 Rock,” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” was considered for the roles of both Rachel and Phoebe. Or, can you imagine Ellen DeGeneres as Phoebe? Because she was considered, too, per Hollywood.com. Jane Lynch and Kathy Griffin were also considered for the role of Phoebe. “The King of Queens” actor Leah Remini was considered for Monica. “Saved by the Bell” and “Showgirls” star Elizabeth Berkley was almost cast as Rachel. Hank Azaria was considered for Joey, and “Will and Grace” star Eric McCormack came very close to being cast as Ross.

It’s mind-blowing to think about how different “Friends” could have been with other people in the roles. Before Matthew Perry was cast as Chandler Bing, the producers almost gave someone else the role. They wanted Perry, but he was initially committed to another series.

Jon Favreau was nearly cast as Chandler Bing

During “Friends: The Reunion,” producers Marta Kauffman, David Crane, and Kevin Bright revealed that they thought Chandler would be the easiest part to cast because the character had the most jokes, was sarcastic, and flippant. And yet, no one could nail the part, per Hollywood.com.

The actor who was initially offered the role of Chandler was Jon Favreau. But Favreau turned “Friends” down because he wanted to work on other projects. By other projects, he probably meant 1996’s “Swingers,” which he wrote and starred in, per IMDb. “Swingers” put Favreau on the map, but in 1994, he was pretty much an unknown, albeit an unknown with a great script.

Favreau did appear on “Friends” in Season 4 in 1997, though. He played Monica’s wealthy boyfriend Pete Becker in six episodes. Remember him? He was the one to who Monica kept trying to be attracted but wasn’t. And then Joey found a receipt for $50,000 paid to a ring designer, leading Monica to believe he was going to propose. Instead, it turned out he wanted to be a UFC fighter; that was the ring he had made in the episode “The One With Ross’ Thing,” per IMDb. So Favreau is still part of the “Friends” universe — just not as Chandler.

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