There were more than a few famous faces competing for the role of Michael Scott while casting for “The Office” was going on as well. As revealed in the oral history, the following actors also auditioned to play Michael Scott: “Anchorman” star David Koechner, “Step Brothers” star John C. Reilly, “Schitt’s Creek” patriarch Eugene Levy, “Ghostbusters” alums Rick Moranis and Dan Aykroyd, Matthew Broderick (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”), huge names like Owen Wilson, Jason Lee, Stanley Tucci, Jon Favreau, William H. Macy, and Carell’s former “Daily Show” partner-in-crime Stephen Colbert.
Even though all of those actors would have done reasonably well in the shoes of Michael Scott, it turns out there was one actor who was given just as much consideration as Carell. According to “The Office” executive producer Ben Silverman (also via CheatSheet), “We were circling Bob Odenkirk. He was available and was a great comedic actor. He had an incredible reputation in the comedy world, and he hadn’t yet become famous,” but was passed over because he “had an edge to him. His take on Michael was just as funny as Steve’s, but it was darker.”
In the end, Carell won the part and became a pop culture icon — and a huge star in his own right — thanks to his iconic turn as Michael. As for Odenkirk, Koechner, and Colbert, they may not have locked down the role of Michael Scott, but they were all rewarded with fun guest roles of varying sizes throughout the nine season run of “The Office.” And Buscemi? Luckily, he’s kept plenty busy since then — and there’s no doubt that Carell was the perfect choice for Michael Scott.