It's impossible to imagine anyone other than Matt LeBlanc playing the Joey Tribbiani we know and love. LeBlanc perfectly captured the well-meaning, but often-clueless, actor and all his quirks. A Knicks superfan, an Italian with a neverending appetite, and an avid Baywatch viewer — LeBlanc captured all of Joey's quirks. It seems like no one else could do Joey justice — but LeBlanc almost didn't get the role.
According to a new report from Esquire U.K., Vince Vaughn almost starred in the NBC sitcom. Ultimately, casting director Ellie Janner turned Vaughn down in favor of LeBlanc, though. (Apparently, they did tell Vaughn he was "tall, handsome, and a good actor," though, so it looks like there are no hard feelings about the show.) Vaughn then went on to star in 1996's Swingers after losing the part.
Interestingly, that's not the only connection between Friends and Swingers. Marie Claire U.K. reports that Jon Favreau almost played Chandler, but he turned the Friends role down to focus on the movie instead. Favreau is still part of the Friends universe, though — he guest-starred in the show's sixth season as Pete Becker, Monica's (extremely) wealthy boyfriend.
Marie Claire also dropped several other facts about what the show might have been. Apparently, REM's "Shiny Happy People" was almost the theme song, in place of "I'll Be There For You." If that's not weird enough to think about, there's also the fact that none of the cast liked the new song. "No one was really a big fan of that theme song," Aniston said in an appearance on The One Show last year. "Dancing in a fountain felt sort of odd, but we did it."
And even though we've heard this one before, it's always a surprise to remember that Courteney Cox was originally considered for the role of Rachel, before being cast as Monica. Let's just take a moment to appreciate the Friends we did end up with — Cox and LeBlanc were perfect for their roles.