It's hard to imagine anyone other than Rainn Wilson stepping into the shoes of Dwight Schrute from The Office, but a number of celebrities tried to scoop up the role. Initially, Wilson actually set out to play the part of Michael Scott, Dunder Mifflin's leading man. However, the casting directors ultimately saw potential in him to play everyone's favorite beet farmer. But before he had it on lock, these are the four actors who were vying for the part.
1. Seth Rogen
As seen in footage of The Office auditions, which you can watch here, popular Canadian actor/writer Seth Rogen gave trying out for Dwight Schrute a shot. As many comedy fans will know, Rogen is most famous for co-writing and acting in Superbad (2007), Pineapple Express (2008), This is the End (2013), and a handful of other hilarious movies. Funnily enough, he acted alongside Steve Carell (who played Michael Scott on The Office) in Judd Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), which catapulted Carell to fame.
2. Patton Oswalt
Also evidenced by the audition tapes posted on YouTube, Patton Oswalt was another actor who tried his hand at landing the Dwight Schrute role. You might recognize the Emmy Award winner for his role as Spencer Olchin in The King of Queens, along with appearances in popular shows such as Reno 911!, Veep, Parks and Recreation, Portlandia, and more. You can also catch Oswalt performing stand-up in his award-winning special Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping, among other comedy shows.
3. Matt Besser
Back in 2013, Wilson posted an audition call sheet for The Office on Facebook, which revealed a handful of familiar faces who nearly played some of the main characters. Among them was comedian Matt Besser, who tried out for the role of Dwight Schrute. Though lesser known than the previous two stars on our list, Besser has appeared in the comedies Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) and Bad Teacher (2011), along with popular TV shows Parks and Recreation, Modern Family, Workaholics, and more. Additionally, he was part of the sketch comedy group Upright Citizens Brigade, who had their own show on Comedy Central back in the late 1990s.
4. Judah Friedlander
Another funny actor featured in The Office audition tapes is Judah Friedlander, who also tried out for the part of Dwight Schrute. He is best known for playing Frank Rossitano in the long-running series 30 Rock, and can be seen making appearances in the comedies Zoolander (2001), Meet the Parents (2000), and Wet Hot American Summer (2000). He also scored a minor role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) as a bar patron.