Millions of us would have loved to have had a crossover between The Office and Parks and Recreation. Two of our favorite comedies (in which we wished were still going today) shot a ton of people to fame. And there were one or two celebs that made it in both sitcoms. In particular, Rashida Jones appeared in both sitcoms, playing both Karen Filippelli in The Office and Ann Perkins in Parks and Rec. What many people don’t know, is that Ellie Kemper nearly did the same. Except Kemper only auditioned for Parks and Rec at the time and still didn’t get it!
The NBC mockumentary have famously suggested that some of our favorite characters could have been played by other people. Both Adam Scott and Nick Offerman actually auditioned for the role of Michael Scott, which was eventually given to Steve Carell. Offerman and Scott were instead given parts in Parks and Recreation. And weirdly enough, the opposite happened to Ellie Kemper. The actress auditioned for a small rol in Parks and Rec, playing Tom Haverford’s wife. And while she didn’t get the part, at least it all worked out for the best!
“I had met with Greg Daniels and Mike Schur, who ran the ship at The Office, the American version of The Office, and a couple months later they called me in to read a part with the casting director Allison Jones, but then my manager called me a month later to let me know I hadn’t gotten the role.
Then, I think, in the following February, they called me in for this four-episode arc for a temporary receptionist who was filling in when Pam went to the Michael Scott Paper Co. So they called me in to audition and I read with Ed Helms. Erin was more serious and a little bit more sarcastic, I think, at the beginning. And then I fear that as the writers got to know me, they sort of made Erin weirder, so that’s sort of how she morphed into the weirdo rube that she became”.
So if it wasn’t for Kemper not getting the role in Parks and Recreation, we may have never seen one of the most iconic characters in The Office. Because her audition was so memorable, Michael Schur and Greg Daniels didn’t want her to miss out. This meant they called her back for an audition for The Office. How sweet!