When Philip Seymour Hoffman was almost cast as Michael Scott in ‘The Office’
(Credit: NBC)

Netflix Flashback

When Philip Seymour Hoffman was almost cast as Michael Scott in 'The Office'

It has been confirmed that The Office will be sticking around on Netflix for at least two more years, with the streaming platform going back on its earlier announcement that the show would leave in 2023. With such great news ringing in our ears, we thought it a good time to reflect on one of the show’s greatest ‘nearly’ moments.

Michael Scott is one of the most iconic characters in the history of television, immortalised within the framework of popular culture. When the casting process was still underway, many renowned figures were contacted about the opportunity, and one of them was none other than Philip Seymour Hoffman.

For an actor of Hoffman’s stature, it is very common to receive all kinds of offers, but Hoffman actually got the chance to play a role that would change his career trajectory forever. While he had tackled the comedy genre in various ways before, Hoffman was presented with the opportunity to grab a leading role in the widely beloved American version of The Office.

According to the reports, Hoffman was approached for a major part in the American sitcom, but the actor turned it down because he felt he wouldn’t be a good fit. The role he was offered would become the most iconic character on The Office – Michael Scott, a hilariously ignorant boss whose quirks and eccentricities transformed the show into a cultural phenomenon.

Many actors were considered for the part of Michael Scott, including the likes of Owen Wilson, Paul Giamatti and Stephen Colbert but it eventually went to Steve Carell, who delivered the performance of his career. The entire show would have taken a completely different direction if Hoffman had agreed to it, but it is simply unimaginable now.

In an interview, Steve Carell opened up about the unique character and explained how he fit into the present sociopolitical climate: “He’s a person with an enormously good, kind heart who lacked a great deal of information about the world around him. He was as asleep in a woke world as you could be.”

The creative forces behind the show have often spoken about how The Office wouldn’t be made today but it continues to maintain a strong viewership of loyal fans as well as younger generations of audiences. Thanks to its availability on streaming platforms, it has become one of the most popular sitcoms around.

Talking about the good intentions of Michael Scott, Carell added: “[Michael’s] trying his best! There’s a difference between being intolerant and being ignorant. Sometimes intolerance and ignorance go hand in hand, for sure. But I think he was a very earnest and decent human being. He just didn’t… get it all the time, you know?”