Hank Azaria


  1. Steven Weber, Wings, TV, 1990-1997.     Azaria, Fisher Stevens and future hot TV stars George Clooney (ER, 1994-2009),  David Duchovny (The X-Files,1993-2018) and Gregg Germann (Ally McBeal,1997-2002) auditioned for Brian Michael Hackett, one of two brothers running a private airline out of Nantucket, surrounded by much wackiness – so-called.  (The series creator, David Angell, was killed on 9/11 when his plane was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center). 

  2. Matthew Perry, Friends, TV, 1994-2004.      As if anyone else could have been Chandler… Azaria was on the March 7, 1994 reading list forwhat the creators pitched as“searching for love and commitment and security… and a fear of love and commitment and security.” He later joined another Friends-hopeful, Chris Hogan (up for Ross), in CBS’ short-lived 1995 series, If Not For You.

  3. Thomas Haden Church, Ned and Stacy, TV, 1995-1997.  The mulit-voiced Azaria had been first choice for the egotistical ad man Ned, marrying Debra Messig’s Stacey to win promotion (well, she needed an apartment!) and  slowly changing for the better…  just when – the series was Fox-axed after two seasons… despite Greg Germann stealing the show as Ned’s  best mate and Stacey’s brother-in-law.
  4. Matt Dillon, There’s Something About Mary, 1997.   Fox wanted Bill Murray as sleazy shamus Pat Healy, latest in a long line smitten with the gorgeous Cameron Diaz. The Farrellly brothers rightly said he was too old and suggested Azaria, Cuba Gooding Jr for Vince Vaughn.   Dillon has the easiest role – he was Cameron’s lover at the time.
  5. Jim Carrey, Man on theMoon, 1999.      The voice of so many in The Simpsonswas aiming to be seen more often. Other  possibles for the biopic of surrealist comic Andy Kaufman included John Cusack, Tom Hanks, Edward  Norton, Kevin Spacey. Oh and Nicolas Cage. Not for long as he refused to audition. Czech director Milos Forman could not decide between Carrey and Norton. He let Universal decide. Carrey was the bigger draw. And quite brilliant!  “During the shooting,” recalled Forman, “I met Jim Carrey only twice. “He was always in the role.  He was Andy Kaufman, Tony Clifton or Elvis Presley 24 hours a day!”
  6. Greg Kinnear, What Planet Are You From? 1999. “Hello, dear boy.” ”Hello Mike, how are you.” That was Mike Nichols (of course) offering Azaria (from his Birdcage comedy) a lecher in a film written by and starring TV funnyman Garry Shandling.  Being booked up, Azaria was lucky to escape this… stuff.  Nichols was embarrassed by what Chicago critic Roger Ebert “an exercise in feel-good smut.” Like Nichols, Ebert couldn’t understand why Nichols made it, “Half of his films are good to great and the other half you’re at a loss to account for. Even if the screenplay by Shandling… seemed promising on the page, why star Shandling in it? Why not an actor who projects joy of performance – why not Kinnear, for example? If you’re making a movie about a man [actually, an alien] who has a strange noise coming from his pants, you should cast an actor who looks different when it isn’t.”
  7. Steve Carell, The Office (US), TV, 2005-2013.       In the hunt for a US version of Ricky Gervais for the US take on his classic BBC mockumentary series, NBC also looked at Bill Chott,  Ben Falcone, Paul Giamatti, Thomas Lennon, Ken Marino,   Bob Odenkirk, Nick Offerman, Martin Short, Paul F Tompkins, Alan Tudyk, Rain Wilson (who became Dwight) and Jim Zulevic. Carell, a Jon Stewart protégé on The Daily Show, survived as Michael Scott for 138 episodes. He was booked for another  pilot, Come To Papa  – quickly canned when NBC realised they’d found their star.
  8. Chris Diamantopoulos, The Three Stooges, 2011.   Benicio Del Toro and Russell Crowe (!) topped the Farrelly brothers’wish-list for Moe Howard, the lead Stooge. Also seen: Azaria, Johnny Depp, even Mel    Gibson! However, it was obvious from the get-go that this idea was a loser. Bobby and Peter may adore them (hence their own un-subtle comedies) but there are not many other fans left of the Stooges – and their litertal slap-dash boinks, pokes, slaps, nyuk-nyuks, nyaaahhhs. Mel Brooks had backed off from such a project in 1974 for exactly that reason. “It’s so hard to sustain a plot that could withstand their antics for that long.” A handsome fella until given the infamous soup-bowl haircut, Diamantopoulos was born five days after Moe died in 1975.  






 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  8