Imagine a world where the iconic character of Rachel Green from the beloved sitcom ‘Friends’ was not played by Jennifer Aniston, but by another 90s starlet.
The idea of anyone else playing the role of Rachel Green seems almost unthinkable now. Aniston’s portrayal of the character was so spot-on that fans often felt the part was written specifically for her. Her performance as Rachel launched her into superstardom, with her trademark hairstyle, “The Rachel,” becoming a global phenomenon.
Known for her role as Kelly Kapowski on ‘Saved by the Bell’, Tiffani Thiessen was a strong contender for the role of Rachel, a revelation that might leave fans of both shows reeling.
Thiessen, who was a household name in her own right, auditioned for the role of Rachel Green, a character that would later become synonymous with Aniston. The ‘Saved by the Bell’ star recently revealed on SiriusXM’s ‘You Up With Nikki Glaser’ that she was a serious contender for the part. However, the producers felt that Thiessen, who was just 20 at the time, was a tad too young for the role.
The character of Rachel, along with her friends Monica, Chandler, Joey, Ross, and Phoebe, were all envisioned to be in their mid-20s. Despite Thiessen’s acting chops, the age difference between her and the rest of the cast was a factor that couldn’t be overlooked. Aniston, who was 25 when the show debuted, fit the age requirement perfectly.
However, the casting process for ‘Friends’ was not as straightforward as it seems. Other notable actresses, including Téa Leoni and Elizabeth Berkley, were also considered for the role of Rachel. Even Courtney Cox, who played Monica Geller, was initially offered the role of Rachel. But she expressed a preference for the character of Monica.
Aniston’s casting was also not without its hitches. She was already cast in a CBS sitcom called ‘Muddling Through’ and almost had to be replaced on ‘Friends’. Aniston even reportedly turned down a role on ‘Saturday Night Live’ to be a part of ‘Friends’.
Despite the initial hurdles, Aniston’s portrayal of Rachel Green has left an indelible mark on pop culture. Her performance has set a high bar for sitcom actresses, and her character has become a benchmark for fashion and style trends.
As for Thiessen, she may not have landed the role of Rachel, but she went on to have a successful career. In 1994, she played Valerie Malone on ‘90210’, another iconic 90s show. She also hosted her own cooking show, ‘Dinner at Tiffani’s’, and starred in the Netflix series ‘Alexa & Katie’.
While the world of ‘Friends’ would have been different with Thiessen as Rachel, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role that Aniston made her own. The casting might have been a case of ‘so close yet so far’ for Thiessen, but it’s safe to say that both actresses found their perfect roles in the end.