Rainn Wilson Auditioned for Another Role on ‘The Office’ Before Being Cast as Dwight

When it comes to The Office, there’s no shortage of incredible characters to fall in love with. From Jim’s charm, to Michael’s childish antics, to Toby’s ever-present lugubrious nature, every employee at Dunder Mifflin Scranton brings something truly unique to the table. But, hands down, one of the series’ most-loved characters is none other than Dwight K. Shrute. Played spectacularly by the talented Rainn Wilson, Dwight’s penchant for militant chaos is truly a joy to behold.

Rainn Wilson as Dwight Shrute on set of The Office
Rainn Wilson | Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank

The iconic character of Dwight K. Schrute

Looking back on The Office, it’s fair to say that we couldn’t picture any other actor playing the role of Dwight. What’s more, we couldn’t picture Wilson playing any other character on the show because the role of Dwight was truly made for him. Which is why it comes as a surprise to most diehard fans of The Office to discover that Dwight was not, in fact, the first role that Wilson auditioned for. In fact, when he was first presented with the idea for the show, he auditioned for a completely different role.

Rainn Wilson first auditioned for Michael Scott

In an interview with NPR, Wilson confessed that he actually auditioned for the role of Michael Scott (a part which Steve Carell completely mastered) prior to landing his role as Dwight. But unlike his audition for Dwight, the audition didn’t go very well. In fact, Wilson shared that the audition was so bad that the producers of The Office wanted to use it as a bonus feature.

Rainn Wilson as Dwight and Steve Carell as Michael on The Office
Rainn Wilson and Steve Carell | Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

“They keep wanting to put it on the DVD of my audition as Michael. I was terrible. It was awful. It was never meant to be. It was just one of those things that I just basically did my Ricky Gervais impersonation because I really didn’t know what to do with the character,” The Office alum confessed, sharing that he wasn’t really sure about how to approach the role of Michael because it didn’t truly resonate with him.

Wilson was enamored with Dwight’s infamous quote about urine

But, the role that did resonate with Wilson was Dwight. In fact, he was rearing to give the part a try. “And I knew I was hungering for Dwight. And I knew Dwight was the one that was right in my wheelhouse. And I was like, oh, let me at this one. This one is – I’ve got to get this guy. And I remember there was some monologue I was doing about how I could drink my own urine. And I was like, aw, I want to say that. I want to say that line so bad. So my Dwight audition, needless to say, was a lot better than my Michael Scott audition,” The Office veteran humbly shared.

Wilson and Carell were both perfectly cast

Of course, Wilson eventually had to go through a very long and arduous audition process even after he nailed his first audition as Dwight. Fortunately for him, and for fans of The Office, he eventually landed the right role of Dwight. Both Carell and Wilson are perfectly cast in their roles of Michael and Dwight, and we couldn’t imagine anyone else doing a better job.