‘The Office’ Star Kate Flannery Almost Played a Different Character on the Show

After nine seasons of The Office, it’s hard to imagine Kate Flannery as anyone but Meredith. Flannery was always game for some physical pratfalls, whether getting hit by Michael Scott (Steve Carell)’s car, setting her hair on fire or planking in the bathroom. However, Flannery’s first brush with The Office was originally for a completely different role. 

Kate Flannery: The Office
L-R: Creed Bratton, Kate Flannery and Phyllis Smith | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Flannery spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about her role on The Office. She told the story of her casting and further collaborations with episode directors. The Office is now streaming on Peacock.

Kate Flannery auditioned for this other memorable ‘The Office’ character

Flannery ended up benefiting from playing Meredith because she remained on The Office for all nine seasons. She originally read for the role of Jan, Michael Scott’s first love interest whom Melora Hardin ultimately played.

The OFfice cast
L-R: B.J. Novak, John Krasinski, Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer | Mitchell Haaseth/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

RELATED: ‘The Office’: Philip Seymour Hoffman Was Offered a Role in the Cast but He Turned It Down

“I actually auditioned for the part of Jan initially, did not get it and then I ended up replacing somebody from the pilot,” Flannery said. “So I auditioned again months later. They shot the pilot in February and I think I auditioned again in late August or early September, and then we started work right away.”

Kate Flannery helped invent Meredith on ‘The Office’

Flannery added that her second audition was for a brand new character, not necessarily replacing an actor in the role of Meredith. 

“I think they reimagined the character because there wasn’t Meredith before,” Flannery said. “I just remember being told no makeup, which usually that means a light base, some mascara and some lip gloss. No, no, they literally made us take our makeup off. It was bare bones. They wanted it real.”

Kate Flannery quickly made Meredith her own 

Once Flannery got the role of Meredith, she stepped up to make Meredith memorable. It was early in the first season that Flannery saw the opportunities to make Meredith stand out in The Office.

RELATED: ‘The Office’s Kate Flannery Says She is the ‘Face’ of This Disease

“During season 1, they had me dress up like Madonna, like a really intense makeup when they were shooting the Crockett and Tubbs picture of Dwight and Michael Scott from the ’80s party,” Flannery said. “From that point on, ‘I thought oh my God, I’m kind of doing something different than everybody else. I get to do something really physical.’”

Kate Flannery had a few mishaps on ‘The Office’

With all the physical comedy The Office threw at Flannery, there were bound to be some mishaps. However, it wasn’t the drastic car crash or flaming hair that did it. 

Kate Flannery and Oscar Nunez
Oscar Nunez and Kate Flannery | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

RELATED: ‘The Office’: Kate Flannery Said This Terrifying Dwight and Meredith Moment Was the ‘Most Fun’ Scene With Rainn Wilson

“I just had some bruises,” Flannery said. “We did this one scene where I kept getting hit in the face with a football. They did have a stunt double and I was like, ‘No, no, no, I’ll do it. It’s funnier if it’s me.’ I slept really well that night. That’s all I’m going to say. I did wake up but it was a tough one.”