This ‘The Office’ Star Auditioned for Jennifer Garner’s Role on ‘Alias’ but Was Turned Down for Not Being ‘Hot Enough’
It’s hard to imagine anyone but Jennifer Garner playing the role of Sydney Bristow on Alias, but one star of The Office said she got “really far” during the Alias audition process. In the end, Garner beat her out, even though she was praised for her acting skills.
The ‘Alias’ role was reportedly written for Jennifer Garner
Alias creator J.J. Abrams reportedly wrote the role of Sydney with Garner in mind, after working with her when she guest-starred on Felicity.
“There was something about her that I just thought was really special,” Abrams told USA Today in a 2002 interview. “I always thought she had something in her personality that was funnier and sexier and smarter and more mischievous than anything I’d seen her do.”
“And when I wrote Sydney, I wanted to show that,” he added.
Jenna Fischer of ‘The Office’ was considered for the ‘Alias’ role
While Garner was at the top of Abrams’ list, Jenna Fischer shared a story about auditioning for Alias, noting that she got far in the audition process. She was told she wasn’t quite the right fit for the role, however.
During the Sept. 2, 2020 episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Fischer recalled how she had auditioned to play Sydney Bristow on Alias and got a bit of annoying feedback.
Fischer and her co-host Angela Kinsey shared a moment from The Office episode titled “Benjamin Franklin” when Dwight hires a stripper for Bob Vance’s bachelor party. When she arrives, Dwight is confused because she says she’s a dancer and Jim Halpert asks him, “Have you ever seen a stripper?” Dwight answers, “Of course, I have. Jennifer Garner on Alias.”
That prompted Fischer to share her audition story. “You know, I auditioned for the role of Sidney Bristow on Alias and I got really far,” she said.
Kinsey asked, “Are you kidding?,” wondering, “Could you have done it all? It was a very athletic role. I’m not saying you’re not the most athletic person.”
Fischer wondered what exactly Kinsey was trying to say about her, with her former Office co-star pointing out, “She had to all kinds of like kicks, flip over things…”
Fischer said she would let Kinsey’s subtle diss go and then proceeded to give the details of how she delivered an amazing audition but ultimately didn’t have the right look.
“So I went in and I read for the role and my scene that I had to audition with was this really emotional, dramatic scene where I’m crying… I think, like about my mother,” Fischer explained. “And it was super intense. And the feedback that my agent got was like, ‘Jenna blew us away. We absolutely loved it. Her scene was, she just did a great job. We’re gonna pass on her because we just, unfortunately, don’t think she’s hot enough.’”
“That was my feedback,” Fischer added.
Fischer almost quit acting
Fischer had many audition fails over the years before starring on The Office. She shared during the Sept. 23, 2020 episode of Office Ladies how she had called her managers “after seven years of failures” to quit and instead become a vet technician. Fischer was talked into working through the rejections and that’s when she got the part on The Office.
Fischer’s experience with rejection helped her connect with the Pam character. “I did channel a lot of those struggling years into my performance for Pam,” she explained. “I literally sat at a reception desk and dreamed of being an artist. I have done that. I did it for seven years, so I deeply, deeply felt Pam’s longing.”