Consider my mind blown. This week, The Guardian published an inside story with several former Friends actors who had guest roles in the series (think: Aisha Tyler, a.k.a. Ross's ex, and Elliott Gould, a.k.a. Jack Gellar). The interview gave some fun insider insights about the beloved show, but the biggest bombshell came from Mitchell Whitfield, who played Rachel's orthodontist ex Barry Farber. Turns out, Whitfield-slash-Barry almost played Ross (opens in new tab) instead of David Schwimmer, and just missed out on the part.
Okay, but can you even imagine this? Because I cannot. Like, just imagine this image, but with Barry instead. Would he be able to say "pivot" correctly? What about "We were on a BREAK?"
Explains Whitfield, "I was brought in to audition for Ross and Chandler. I went back multiple times, and then they realized Ross was the role for me. I got down to the very end, and was testing for the show. At the last minute, they said: 'We’re bringing in one more guy to read.' That guy turned out to be David Schwimmer."
Whitfield added, "My wife, she cringes a little bit because if I had ended up getting the part of Ross, I’d have made tens of millions of dollars. But I never think about that."
Whitfield, who has continued to act (he actually did the voice of Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), has done just fine, and his annoying orthodontist became a hilarious part of Friends lore. But still. If you need me, I'll be in a dark corner processing this information all week long.
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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.
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