Justin Theroux—star of The Leftovers, screenwriter behind hits like Iron Man 2 and Tropic Thunder, and, oh right, husband of Jennifer Aniston—just revealed to Mr Porter that he once had an audition for Friends…and slept through it. What!? As Rachel Green might say, "You fell uh-SLEEP?"
Here's an excerpt from the article:
"Mr. Theroux moved to New York in 1993 and ensconced himself in Greenwich Village, where he skateboarded, painted murals in Palladium and The Limelight nightclubs, rehearsed Chekhov, and didn’t turn up for sitcom auditions, including one for Friends. 'No, I didn’t bother,' he says. 'I slept in that day. I wouldn’t have been prepared for [the fame].'"
There are no other details in the piece about Theroux's missed audition—like which character he might have been considered for—but let's try to read between the lines, shall we? Friends premiered in September 1994, and although it's set in New York City (in Greenwich Village, in fact), it's shot in Los Angeles. So if Theroux moved to New York in 1993, he probably wasn't around for a walk-on role—and he probably wasn't itching to get onto a network sitcom because most were shot in L.A. at the time. Of course, this doesn't mean NBC wasn't looking at actors in New York; maybe what he slept through was going to be taped?
What I'm getting at here is that I don't think his audition was for a one-, two-, or three-episode role; I think it was for one of the six main cast members. He says he wouldn't have been prepared for the fame, and you don't get super-famous from being, like, Monica's Coworker. All that in mind…it was totally for Joey, right? Good-looking Italian type? Womanizer with a heart of gold? It's gotta be Joey.
As it turned out, missing his audition for one of the biggest shows of the decade didn't end up hurting his career; Theroux made his film debut in 1996's I Shot Andy Warhol, and the next year he appeared in a small but iconic role in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, starring Friends' Lisa Kudrow. Fun fact: Romy and Michele also stars Janeane Garofolo, who at one point was in consideration for a role on Friends too.
For even more Justin Theroux–Jen Aniston–NBC comedy-nerd ramblings, please see this dissection of two crucial lines in Parks and Recreation.