After an actor stars in one sitcom for a number of years, it can quickly become very difficult to imagine them playing any other character. For similar reasons, it can also be off-putting to imagine a different actor playing a beloved sitcom character that viewers have come to love over the years.
Even though some TV castings seem like they were always cast in stone, there are many examples of legendary characters that were almost played by another actor. For example, Matthew Broderick nearly starred as Breaking Bad’s Walter White, Connie Britton could have been Scandal’s Olivia Pope, and Friends’ producers wanted Courtney Cox to play Rachel.
Interestingly enough, if things had been a little bit different Jim Parsons would never have played The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper as he would have been too busy. After all, Parsons came surprisingly close to being cast as How I Met Your Mother’s, Barney Stinson.
The Ultimate Ladies Man
On the air from 2005 until 2014, How I Met Your Mother had a truly impressive run on television. Critically acclaimed throughout its first several years, HIMYM brought a unique sense of humor to the tired sitcom formula. For example, many of the show’s early episodes revolved around simple ideas, like the gang throwing too many interventions for each other, but they tackled the concepts in hilarious ways.
In some ways, it seems like How I Met Your Mother’s writers originally thought of Barney Stinson as more of a supporting character. Sure, he often was given some pretty great lines but the show’s stories rarely revolved around him at first. However, over time it became clear that Barney was the show’s breakout character as many viewers couldn’t get enough of his often outrageous ways.
Before Neil Patrick Harris was cast as How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson, it seemed like he may never escape an earlier TV role he played, that of Doogie Howser. However, once fans and critics got their first view of Harris playing Barney, his television past faded into the background. In fact, Harris was nominated for 4 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy due to his acclaimed performances as HIMYM’s Barney Stinson. On top of that, Neil Patrick Harris’ time starring in HIMYM was fascinating behind-the-scenes.
King Of The Nerds
Of all the sitcoms that have aired over the last twenty years, there is a pretty strong argument that The Big Bang Theory was the most successful. After all, the show remained a ratings behemoth during all 12 of its seasons. If that wasn’t impressive enough already, and it certainly is, TBBT won 7 Emmy awards and was nominated for another 46 Emmys during its incredible run on television.
While all of The Big Bang Theory’s stars have become extremely well known due to their time on the show, there is no doubt that Jim Parsons was the show’s most popular cast member. With that in mind, it still shocks many observers that Parsons was so involved in The Big Bang Theory ending. Cast as the show’s most outrageous and unique character, Sheldon Cooper, Parsons was so great in the role that it often seems like he was born to bring the character to life.
The Big Reveal
In a video that was released on The Late Show with James Corden’s YouTube channel, Jim Parsons addressed various fan theories about The Big Bang Theory. For example, some fans suggested that “Sheldon is actually Spock in disguise” and that “Bernadette is actually a cyborg created by Howard”.
Interestingly enough, partway through the video, they touched on a fan theory that TBBT’s Sheldon Cooper “is actually Barney from ‘HIMYM” in an opposite Dimension”. Instead of immediately addressing that idea, which is fun since Sheldon and Barney are polar opposites of one another, Parsons revealed something fascinating.
“The funny thing about this is that I auditioned to play Barney, and felt that I was very wrong for it, and almost ran screaming from the room after I auditioned. Just like, well I did that and I don’t know why, and they actually made me come back as if they were interested. Um, not interested enough because the right person got that part, Neil Patrick Harris.”
From there, Parson began to address the theory itself; “I find this fascinating that I have that loose-ish connection to that part and you got this theory which is not true. But you’ve got this theory at all. I mean, maybe I’m giving that vibe off. Maybe underneath this character I’ve been playing is a raging horndog, and a womanizer and. I mean, yeah. Well, this one I think, is as close to the truth as one is going to get. So, thank you for telling me.”