It’s hard to imagine the idea of anyone else playing the role of George Costanza on Seinfeld than Jason Alexander. It’s one of the funniest characters on TV, ever, and we’re convinced that no one would be able to do a better job than he did. But there was a time before the show launched that someone else was close to landing the role: Danny DeVito.
In a recent interview on the podcast “Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum,” Jason Alexander spoke about his iconic character on the long running sitcom. Jason dropped a few insider gems, like the actors who were in the running to take on the character while casting was still happening.
Michael and Jason were talking about how he landed the role of George all those years ago when Michael asked Jason to tell the story from the beginning on how he came to be chosen for the character.
Jason said that at the time, he lived in New York and the casting was taking place in LA. “They had seen a gazillion people I guess for George,” Jason said. “Some very famous people who I think had been offered the role and either turned it down or they got next.”
Michael then jumped in and asked if Jason knew any of the other people who were considered for George.
“Yeah,” Jason admitted and then dropped a few names. “Chris Rock, Danny DeVito, one of the guys they really liked for it, and I think he said no was Paul Shaffer,” he continued. “So, I mean they were kind of a little all over the map.”
This isn’t the first time Jason has dropped names on who else was close to landing the role. In 2015 during an appearance on Howard Stern, Jason said, “I think in the case of Danny he probably didn’t want to be—his career, when we started Seinfeld, would’ve been at its apex, so he probably didn’t want to do a sidekick role.”
And, honestly, even though we can totally see Danny nailing the role (I imagine his version of George being similar to Louie from Taxi and Frank from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), it’s really hard to imagine anyone coming close to the charisma and quirks Jason brought to the character.