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The Terrible Advice Paul Rudd Gave Steve Carell About The Office

In case you didn't know, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell go way back. 

The two actors both starred in 2004's "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" and 2005's "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," two of the funniest and most beloved comedies of all-time (per Rotten Tomatoes). Around that very same time, Carell was attempting to land another iconic comedy gig — the lead for the American version of "The Office," which had been a huge hit overseas on BBC Two. He had been talking with fellow funnymen in Hollywood to get their take on the audition and what they would do, including Rudd. 

Carell recalls their conversation in "Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office," which is a new book written by executive producer Ben Silverman and actor Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin Malone on the NBC iteration. "I remember, before I auditioned, I was talking to Paul Rudd," Carell says, according to Esquire. "I'd never seen the original one and he asked what I was up to. This was right after 'Anchorman.' I told him I was going to audition for the American version of 'The Office.'" 

What came next from the future "Ant-Man" star would not only surprise Carell, but could have altered the course of television history forever. 

Rudd told Carell that the American version of The Office was 'never going to be as good'

In "Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office," Steve Carell remembers how Paul Rudd — and most people he knew — doubted whether the American version of "The Office" would ever work.

"[Rudd] said, 'Ugh, don't do it. Bad, bad move. I mean, it's never going to be as good.'" Carell recalled, according to Esquire. 

The actor who Carell was up against for the role of Michael Scott was none other than future "Better Call Saul" and "Breaking Bad" star Bob Odenkirk, who reportedly portrayed a more "cerebral" version of the character compared to Carell's "sweet and simple" take, said casting director Allison Jones. Executive producer Ben Silverman describes in the book how Odenkirk nearly landed the job, but it was Carell who wound up swooning them. "We still had Bob as somebody we were in love with as a comedic performer," Silverman writes. "But Steve, even though he's from the Northeast, had such a Midwestern-accessible, lovable comedic energy, like the great primetime sitcom stars of the fifties and sixties. He had that thing. There was something about us that wanted to soften the character. Bob has hard edges, like he has angularity to him. He's brilliant, but he literally has angularity." 

Thankfully, Carell didn't take Rudd's advice. And when it comes to the World's Best Boss, the rest is history.