What would The Large Bang Idea have been like with out Kaley Cuoco?
That was nearly the truth. The brand new ebook, The Large Bang Idea: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Sequence by Jessica Radloff, particulars how actresses Marisa Tomei, Tara Reid and Elizabeth Berkley have been all up for the position of what finally grew to become the Penny character. And, actually, for a sizzling minute, Penny, the aspiring actress turned pharmaceutical gross sales rep and half of the favored Penny/Leonard pairing, was “Katie.”
The historical past of Penny on BBT, which ran from 2007 to 2019, is an fascinating one. Per a ebook excerpt in The Hollywood Reporter, after Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki have been solid as Sheldon and Leonard respectively, it was on to solid Penny. Nonetheless, on the time, CBS had one other pilot with a personality named Penny, so creator Chuck Lorre was requested to alter the identify. It grew to become Katie — and the position was nothing just like the bubbly Nebraska native; she was older and cynical.
Cuoco, off of 8 Easy Guidelines, truly display screen examined for the unique Large Bang pilot, however did not get it. Casting director Ken Miller mentioned she was “so sunny and bubbly” and whereas they “simply beloved her,” Katie was a darker position. Cuoco “simply wasn’t the essence of Penny in that first incarnation.” And at simply 20, she was too younger for what was envisioned.
Cuoco mentioned, “I do know Chuck actually wished me for the position of Katie, and I used to be undoubtedly bummed once I didn’t get it, however I sort of have a manner of transferring on as a result of it’s a must to.”
The present moved on, too. Parsons recalled that he “learn with Marisa Tomei… I keep in mind going to the snack room after we have been performed and telling Ken and Nikki [Valko, casting director], ‘I’ve by no means been in another person’s audition earlier than!’ They usually mentioned of the [Oscar-wining actress], ‘Nicely, she was sort of actually auditioning you.’ And I went, ‘Oh, that is sensible.” However oh my gosh what a special world that might have been” had Tomei been solid.
Present co-creator Invoice Prady mentioned, “Tara Reid additionally got here in for the position of Katie, and I feel Elizabeth Berkley went to community for the position, too. She was terrific.” Canadian actress Amanda Walsh had an audition, however did not land the position.
Lastly, they discovered their Katie in actress Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (Nash Bridges, Vampire Diaries, Jail Break). They did the primary desk learn for the pilot, then Parsons, Galecki and O’Keefe and others went out to a restaurant. By the point all of them arrived, O’Keefe bought phrase from her agent that she had been fired.
“I hadn’T performed a ton of desk reads in my profession by that time, however I am not an fool — I do know when somebody’s not good,” Parsons mentioned. “And Jodi was nice. I used to be shocked. However they realized throughout that desk learn that the character’s method to the opposite characters was too harsh, too no matter, although Jodi, in my view, nailed what that they had written.”
The present had three days to recast and so they have been in such a crunch that they even held auditions on Easter Sunday. Walsh was known as again to audition once more and landed the recast half on the spot. She began instantly.
Prady advised Leisure Weekly in September that Katie was “sort of tough” and “harmful in a manner” along with being “[not] very good to the fellows,” two nerdy however endearing physicists. At a check screening of the unaired pilot, “the viewers hated her,” Lorre mentioned.
Lorre advised that outlet, “We did not notice early on that the viewers considered [Sheldon and Leonard] as youngsters. They have been very naïve and childlike, no matter how clever they have been. They have been very susceptible, and the viewers did not need a poisonous presence round them.” He mentioned Walsh not understanding was on them, calling the position was “misconceived.”
The community requested for unlikable Katie to be recast, however the creators resolve to retool the present primarily based on suggestions, including “extra of those sensible misbegotten characters,” together with Howard Wolowitz (performed by Simon Helberg) and Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) who the check viewers preferred, and revamping Katie, making her kinder and extra charmed by her geeky neighbors. Walsh wished to return again and have one other crack at enjoying the newer model, however they determined to recast. That is when Cuoco grew to become Penny.
The Large Bang Idea premiered on September 24, 2007. It aired 279 episodes, obtained quite a few awards (together with Parsons’s 4 Excellent Lead Actor Emmys) and earned its spot in TV historical past.