Fans know Kevin Sussman as The Big Bang Theory‘s Stuart Bloom, but he originally auditioned for a lead character in the show. The CBS sitcom initially had five main players — Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Raj (Kunal Nayyar). By season 4, Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) became series regulars expanding the main cast. Had things turned out differently, however, Sussman would’ve have been one of the four male leads in the sitcom.
Introduced in The Big Bang Theory season 2, episode 20 titled “The Hofstadter Isotope,” Stuart was the owner of the comic book store that the guys frequented in. Originally wanting to be a comic book artist, he changed to a more practical career path when he faced hardships breaking into the business. He became particularly close with Mrs. Wolowitz (voiced by Carol Ann Susi) after Howard hired him as his mom’s home carer on the heels of the comic book shop’s burning. While he’s not regarded as part of the gang’s inner circle, he was one of their closest pals outside of their group — even being invited in personal events such as Sheldon’s birthday, as well as, Leonard and Penny’s wedding.
Stuart was The Big Bang Theory‘s most prominent supporting character, appearing in a total 0f 84 episodes from season 2 to season 12. Given the frequency of his appearances, the sitcom eventually gave him his own narrative, typically becoming the C-plot to some episodes. However, Sussman actually originally tried to nab one of the main roles in the sitcom. He auditioned for the show producers during the casting process, apparently hoping to play Sheldon in the CBS project.
This piece of information was revealed by John Ross Bowie in an unearthed blog post from 2012. In the entry, the actor shared that before landing the role of Barry Kripke — Sheldon’s nemesis at CalTech, he originally auditioned to play Leonard — a role which Galecki eventually chose for himself. As he recalled his early days trying for The Big Bang Theory, Bowie also revealed that Sussman auditioned to play Sheldon saying that in an alternate reality, they would be playing the iconic duo of Leonard and Sheldon. Unfortunately, while Bowie shared additional context as to what went down while trying for a role for The Big Bang Theory, but other than Sussman also testing for Sheldon, he didn’t reveal anything more. Meanwhile, Sussman has never commented on his experience.
Given the scarcity of information regarding Sussman’s audition, it’s curious if he read before or after Parsons came in and auditioned. Chuck Lorre has previously revealed that Parsons blew them away when he read for the socially-inept genius, that he thought it was too good to be true so he asked him to do another reading just to be sure. Looking back at The Big Bang Theory‘s 12 seasons, it’s difficult to argue with their decision to cast Parsons as the character. This is reinforced by multiple acting nods for the actor. That being said, it’s interesting to ponder on the possibility of Sussman playing the part. For what it’s worth, he did a good job depicting Stuart with all his own quirks and vulnerabilities.
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