Grey’s Anatomy: Kristin Chenoweth Was a Frontrunner to Play Bailey
We love Kristen Chenoweth for so many roles — among them Glinda in Wicked, April in Glee, and Olive in Pushing Daisies — but who knew until today that she almost played Bailey on Grey's Anatomy!
The revelation comes in an USA Today article about the scarcity of roles for black actresses in Hollywood — particularly good roles — in which Grey's creator Shonda Rhimes gets high marks for giving casting agent Linda Lowy free reign. "When I cast the pilot of Grey's, Shonda didn't give anybody a last name," Linda recalls. "She just said, 'Linda, I want you to cast it the way you see the world.'"
Linda also reveals that she brought in Chandra Wilson and Kristin Chenoweth simultaneously to screen-test for the part of Bailey.
"[Chandra] sees Kristin Chenoweth sitting there and she must have been shaking in her boots, and then [Chandra] got the part. I'm telling you, it was a rip in the universe."
And even though Chandra Wilson won the part — and a SAG Award in 2007 — Linda is quick to point out that Kristin was a talent to be reckoned with: "Kristin Chenoweth is a genius — there's no doubt about that — and would have been great in the part, but, all of the sudden, it's like the waters parted and the world opened up and we saw the possibilities of what we could do if we took it another way," she says.
And we are pleased as punch that Chandra got the role, but we may be hoping that Shonda and Linda can still find a role for Kristin!