Grab your tissues: Here's how Woody Harrelson got cast on Cheers
Harrelson instantly proved his talent was nothing to sneeze at.
When Woody Boyd first arrives on Cheers, viewers learn he's come from Hanover, Indiana, arriving at the bar to meet his pen pal Coach. In reality, Woody Harrelson actually did live in Hanover, attending Hanover College and graduating in 1983 with a dual degree in English and theater. That's about all we knew about Harrelson's path to the hit TV show until a recent interview added a little more color to the story.
As Harrelson told Cinema Blend, he had little to no interest in acting on TV when on a whim, he decided to read for a Cheers casting director. He says he knew that they'd basically already settled on someone else for the part, and his plan was to head back to New York and think nothing of it. As we all know, the actual story ends very differently. The reason why will likely have you grabbing for your tissues. One stuffy nose changed everything.
"I was really carefree because I knew I was going back to New York, and they'd pretty much decided on this one guy, but they were just doing a few more auditions, so I went in and I could tell right away — she was like, 'Aha! Hang on.' She says, 'I want you to come in and do this for the boys,' right?" Harrelson told Cinema Blend. "Well, it turned out she was taking me in to meet the writers. I didn't know this. I'm following behind her, and I needed to blow my nose. I'm going down the hallway, through a door, into where everybody is, and I just happened to be blowing my nose, and then everybody laughed before I said a word. And as [director] Jimmy Burrows said, 'You had the part right then.'"
That part paved the way to Harrelson's celebrity today, including five primetime Emmy Award nominations and one win for his work as Woody Boyd.
Now Harrelson is back on the big screen, where at 24 he assumed he was destined, with War of the Planet of the Apes in theaters now, and an untitled Han Solo Anthology Star Wars film due out in 2018. If Woody Boyd only knew how far he'd launch Harrelson's career, he'd probably say the same thing he said when he first stepped foot on Cheers in season 4, episode 1, "Birth, Death, Love, and Rice": "This is amazing!"