Before her short-lived “Roseanne” revival was picked up to series, Roseanne Barr was set to star in a different comedy series, “SMILF.”
Barr was first offered a co-starring part in the Showtime series before the role eventually went to Rosie O’Donnell, creator and star Frankie Shaw revealed on Sunday.
“We did offer Tutu to Roseanne, and she was going to do it and then she broke her knee and had surgery,” Shaw said at a FYC event for the show, according to Variety.
In the series, which premiered in November, Tutu is the stubborn, bipolar mother of Shaw’s character Bridgette. As a longtime fan of Barr’s, Shaw had the actress in mind when it came to casting, but the accident forced her to scramble to find a replacement at the last minute.
“I was like, ‘You’re my hero, will you play my mom?'” Shaw said, recalling her encounter with Barr. “And she said yes and I went to Boston and then I got this call that she had fallen in a park and had like 45 stitches and wasn’t allowed to travel. I sent her this package and I even wrote the character would be in a scooter. I was like, ‘She’ll be in a scooter, we’ll just scoot you around you won’t even have to walk.’ And her doctor said she can’t fly.”
In hindsight, the short-notice recasting may have worked out in Shaw’s favor now that Barr’s outspoken Twitter presence has had some show-killing consequences.
Last week, ABC swiftly axed “Roseanne” after Barr suggested in a racially-tinted tweet that former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett is a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the “Planet of the Apes.” In the announcement to cancel the highly rated sitcom, the network called her tweet “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”