Tony Shalhoub was Hesitant to Take the Role of Monk

By: H&I Staff     Posted: July 9, 2021, 12:54PM

"I wasn't really sure how to make it work," said Tony Shalhoub about approaching his now-iconic role of Adrian Monk.

Originally pitched and picked up by ABC in 1998, Monk underwent a long casting process with its series lead role. Still unable to find the right Adrian Monk following 2 years of searching, ABC dropped the series only for it to be picked up again by USA Network in 2000. After another year of casting calls, the showrunners finally found their quirky detective in Tony Shalhoub.

Shalhoub had just finished wrapping up 8 seasons of the sitcom Wings and was itching to mix more drama with his comedy. The role of Adrian Monk provided exactly what he was looking for. However, he didn’t know if the part of a detective with OCD was the right match for him. That was until Shalhoub’s manager spoke with him.

“I was saying I'm not sure I relate to this character. My manager said 'you're probably more like him than you would admit,'” said Shalhoub about his manager speaking with him.

Hesitant at first to take on a character with so many quirks, Shalhoub realized that he had a lot more in common with Adrian Monk than he originally thought. Reflecting on the part more, Shalhoub finds most of his 'Monk' moments to be when he doesn't want to do something.

"It's been my experience that if I have to do something I don't want to do, I can spend an hour and a half cleaning the kitchen faucet with a toothbrush...someone can fixate on straightening a bookshelf for two hours because there's something they don't want to face."

While many of us have our own phobias and fixated compulsions that we choose to hide, Adrian Monk lets these parts of himself out for the world to see. It's this aspect of the character being so honest and true that would lead Tony Shalhoub to take the part.

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