- Danielle Fishel originally lost the role of Topanga on “Boy Meets World.”
- Fishel re-auditoned against “Full House” star Marla Sokoloff after the first actress didn’t pan out.
- She said she thought she lost the role again and “burst into tears” as soon as she left.
Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga’s (Danielle Fishel) relationship on the TGIF sitcom “Boy Meets World” defined couple goals for millennials growing up in the ’90s. But Fishel revealed that she wasn’t the original Topanga and came close to losing the role a second time to “Full House” star Marla Sokoloff.
Fishel told the story on Monday’s episode of the rewatch podcast “Pod Meets World,” which she cohosts with her friends and former castmates Will Friedle and Rider Strongwho played Cory’s brother Eric and Cory’s best friend Shawn on the show, respectively.
Around the 13-minute mark of the podcast, Fishel explained that when she first auditioned for the role of Cory’s childhood sweetheart Topanga, she didn’t even get called back to read a second time. “I had zero idea what acting was,” she said. She noted that she was very young and her previous parts were small and didn’t require her to pretend to have a different personality than she naturally had.
She landed a smaller part on the show as a classmate of Cory’s named Barbara, who the podcast hosts dubbed “fish girl” because a presentation the character did for Mr. Feeny (William Daniels) on her first episode involved a fish carcass.
But podcast guest David Trainer, who was the episode’s director and in charge on set at the time because showrunner Michael Jacobs observed Shabbat, said the original Topanga actor’s performance was “a disaster,” so she was fired.
Trainer had to find another Topanga quickly but knew that between either Sokoloff or Fishel, the right actress to play the character was already on set. “She’s here, I’ve seen her,” he recalled telling producers who were making decisions in Jacobs’ absence, at about the 17:45 mark of the conversation. From there, the team decided to do a last-minute emergency re-audition of both Sokoloff and Fishel.
Fishel remembered feeling “stressed” as she waited outside the audition room with her mom and heard talking and laughing going on during Sokoloff’s audition. As for her audition, Fishel said at about the 20:05 mark, “I walked in and I did the scene and then I was done.” She said no one walked out behind her and asked for her contact information, describing the quiet in the air as “crickets.”
Fishel said that when she left the building she “burst into tears” while walking to the car with her mom, thinking she’d bombed her second chance. She called her dad on the family’s car phone sobbing and was trying to explain what had happened when the casting director called her dad on the other line to explain Fishel had get the role of Topanga.
When her very confused father came back on the line to tell her she’d gotten the part, “I just screamed,” Fishel said on the podcast.
Fishel went on to play Topanga for all seven seasons of “Boy Meets World.Sokoloff is best known for playing Stephanie Tanner’s (Jodie Sweetin) frenemy Gia Mahan on “Full House.”
“I get chills thinking about it. I will remember it for the rest of my life,” Fishel said of the moment she learned she’d be Topanga and screamed with her mom in the car. “It changed everything.”
New episodes of “Pod Meets World” are released on Mondays and Thursdays.