The special of Friends from HBO titled The Reunion it is not designed to reinvent television. It’s a gathering of old friends who share old-time battles with guest stars like Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. But, despite these appearances, the best moments are those that have to do with Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer, the unforeseen events in the filming, how they experienced becoming world stars overnight and a mini-dose of gravy from Aniston and Schwimmer, the legendary Rachel and Ross. Here are the nine anecdotes that have caught our attention.
The cast that was almost not
In the field of television, it is striking how the creators chose the actors. It can be said that there is an alternate universe where Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox and David Schwimmer did not get the parts and the scripts were not developed as we know them now. For example, Crane and Kauffman had thought of Schwimmer for the role of Ross but he had gone to Chicago to work in the theater world, tired of the greed of Hollywood. They had to insist.
In LeBlanc’s case, until the last minute he competed with another actor, Louis Mandylor, who ended up playing Joey’s double in one episode. Matthew Perry was hired even though he had shot another pilot episode that could receive the green light, LAX2194. Luckily, they knew a person who had been on the set and warned them that it was such a dire series that they would surely have him free to Friends. And finally Jennifer Aniston was actually working on a sitcom called Muddling Through.
The actress asked the producers to release her from her contract to work on Friends and they refused. Luckily for her, poor audiences led to the cancellation of the series, she did not exceed ten episodes and was able to sign as Rachel. In La Vanguardia we had already told, in fact, that this was also possible because the programmer of the NBC channel looked for a way to sink the series.
Matt LeBlanc dislocated his shoulder on set
Creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane occasionally had to do bottle episodes. This is what those episodes made with few resources are called in the industry: without new sets, with few actors, extras and equipment. And, when they wrote The One Where No One’s Ready (the second episode of the third season), in which the protagonists of Friends were not ready to go to a Ross gala, everything had been conceived to save and spend the money saved in other episodes. What they couldn’t plan is that Matt LeBlanc would dislocate his arm while throwing himself on the couch.
This prevented them from finishing filming the episode that day because they had envisioned it as a play, shooting it all often. LeBlanc left the set in a sneaky way so the audience wouldn’t notice and they had to end the episode at another time. This is why, in another episode shot around this time, Chandler heard Joey jumping on the bed and injuring himself: that is how he was justified in filming the scenes with his arm immobilized in The one with the jam, which would end up being the third episode of the third season.
Matthew Perry’s anxiety
In a special where only the anecdotes in a positive key stand out, a pearl of sincerity from Matthew Perry draws attention. He confesses that when he felt that a joke in the script was not working very well with the audience they had on set, his world sank. “I had the feeling that I was going to die if they did not laugh. And it is not healthy. But sometimes I would say a phrase and they would not laugh and I would start to sweat and have seizures,” he confessed. And this happened every night. “You never told us,” replied a surprised Lisa Kudrow.
It is a glimpse of the dark side of fame and that takes on special relevance with Matthew Perry: he is the actor who suffered addictions during the filming of the series and whose weight changes during treatments alerted the audience. In interviews, he has even explained that he doesn’t even remember shooting entire seasons of Friends.
Courteney Cox chops
The actress who played Monica had her chops on set as revealed by Matt LeBlanc. “I don’t remember what episode it was but you had been fighting all week with a speech that you had to learn. And you wrote it down at the table. I didn’t know you were doing that, I asked you and you told me it was none of my business. And then, When you weren’t looking, I erased it before shooting and you got really mad at me. “
“I hid so much dialogue between these apples,” Cox later recalled over the fruit bowl on Monica and Rachel’s flat table.
The real chemistry between Rachel and Ross
In a special where the sauce was the least of it (and where the dirty laundry was not removed), Aniston and Schwimmer had the detail to reveal that during the first season they were crazy for each other. “I had a crush on Jenny,” explains Schwimmer, to which Aniston replies that she did too. “We were both very fond of each other but we were like two ships that crossed because one of us was always in a relationship. And we never crossed this limit,” explains the actor who played Ross.
“It’s going to be a bitch that the first time we kiss is on free-to-air television,” Aniston once told him. The tension was palpable but they never did anything about it, although the rest of the colleagues were aware of the flirtation that took place on the set. The fact that they did not consummate the relationship was also a salvation for Friends: in this way the filming was not rarefied with the potential problems that an idyll between actors can have.
Chandler and Monica’s improvisation
At first, the relationship between Chandler and Monica had to be a simple trifle, according to David Crane: “The original plan is that they would go to bed in London, keep it short, and then the two of them said: ‘What the hell? we have done!?””. But the public’s reaction changed their minds: They were so euphoric on the shoot in London that they took advantage of the break between seasons to change the plan. And so Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry ended up being the most stable couple in all of Friends in front of the cameras.
The reason for Janice’s laugh
One of the most endearing appearances of the special is that of Maggie Wheeler, the actress who played Janice, Chandler’s ex. Not only did he show that he created a whole character when he was offered the role (the voice change) but he explained that his characteristic laugh was not in the script. But when he encountered a graceful Matthew Perry as Chandler, he realized that he “couldn’t help but laugh” while filming the scenes. So Janice’s way of laughing was invented so she could camouflage her genuine urge to laugh while filming.
A friendship that lasts
When you are part of the cultural and social conversation like them, when suddenly you are absolutely everything, a special bond is created between the people who live that experience. They explain it in The ReunionNot even lifelong friends or families can understand what that change entails. But the best? The anecdotes that actors drop regarding their friendship today.
While acknowledging that they do not see each other every day and that full sextet encounters are not common, Lisa Kudrow defined their friendship today: “Every time you write and call someone, they pick up the phone. They are there.” Later Matthew Perry confirms it: “If any of us meet at a party, it’s over talking to the rest: we spend the rest of the night talking only to each other.” There are bonds that are not broken even with lives as different as those led by these six.
The last day of shooting
And the icing on the cake is to finish the special with the images of the actors and creators hugging after filming the last scene of the last season. With the perspective that the audience and the actors have today, that moment is twice as significant: because one realizes to what extent the team was crying because they were aware that not only a stage was passing but that the key moment was over of their lives and, in addition, they would stop having daily contact with the people with whom they had lived. It’s a hit.
And, as Cox advises in a moment of Friends: The Reunion, a reunion like this will never happen again. Meetings are reserved for private meetings.
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The nine curiosities and key anecdotes of the reunion