IMAGE: STILL FROM FRIENDS
The FRIENDS Reunion episode is all about revisiting the set of iconic set and getting a peek into its interesting BTS stories. Well, apart from the cast, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston, the makers of the show also revealed a few lesser-known facts about it. They revealed how the team got these 6 were roped in. Interestingly, an entire bit in the special episode was dedicated to the casting process of the show where the makers recalled auditioning "zillions" of actors to finalise the cast.
Writer David Crane said, "there were so many scenarios where it wasn't going to be these six people, it would have been a different show". Recalling Schwimmer's casting, Crane said, "We had seen David for another role of a pilot, we've done the year before." While Marta Kauffman added, "his hangdog expression stuck with us, so when, we started doing Ross that was on our mind. Further, Crane revealed that by the time they picked David, the actor had quit television after his "miserable experience".
Crane further explained and says, "he'd moved back to Chicago" to do theatre. "We had to beg him and besieged him", said Crane while Kauffman recalled sending a gift basket to convince David. Crane added that they promised David that this show will be different from his past experiences, and that's how he came on board.
Crane informed the audience that when they were finding Phobe, his husband was writing and producing another show Mad About You. And, from that show, they got their Phoebe. On the other hand, Kauffman says, "Lisa was someone who came in and nailed the audition". She also praised Lisa for "elevating" the character.
While the producers were on a roll casting the first two of their main six, for net two and half months, they cast no one. "Matt Le Blanc If I remember correctly had like $11 in his pocket", said Kauffman while talking about Matt's casting. She revealed that while a lot of good-looking actors came in, none of them made the character as funny as they envisioned. Crane added, "Matt came in and suddenly on him, the lines felt funny".
As the discussion progressed further, Kauffman revealed that they saw Rachel in Courtney, however, the actor explained to them how she did not think she was a Rachel and that she herself was more of a Monica. "Whatever Courtney brought to it made Monica richer than what we had originally intended", concluded Crane.
Crane then remembered looking for Chandler while assuming that it will be easy, but it was not. Though they finalised Matthew, there was a problem as the actor had already signed another sitcom, which was set decades in the future. "And then someone from Warner Brothers actually was at the taping of 2194 and thought this show is never going, put him in FRIENDS will be okay". While praising Matthew, Crane added that he spins the line and adds his comedy skills to it.
Rachel was the last part the makers cast. Giving a description of the character, Crane said, "she could be a really unlikeable character" as she was "incredibly selfish". However, the makers faced a similar problem as with Matthew as Jennifer had signed another show. Finally, the makers took a "big risk" and decided to share Jennifer with the other show and see which will "win".
The special unscripted episode of the popular NBC sitcom premiered worldwide on May 27 on various streaming platforms; HBO Max for the US and ZEE5 for the Indian audience. The episode is directed by Ben Winston. The episode was scheduled to release in 2020, however, due to the pandemic, the filming of it completed in early 2021.
IMAGE: STILL FROM FRIENDS REUNION EPISODE
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