Just after it was revealed that the cast of NBC’s beloved '90s sitcom “Friends” would be reuniting for a TV special honoring the show’s director, it looks like the network spoke a little too soon when it said all six actors were confirmed. New reports reveal that one member of the hit show won’t be able to make it to the unofficial reunion.
It was announced at a Television Critics Association press conference this week that all six members of the cast — Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer — would reunite as the highlight to a special two-hour presentation honoring the show’s famed director, James Burrows. However, just days later a representative for Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing for 10 seasons on “Friends,” revealed he won’t be able to leave London in order to join the other five cast members in any kind of roundtable discussion.
“Matthew will not be attending as he is in London in rehearsals for his play, ‘The End of Longing,” spokeswoman Lisa Kasteler said in a statement (via USA Today). “NBC executives were aware of this prior to their [Television Critics Association] announcement. Matthew may tape something for the tribute. In other words, this is not the reunion people have been hoping for.”
While it may seem like either Perry or the executive who originally announced the reunion, Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt, pulled a fast one on the American public, the fact of the matter is that this was always a possibility.
At the time of his announcement, Entertainment Weekly reports that Greenblatt cautioned fans that the only thing he’d confirmed is that all six cast members would participate in the special, but that he was hopeful that the logistics would work out in a way that allowed them to be in the same room together. Unfortunately, it seems that those hopes have been dashed thanks to Perry’s prior commitment to his West End play. According to the BBC, Perry wrote and will star in “The End of Longing,” which is about four middle-aged people who meet in a bar. The play will run from Feb. 2 to May 14 and be directed by Lindsay Posner.
Although Perry’s rep acknowledges that a reunion without all six cast members in the same place isn’t exactly what the fans were hoping for, the harsh truth is that a retrospective on a director’s career isn’t the reunion people wanted either. Since the show aired its last episode in 2004, many of its more diehard fans have been wondering when and if the cast would reunite to see where the characters landed all these years later.
The problem with getting the gang back together for a scripted reunion episode is simply that the cast, writers and producers are scattered to the wind. Rolling Stone reports that in 2014 Cox, who played Monica Geller, told David Letterman that she doesn’t think a reunion is a viable idea at this point, citing the fact that everyone is too busy and live in different locations now.
Kudrow, who played Phoebe Buffay, spoke more candidly when asked about the prospect of returning for a reunion in 2013, saying:
“I wouldn’t even have an interest in seeing what those people are doing 10 years later as parents that have to be responsible. It would be so different that it wouldn’t be ‘Friends’ anymore. Have I talked anybody out of wanting a reunion?”
The special for Burrows is currently scheduled to air in February.