On September 22, 1994, NBC introduced us to six actors who would go onto become six of the most recognisable faces in TV history. Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer were relatively unknown stars when they were introduced to us as relatable 20-somethings gossiping over coffee in Central Perk in New York. The show ran for 10 seasons and they became superstars. As Friends sees in its 20th anniversary we look at 20 fun facts that you didn’t know about the show and the characters…
1.) While the show focused on the relationship of Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), the original love interests were meant to be Joey (Matt Le Blanc) and Monica (Courtney Cox).
2.) Courtney Cox was asked to audition for Rachel, however after reading the script she requested the role of Monica as she loved her strong character.
3.) Kathy Griffin and Jane Lynch both auditioned for the role of Phoebe. They actually became friends after meeting at the audition.
4.) Jon Favreau and Jon Cryer were considered for the role of Chandler before Matthew Perry, who nearly missed out on the role. Perry had also auditioned for LAX 2194 about baggage handlers at LAX who sorted aliens’ luggage. Thankfully, the pilot wasn’t picked up, so Perry took the Friends gig.
5.) The role of Ross was written with David Schwimmer in mind, as such he was the first friend to be cast in the show. However, Eric McCormack, Will of Will & Grace, auditioned “two or three times” for Ross.
6.) Joey and Chandler’s large white dog statue actually belonged to Jennifer Aniston, it was a congratulations gift from a friends when she got the part in the sitcom.
7.) Lisa Kudrow was afraid of the duck.
8.) The show was originally going to be called Insomnia Cafe or Six Of One.
9.) The show’s producers David Crane and Marta Kauffman also wrote the song I’ll Be There For You, which was the theme tune sung by The Rembrandts.
10.) Lisa Kudrow was originally cast as Roz in Frasier, but the casting directors changed their minds and fired her before the show aired. Lisa went on to say it was one of the best things that has ever happened to her as it allowed her to take the role of Phoebe.
11.) They were the first TV cast to negotiate as a group. In the first season they received US$22,00 per episode. By 1997 they earned an equal salary of US$100,00 per episode. The New York Times wrote of their pact: “Stars of hit shows often threaten to boycott their series in pursuit of higher salaries. What is unusual is this cast’s effort to use solidarity as leverage.”
By the final season they were earning US$1 million per episode!
12.) Bruce Willis starred in the show after losing a bet with Matthew Perry, his The Whole Nine Yards co-star. Willis donated his fee to charity.
13.) All of the main characters have kissed except Monica and Phoebe.
14.) At one point or another they have all lived in Monica and Joey’s apartments.
15.) The actor James Michael Tyler was the only extra who knew how to operate an espresso machine, so he went on to play Gunther.
16.) Lisa Kudrow first played her character Urusal Buffay (twin to Phoebe) in Mad About You. The producers decided to make Phoebe a twin to create a crossover between the shows.
17.) Ross’s pet monkey Marcel was actually played by two monkeys: Monkey and Katie. He was written out in season two as it became too time consuming to shoot scenes with a monkey.
18.) After filming the last series Jennifer Aniston and her then-husband Brad Pitt hosted a dinner party at their home and served wine that producer Kevin Bright had saved from the first series.
19.) At the last series each cast member was given a keepsake – a piece of sidewalk from outside Central Perk.
20.) Contrary to belief, the opening credits were filmed in Warner Bros Studios and nor Gramercy or Central Park.
SOME OF OUR BEST BITS:
The One With The Routine
The One Where Phoebe Runs
The One Where Ross Is An Eight
The One Where Fat Monica Dances
The One With Brad Pitt