HBO Max officially launched in late May, which means all 10 seasons of Friends are finally available to stream again [clap clap clap clap]! The bad news is that the long-awaited cast reunion which was originally scheduled to be available on launch day was not filmed in time to arrive with WarnerMedia’s new streaming service, due to a production halt amid the coronavirus pandemic. But there’s no need to mope behind Joey’s fake rain window just yet; the Friends reunion is so not DOA.
HBO Max is still planning to bring all six of Central Perk’s finest — that is, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc – together again on-screen for the first time since the show ended in 2004. While a new production date has not been set, and we certainly don’t know when it’ll premiere, here’s what we do know about the Friends cast reunion special so far.
The one with the new production schedule. HBO Max has not announced a new premiere date at this time, but David Schwimmer said in a July interview with AP Entertainment that “the hope is to shoot it in August.” However, the actor was quick to add that it will only happen “when it’s safe.” His words echo those of WarnerMedia exec Bob Greenblatt, who revealed in May that he was hopeful that the Friends reunion might be filmed by the end of the summer “if the stars align.” He told Variety that he does not want the special to turn into another of the increasingly common virtual reunions we’ve seen because, “There’s a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together and we didn’t want to just suddenly do it on a web call.” Courteney Cox previously said in a video interview with Jimmy Kimmel that the Friends reunion was originally supposed to film in mid-March.
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) July 6, 2020
The one with the familiar setting. Barring any major changes to the format, the Friends reunion special will be filmed at the show’s original soundstage, which is Stage 24 on the Warner Bros. lot. It’s unknown which props may or may not come into use for the special, but we are sure hoping to see Central Perk or Monica’s place back in action for the event.
The one with the other people you know. In addition to headlining the Friends reunion, the six stars will also serve as executive producers, alongside original series bosses Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane. Ben Winston will direct the special, and and Emma Conway and James Longman are also co-executive producers.
The one where they’re finally together again on-screen. Although the entire cast of Friends did recently come together in a more personal setting — a photo of which launched Aniston’s already-storied Instagram presence — the reunion special will mark the first time that all six stars will be together in front of studio cameras since the finale. The Friends have come awfully close to a full-on reunion in the past; everyone except Perry showed up for the 2016 tribute to James Burrows, who directed the pilot and several other episodes and helped shape the show forever more. They’ve also routinely appeared on each other’s non-Friends TV projects, and a few have even recreated Friends scenes for talk shows, like Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel Live. However, the Friends cast reunion for HBO Max will still be the first true televised reunion of the entire Apartment 20 crew.
The one where the cast is as stoked as you are. Cox started rewatching Friends just to prepare for the reunion because she’s terrible at Friends trivia, and LeBlanc likened the reunion to “[getting] the band back together without the instruments.” Meanwhile, Lisa Kudrow is just as antsy to get to work on it as anyone, telling ET Online, “The six of us haven’t been in a room together in front of people in 25 years and only once a few years ago, privately for dinner. .. I can only imagine. It’s gonna be fun. I mean, it’ll be really fun.” It’s actually been closer 15 years since the cast was all together as the show ended in 2004, but Kudrow reminds us that it was almost three decades ago that we met the Apartment 20 crew.
HBO Max launched on Wednesday, May 27.
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