From Chandler’s Cadence to Addiction Issues: 8 Revelations From Matthew Perry’s Memoir

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In Matthew Perry’s new memoir, Friends, lovers and the big terrible thing, the author and actor spends most of the 250 pages discussing The Big Terrible Thing. For the first time, he chronicles his addiction in great detail; Perry’s struggles with alcohol and painkillers have been known to the public for decades, but the book reveals just how close he came to the edge and how often.

Most of those revelations have made headlines in the days and weeks leading up to the memoir’s release on October 28, even during the height of his addiction (and during many of the Friends years) was taking 55 Vicodin pills a day; that she was in a coma several years ago and has had dozens of surgeries to repair her ruptured colon; and that your Friends co-stars, especially Jennifer Aniston, continued to reach out to him and offer help after the show’s end (Lisa Kudrow writes the foreword to the book).

But Perry also spends time in the book reflecting on his remarkable acting career. It is not a Hollywood tale in the traditional sense (most narration exhausted with his stories about continually coming back from the brink), but offers very specific trivia that even the most die-hard of Friends fan would not know. Here are some key revelations from Friends, lovers and the big terrible thing.

was supposed to be in don’t look up

While Netflix’s climate apocalypse satire was in development, Perry met with Adam McKay, resulting in being offered a role. He was going to play a Republican journalist, in a small role that required several scenes opposite Meryl Streep (who played a comically narcissistic American president). Perry was supposed to be headed to another rehab stint, this time in Switzerland, much further afield than his previous stays, and had recently broken eight ribs while receiving CPR. He was taking 1,800 milligrams of hydrocodone, but flew to Boston to film. He worked on a group scene with Jonah Hill that never made it to the screen and had to leave the set before working with Streep due to her injuries. “It was heartbreaking,” he writes. “But he was in too much pain.”

Chandler’s speaking style began at the audition.

Perry says that when he auditioned for the role of Chandler, the last character to be cast, in front of Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman, “broke all the rules.” For starters, she chose not to carry the physical pages of the script with her, which is standard practice that acknowledges to the writer that the script is a work in progress. She also “read the words in an unexpected way, with emphasis that no one else had.” She got laughs where none of the actors under consideration laughed, and the role was hers. In later years, he would end up begging the producers to let him drop Chandler’s verbal tic during the later seasons. “That particular cadence, could be any more annoying? — I had been so exhausted that if I had to put the wrong emphasis in the wrong place one more time, I thought I would explode, ”he writes.

Courteney Cox set the collegiate tone in the Friends establish

When the sitcom began filming, Cox was easily the most famous of the bunch, thanks to her roles in Ace Ventura Y Family ties. But on the day the six co-stars first met on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles, Cox said over lunch, “There are no stars here. This is an ensemble show. We’re all supposed to be friends. As Perry explains, she had seen a similar dynamic during a guest spot on Seinfeld – something to which he attributes the beginning of the eventual inseparability of the group.

Perry’s courtship with Julia Roberts began with a fax about quantum physics

In the second season, NBC was planning a big post-Super Bowl episode of Friendsand Julia Roberts agreed to guest star: Yes she could be a part of Chandler’s story. Marta Kauffman relayed this to Perry, along with the suggestion that she send him flowers. She did, along with a card that said, “The only thing more exciting than the prospect of you doing the show is that I finally have an excuse to send you flowers.” She replied, by fax, that she would only agree to the program if he “properly explained quantum physics to her.” And so her flirting by fax was born. She (she found an article on wave-particle duality and the uncertainty principle to go through her path.)

Friends almost broke the fourth wall in season eight

During Sean Penn’s two-episode guest run, Perry released a final scene for the Halloween episode that began with him backstage in the infamous pink bunny costume. “Sean walks by and I’m like, ‘Sean, can I talk to you for a second?'” he writes. “’I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I think you’re a good person to talk about this.’ I’m smoking as I say this, and as I stub my cigarette out with my huge rabbit’s foot, I say, ‘I’ve been looking to transition into dramatic work.’ Sean Penn looks me up and down for about five heartbeats and just says, ‘Good luck.’ They rehearsed the part at table reading, but ultimately the scene never made it to air: Friends he had a hard and fast rule to never break the fourth wall.

David Schwimmer suggested a group contract negotiation

Friends it made many headlines in its final season for its collective million-dollar-per-episode paydays. But, according to the memoir, the collective bargaining on the set began thanks to a suggestion from Schwimmer in the first season. Perry writes that the actor, who played Ross in Friends — and was the breakout star of the show in those early episodes (he was also the first to shoot a commercial, get his own movie, and buy his own house) — walked into Perry’s dressing room and suggested they renegotiate their contracts as a team, and they insist where everyone is paid the same amount. “It was a decision that turned out to be extremely lucrative down the road,” says Perry. “David had certainly been in a position to go for the most money, and he didn’t. … He gave us a tremendous amount of power. By season eight, we were making a million dollars an episode; by season 10, we were doing even more.”

Perry never filmed Friends while high

The actor is raw and honest about the many times he used, but maintains that he never did while on set. “I was never high while working,” he writes. “I loved those people, I always wanted to step up for them, and I was the second baseman for the New York Yankees.” However, he does open up about the many times he worked while hungover. At one point during the show’s run, Jennifer Aniston walked into her trailer to tell her that the cast knew she had been drinking because they could smell it. She also took limos to the set when she was too hungover to drive, which she says earned her some “doubtful” looks: “Everyone was asking me if I was okay, but no one wanted to stop the Friends train because it was a great source of money.”

season nine of Friends was the only time Perry was completely sober

The actor filmed the season seven finale, which featured Chandler and Monica’s wedding, while living in a Malibu rehab facility. By the summer after season eight, he was clean again, and Perry says he stayed that way throughout season nine, which he describes as the most successful on the show; it was also the only season for which he was nominated. an Emmy for best actor. “What did I do differently that season? Listen. I did not stand there and wait for my turn to speak,” he writes. (While promoting his book recently, Perry said the New York Times he had been clean for 18 months, meaning he was drug and alcohol free when the Friends reunion aired in May 2021. “I’ve probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober,” he estimated.)


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