Prior to the launch of the HBO Max streaming service, Friends fans expressed excitement about the upcoming reunion special featuring the original cast of the beloved sitcom. Production came to a halt due to the COVID-19, but now there is a major update. Lisa Kudrow, the actress who portrayed Phoebe Buffay, said that she has already filmed something for the upcoming special.
Kudrow recently appeared on Rob Lowe's Literally! podcast. She revealed that the project is underway and that shooting could begin in "early, early spring," which fit with previous comments by Matthew Perry. "I pre-shot something for it already, so we’re definitely doing it," she said during the podcast. She added that the special is "us getting together which doesn’t happen a lot and has never happened in front of other people since 2004, when we stopped."
Kudrow also revealed that the cast will visit the coffee house scene, as well as other sets that "we have not been in." The upcoming Friends special will not be an actual episode that features the actors in their respective roles. Instead, it will reportedly be similar to the recent Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special where the cast members reminisced about the popular series, the various characters and memorable scenes.
According to Deadline, the unscripted HBO Max special will feature Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc. The group will return to the comedy's original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in California. Ben Winston is will direct the reunion while the six actors will executive produce. Friends creators Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane will also serve as executive producers.
"Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together," HBO Max Chief Content Officer Kevin Reilly said in a statement in February when WarnerMedia officially confirmed the reunion special. "I became aware of Friends when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation. It taps into an era when friends -- and audiences -- gathered together in real-time and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans."
The original plan was to launch the reunion special alongside HBO Max on May 27. This date was pushed back due to the pandemic. There were updated plans to film the special later in the summer, but these also fell through. According to Kudrow, the special is still on despite the multiple delays.