Jennifer Aniston finally broke her silence on the long-awaited Friends reunion special, which was once supposed to help launch the new HBO Max streaming platform. Production on the special has been postponed since March when the coronavirus pandemic shut down all production in Hollywood. Aniston assured fans it is still going to happen, telling Deadline it's "going to be super."
The Morning Show star said the delay has even given the cast "more time to make it even more exciting and more fun than it would have been." She would prefer to see the postponement as a "glass is half-full" situation. " Look, we're not going anywhere," Aniston continued. "You're never going to get rid of Friends, sorry. You're stuck with us for life guys."
There was hope to film the special in May, but it has since been postponed. It was supposed to be available on May 27, when HBO Max launched. Now, there is no new date set for filming, Variety reported Friday. "Unfortunately it’s very sad that we had to move it again," Aniston told Deadline. "It was, 'How do we do this with live audiences?' This is not a safe time. Period. That's the bottom line. It's not a safe time to do it."
David Schwimmer told Jimmy Fallon last month the team hoped to film sometime in August. "The middle of August" was the goal at that time, adding, "we're going to wait and see another week, or two." He said everyone will wait "until it is safe" to film.
The Friends special has been in the works for months and was officially announced in February. It will only be a reunion of cast members reminiscing about their time on the show but is still an expensive project. Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, and Schwimmer will reportedly be paid $3 to $4 million each to appear in the special, which was planned to be filmed at the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank, where the original show was filmed. A source told Variety in April WarnerMedia is not considering using Zoom or other video conferencing services, since the whole point of the special was to give fans a chance to see their favorite stars in the same room again.
"Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together," HBO Max Chief Content Officer Kevin Reilly said in a statement when the special was announced. "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."
Friends originally aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004 for 10 seasons. The show was produced by Warner Bros. Television, but WarnerMedia still had to spend $400 million to secure the streaming rights for the show. All 236 episodes are available to stream only on HBO Max.