Friends Reunion Big Cast Moment Was Almost Ruined Before Filming

Friends Reunion Big Cast Moment Was Almost Ruined Before Filming

Friends reunion director, Ben Winston, says a vital moment of the special, in which the cast reunites on-camera, was almost ruined before filming.
An essential moment planned during the filming of the Friends reunion was almost ruined before. The recent reunion of the popular sitcom arrived on HBO Max last week, and unlike other reboot series where shows updates and new storylines provide characters, the Friends reunion was a one-time special that was unscripted and in the moment, with all six originals cast members reuniting. The special was directed by Ben Winston with James Corden hosting the reunion and interviewing the various people behind the show.

Created by David Crane, Marta Kauffman, and Kevin S. Bright, Friends premiered in 1994 on NBC and ran for ten seasons, exploring the lives of six young friends living in New York City. The series quickly became an instant phenomenon and one of the most-watched television shows to this day, with new generations discovering it on Netflix and then HBO Max. Despite all of the main cast having done many various projects since Friends, they all have remained tied to their roles in the show that they have played for a decade. The reunion was a way for the cast to reminisce over the comedy’s ten-year run and see each other as a whole since the end of the show.


In an interview with The Sunday Times, Winston stated that an important moment that he planned for the reunion almost did not happen. Winston is an Emmy winner and a frequent collaborator of Corden’s programs including, The Late Late Show with James Corden and The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special. He has also collaborated with many music artists and has co-produced live specials such as the Grammy Awards and the Tony Awards. For the Friends reunion special, Winston had a plan for the cast to reunite on-camera so he could capture their authentic reactions, but it almost got ruined due to all their trailers being next to each other. Luckily, Winston was able to find a way, going on to comment:
We built tents around each of their doorways. And I texted the six of them and said, ‘Look, I know you want to see each other but I’m begging you: please stay in your own dressing room until you’re called to the stage. I really want to catch that moment. They mocked me for wanting that moment. But they did what I asked. And you do get the feeling that they haven’t seen each other for ages. And it’s a really beautiful moment. I’ve never seen a bond like these six have.
The reunion special had long been in anticipation up until its premiere and has been delayed multiple times due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so there must have been increased pressure and importance to get it right, specifically the moment when all the cast reunited again. Winston knew that having that pure moment of all six cast members being together since the finale of the series in 2004 would give the fans a great deal of nostalgia.
While it may have been a tiny moment in a large reunion special, it does make a huge difference for not only the viewers but for the cast as well, to have that authenticity to set the tone for the rest of the reunion. Winston’s persistence on that particular brief moment with the cast is evidence of the impact Friends has had on many different kinds of people and its indelible mark on television history.

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