Lisa Kudrow Just Revealed All The "Friends" Drama That Happened Behind The Scenes After The Reunion Was Shut Down

    "We shut down the Friends reunion, which was painful. I feel bad for everyone who was working and now is not working. That's the part that makes me really nervous."

    BuzzFeed News has reporters across five continents bringing you trustworthy stories about the impact of the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today.

    Lisa Kudrow has opened up about the drama that was going on behind the scenes after the Friends reunion was shutdown because of the coronavirus.

    The cast of "Friends" pose for a picture during filming.
    Warner Bros. Television / Getty Images

    In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Lisa called the situation "painful" as she explained the shutdown had left a whole a bunch of people with no work.

    Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, and Lisa Kudrow pose for a picture on the red carpet.
    Gregg Deguire / Getty Images

    "We shut down the Friends reunion, which was painful," Lisa, who plays Phoebe, said. "I feel bad for everyone who was working and now is not working. That's the part that makes me really nervous."

    But Lisa revealed that she was already nervous about the virus before the stay-at-home order had even been announced. In fact, she was so concerned that she called the executive producer, Ben Winston, to ask if there were "other versions" of the reunion as a backup plan.

    Lisa poses for a picture on the red carpet.
    David Livingston / Getty Images

    The HBO Max special was supposed to be a one-off episode that would be filmed on the show's original Burbank set in front of a live studio audience.

    "I called Ben Winston and asked if he had any contingencies that he was thinking about — like, were there other versions of this," Lisa explained. "He was like, 'No, it's going to be fine!' And then everything started shutting down, one by one."

    In a later phone call, everybody agreed that production should be halted and new dates were tentatively thrown into the ring. However, with the coronavirus pandemic spreading across the world and lockdowns still enforced in many countries, the reunion episode still remains uncertain.

    "It sounds like people are hoping and hedging on August or September," Lisa said. "But then it just feels like everyone is going to be shooting things as much as possible in those two months and there might be another wave."

    The cast of "Friends" pose for a picture while filming the first episode.
    Getty Images

    When asked if there had been discussions on doing the reunion remotely so that the show could still go ahead, Lisa responded that it would ruin the entire premise and take away part of the excitement.

    The cast of "Friends" sitting on-set during a 2004 interview.
    Getty Images

    She said: "That's the whole point! We haven't all been in the same room in front of people — I mean, we have privately once many years ago but that's it. The whole point of this is to be in the same room. That hasn't changed."

    Bob Greenblatt, the WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chair, appeared to share Lisa's thoughts, revealing in an interview last week that the special would likely be postponed until the end of summer so it could go ahead with a live studio audience.

    The cast filming an episode of "Friends"
    Getty Images

    "We do think there's a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together," Bob told Variety. "We didn’t want to just suddenly do it on a web call with, you know, six squares and people shooting from their kitchens and bedrooms."

    The question of when exactly production can be resumed remains unclear. However, Lisa said she remained hopeful that when things are finally able to move forward, there will be adequate testing and measures in place to keep the cast and crew safe.

    The cast of "Friends" pose for a picture alongside chat show host, Conan O'Brien.
    Getty Images

    "I haven't heard anything officially, but hopefully there will be tests available so everyone has to be tested for the virus and antibodies before being able to show up for work," she said. "Everyone who checks out, so to speak, can sit next to each other on the couch."

    When questioned about whether the reunion would lead to something that was more than a one-episode special, Lisa actually revealed that there had already been an idea that she and Courteney Cox had come up with.

    Interestingly, Courteney admitted in a recent interview that she'd been using her free time in lockdown to rewatch Friends, so what better way for the show to continue than for us to be able to watch it with her!

    NBC

    You can read Lisa's full Hollywood Reporter interview here, and don't forget to catch up on the latest coronavirus reporting from BuzzFeed News.

    Ben Henry is a celebrity reporter for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ben Henry at ben.henry@buzzfeed.com.

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here