After months of delays, the “Friends” reunion special could be shifting out of second gear.
According to Matthew Perry, one of the original show’s stars, the special is now scheduled to start shooting in March. The news comes after the special was delayed multiple times due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its impact on physical production.
It was originally supposed to film back in March of this year with a live audience, however, those plans were scrapped when the pandemic shut down almost every production across the country. WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt then said in May that the company was hopeful the special would shoot by the end of the summer. But once again those fingers had to be un-crossed.
An individual with knowledge of the special’s production plans stressed that no precise dates have been determined for shooting, but that early 2021 is indeed the target time frame.
In sharing the news, Perry teased that he and the gang “have a busy year coming up.”
Friends reunion being rescheduled for the beginning of March. Looks like we have a busy year coming up. And that's the way I like it!
— matthew perry (@MatthewPerry) November 12, 2020
Perry is being joined in the special by original co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer. The plan is to shoot the special on the original “Friends” soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank.
First announced way back in February, the reunion was supposed to be ready for HBO Max’s launch in May, to accompany all 10 seasons of “Friends” which WarnerMedia won in a massive bidding war with the likes of Netflix. The conglomerate reportedly paid over $400 million for the rights to the series, which ended its run in 2004.
Ben Winston (the “Late, Late Show With James Corden” producer) will direct the special and executive produce alongside “Friends” EPs Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane. Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television and Fulwell 73 Productions are behind the special. Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc, Perry, and Schwimmer are also executive producing, with Emma Conway and James Longman on board as co-executive producers.