Friends without Matthew Perry is simply unimaginable. However, the recently deceased actor had to get rid of a “terrible” sci-fi series before he could be cast in the hit sitcom
Three weeks ago, actor Matthew Perry passed away at the age of 54. Perry was best known for his role as Chandler Bing in the sitcom Friends. The series ran in the 90s and 2000s and developed into a zeitgeist phenomenon that is still a crowd-puller on streaming services today.
The death of Matthew Perry was met with great sadness around the world. Fans remembered the best moments of Chandler Bing, one of the most popular series characters ever
But if fate had made just a slight change of course, Matthew Perry might never have played the series role of a lifetime.
Instead of Friends: Matthew Perry had already secured a role in L.A.X. 2194
In his memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing*, Matthew Perry describes the months that would shape the course of his life: The time when he auditioned for Friends as a young actor – and for several other roles.
According to Slash Film, he landed a role in the pilot for the sci-fi sitcom L.A.X. 2194. The series is set at Los Angeles Airport, but in the year 2194, 200 years in the future. The story should revolve around the airport employees who have to deal with alien luggage, among other things. One of the employees: Matthew Perry
Why the Friends casting almost went wrong
The then 25-year-old actor was firmly booked for L.A.X. 2194. The futuristic costumes were already tailored to him, so he was not allowed to accept any other parts. Then suddenly the script for Friends fluttered in and with it a role that was perfect for Perry: Chandler Bing. “It wasn’t that I thought I could play ‘Chandler’, I was Chandler,” he writes in his book.
However, Craig Bierko, a friend of Perry’s, was initially given the role. Bierko turned down the part, much to Perry’s surprise and delight.
A little time passed and the door to Friends opened again. Perry was allowed to audition after all. Because: L.A.X. 2194 simply found no takers. The devastating verdict of Fox producer Dan McDermott at the time was: “She’s terrible.” L.A.X. 2194 was history and Matthew Perry was free. Free to audition for Chandler Bing after all.
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Perry had become so infatuated with the part in the meantime that he could speak the lines by heart, he writes in his memoirs: “Of course, I did it.” And so, despite some resistance, fate fell into place: the true friends found each other and made TV history.