In front of the camera, the cast of the hit series "Friends" was inseparable for more than ten seasons. But real friendships were also made behind the scenes. Director James Burrows now reveals in his memoirs how this came about.
Director James Burrows will release his biography Directed by James Burrows on June 7th. In it he tells, among other things, about his work on the hit series "Friends", which was broadcast for ten seasons from 1994 to 2004 on NBC. Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc became megastars through the series - and good friends. Burrows did his part to ensure the chemistry between the actors was right from the start.
"As a director, it is my responsibility to do everything in my power to foster a community within the cast and form a new group of actors, behave as a group and respect one another," Burrows writes in his book, according to an excerpt published by WSJ Magazine. "The first thing I did to make this happen was make sure the cast had every opportunity to become friends in real life." So he asked Les Moonves, then president of Warner Bros. Television, for the company jet and flew to Las Vegas with the still young cast.
Once there, he booked a table in the middle of a restaurant. "I knew the show had a chance to really explode and I said to them, 'This is your last chance for anonymity.' None of them believed me." None of the actors had any money at the time, which is why Burrows slipped them "a few hundred dollars" to be able to play in the gambling metropolis. "They went back to Los Angeles, the show premiered, the anonymity was gone, and each of them gave me back the money I loaned them," the director continues.
According to his own statements, Burrows was also instrumental in the fact that the cast renegotiated their contracts together after the first season. "I advised them to negotiate as a group and stay in step financially. Knowing that there were no supporting characters on the show, it only made sense to me that they would stick together." In the end, each actor received one million US dollars (equivalent to around 932,000 euros) per episode in the last two seasons of the cult series.