After seemingly endless delays, the Friends reunion is finally here! Debuting this month on HBO Max, the special will reunite the original cast of the iconic sitcom, finally together after several delays in filming. The main cause of the delay is pretty simple: the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in last year just before the originally planned filming dates. So when did they end up filming after all?
According to TMZ, the reunion was shot in early April, spanning about three days of filming on the Warner Bros. studio lot. The filming apparently took place across indoor and outdoor sets, including some of the iconic sets from the original show. TMZ also reported that a live audience participated in some of the filming, but instead of allowing the general public on set, the audience consisted of pre-screened, COVID-tested union actors who were hired as extras for the shoot.
It’s been a long road to get the Friends reunion to finally happen, with a full year of delays between the original, planned shoot and when the production was ultimately able to get up and running. Deadline reported that the original plan was to film in March 2020, then pushed to May in hopes of being ready for HBO Max’s May 27 launch date, then pushed back again indefinitely as the pandemic stretched on with no clear end in sight and no safe way to film.
“You know what? This has also given us more time to make it even more exciting and more fun than it would have been,” Jennifer Aniston told Deadline after the 2020 postponements. “So I choose to see it as the glass is half-full that it got postponed. Look, we’re not going anywhere. You’re never going to get rid of Friends, sorry. You’re stuck with us for life.”
The reunion will, ironically (or intentionally), arrive exactly one year after its hoped-for previous date, on May 27 of this year. All six of the original stars will be there, although the exact content is still a little bit mysterious. We know they’ll be playing some trivia, revisiting old episodes, and sharing anecdotes about the original series. The special will also feature a ton of guest stars, including David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Elliott Gould, Kit Harington, Larry Hankin, Mindy Kaling, Thomas Lennon, Christina Pickles, Tom Selleck, James Michael Tyler, Maggie Wheeler, Reese Witherspoon, and Malala Yousafzai.