Friends director James Burrows revealed he almost replaced actress Helen Baxendale, who played Ross Geller’s (David Schwimmer) second wife Emily. As per the sources of People Burrows in his recent memoir Directed By James Burrows, opened up about the filming of this iconic sitcom which ran from 1995 to 2001.
Friends director said Schwimmer had no one to bounce off
As per the outlet the director wrote, “Schwimmer had no one to bounce off. It was like clapping with one hand.”
Although the British actress was “nice, but not particularly funny” as Jennifer Aniston who played Rachel Green in the series who had an on-again-off-again relationship with Ross.
“In sitcoms and any type of romantic comedy, the funny is just as important as the chemistry,” he continued. “We discovered that any new girlfriend for Ross needed to be as funny as Rachel.”
“Often, you can’t recast, because of tight shooting deadlines or other logistical considerations,” the director added. “You need someone who gets laughs. Sometimes you start an arc and it ain’t working out, so you have to get rid of that person. If it’s a day player, it’s a quick goodbye.”
However, Burrows talked about the silver lining of the situation, “If there’s chemistry, the writers go to work to figure out some way of keeping the actor.”
Needless to say, Burrows’s dream came true after season five Emily and Ross divorced after a tumultuous marriage. The latter said Rachel’s name at the altar.
Previously, in 1998 the Sitcom’s co-creator Marta Kaufmann praised the director in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “Helen came in and was brilliant,” Kauffman shared, “It’s a difficult thing we’re asking her to do because the audience is very resistant to that seventh person coming in. But you can see her being one of your friends.”