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Friends co-creator confirms David Schwimmer almost turned down Ross role

Digital Spy (UK) logo Digital Spy (UK) 5/12/2019 Justin Harp
Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc posing for the camera: Friends co-creator David Crane has revealed on The One Show that one cast member nearly turned down their role. © Getty Images Friends co-creator David Crane has revealed on The One Show that one cast member nearly turned down their role.

Rachel and Ross from Friends are probably the most iconic TV couple ever… yet David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston came close to never being on the show.

As Friends celebrates in 25th anniversary, co-creator David Crane is lifting the lid on some secrets from the sitcom's past, including how difficult it was to actually find the core cast.

While appearing on The One Show to promote FriendsFestive, David Crane let slip that David Schwimmer was the first cast member approached... but he wasn't so keen!

a man wearing a suit and tie: David Crane © BBC David Crane

"David actually was [approached first]," Crane explained. "He had come in and auditioned for us on a pilot the year before, and the show didn't go.

"He didn't get that part, but as we were writing Friends and we came up with the idea of Ross, we kept thinking, 'You know who'd be great for this is David Schwimmer'. And then he didn't want to do it because he had theatre experience.

"He was back doing theatre and we had to persuade him to come back to television."

David Schwimmer wearing a suit and tie: Friends, season 8, Ross Geller © NBC Universal Friends, season 8, Ross Geller

Even though David Schwimmer eventually did sign on the dotted line, the Ross and Rachel coupling really only came about after a huge stroke of luck.

Crane also revealed on The One Show that Jennifer Aniston was actually the last Friend hired for the NBC series because she was locked into another TV job at the time.

"I think it was probably Jennifer [Aniston] because she was doing another series," he revealed. "It was actually a series. Unlike here [in the UK], you are committed to one thing. You can't do more than one show.

"She was the only one who could get it right. We saw so many girls in wedding dresses come in, and she nailed it, so we rolled the dice that the other show would fail."

a woman standing in front of a television: Rachel Green, Friends, Jennifer Aniston © Warner Bros. Television/Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions Rachel Green, Friends, Jennifer Aniston

Thank goodness that other show was axed! Speaking of Jennifer Aniston, she confirmed this week that the cast are "trying" their hardest to make a reunion special a reality for the 25th anniversary.

Comedy Central’s FriendsFestive is running at Truman Brewery, Brick Lane through Saturday December, 21. Limited tickets are still available and can be purchased by clicking here.

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