Warner Bros. executive recalls the “magic” of casting Matthew Perry on ‘Friends’

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Believe it or not, the main cast of Friends at one point didn’t include Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green or the late Matthew Perry as fan-favorite Chandler Bing.

In an article written for The Hollywood Reporter, former Warner Bros. TV executive David Janollari explained, “The chemistry had to be believable. You just had to love them. And no one was more elusive than Chandler.”

In the article, Janollari gave flowers to Perry, who died on October 28.

He recalled, “I remember going to a run-through of a CBS pilot that was struggling. I was standing next to Barbara Miller, our head of casting, during this run-through, and there was one bright spot in the show, a guest star who would not be a series regular: Matthew Perry. He literally stole the show.”

The veteran of The Drew Carey Show and Living Single added, “At the time we were also casting another pilot for NBC, and we couldn’t find the best friend co-star.”

“Like that a-ha moment in a movie that you really don’t believe happens in real life, we both turned to each other with eyes wide open and said at the same time, ‘Chandler!"” Janollari recalled.

He said of Perry’s audition, “We called him in immediately to read for Chandler, and the rest is history. It was magic.”

Janollari also got to know Perry personally and highlighted how his “dedication to his Sober Living house, his recent autobiography and his determination to help others in need inspired many struggling with addictions.”

“A truly hilarious man. A beautiful kind soul. A real friend,” a heartbroken Janollari said of Matthew.

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