Matthew Perry’s Book on Dating Julia Roberts, ‘Friends’ Cast


Photo: Mike Nelson/AFP via Getty Images

Late last month, an excerpt from Matthew Perry’s book, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, made headlines when it became clear that he despises Keanu Reeves. Like, he wishes him dead. That weirdly intense candor, along with the claim Perry made in his New York Times interview that he didn’t use a ghostwriter for his memoir, teased a powerful truth: Perry was going to release a very, very honest book. And now that it’s out, we can confirm: This book is very, very honest! Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is filled with stories of personal sadness, trauma, and lots of opinions on various acquaintances (celebrities). So, for your viewing pleasure, we’ve compiled a list of what Perry had to say about celebs he’s encountered throughout his life. Spoiler: He only wishes death upon Keanu Reeves (twice).

The Ones About Jennifer Aniston on Friends
• “Jennifer and I had met through mutual acquaintances about three years earlier. I was immediately taken by her (how could I not be?) and liked her, and I got the sense she was intrigued, too — maybe it was going to be something. Back then I got two jobs in one day — one was Haywire, an America’s Funniest Home Videos-type show, and the other was a sitcom. So I called Jennifer and I said, “You’re the first person I wanted to tell this to!”
Bad idea — I could feel ice forming through the phone.”

• “Fairly early in the making of Friends I realized that I was still crushing badly on Jennifer Aniston. Our hellos and goodbyes became awkward. And then I’d ask myself, How long can I look at her? Is three seconds too long?

The One About Meeting the Other Friends
• “Courteney Cox was wearing a yellow dress and was cripplingly beautiful. I had heard about Lisa Kudrow from a mutual friend, and she was just as gorgeous and hilarious and incredibly smart as my friend had said. Mattie LeBlanc was nice and a cool customer, and David Schwimmer had had his hair cut really short (he had been playing Pontius Pilate for his theater troupe in Chicago) over his hangdog face and was incredibly funny right away; warm and smart and creative.”

The One About Sean Penn
• “There were guest stars all the time, which meant we always had to think on our feet. Sean Penn was one of my favorites — he appeared in two episodes in season eight and nailed it. His story line called for me to be dressed up as a pink bunny rabbit (it was Halloween), so at the end of the table read, I said, ‘I’ve always dreamed of working with Sean Penn, but I never thought I’d have to wear a pink bunny rabbit suit to do so.’”

The Ones About His Co-stars in The Whole Nine Yards
• Bruce Willis did not disappoint — he oozed A-list. He didn’t just take over a room, he was the room. In fact, I knew he was a real movie star when the first thing he did was teach the bartender how to make a perfect vodka tonic. ‘Three-second pour,’ he said to the petrified man.”

• “Amanda Peet was also in the cast. She was funny and smart and very attractive, and even though she had a boyfriend, she didn’t mind flirting, which she did at the drop of a hat with both Bruce and me, to the point where one day Bruce shouted at her, ‘Pick one!’”

The One About Beating Paul Rudd
• “In fact, if you’ve seen the finale of season nine of Friends, you’ll know that I’m at least good enough to beat Paul Rudd.”

The One About Serving Sara
• “During Serving Sara … the director was pissed off — I’d ruined his movie; Elizabeth Hurley, my costar, was pissed off (she never got to do another movie, either).”

The One About River Phoenix
• “I got to know River, who personified beauty in every way. There was an aura around that guy. But he made you feel too comfortable to even be jealous of him.”

The One When He Dated Tricia Fisher
• “The acting roles, and the quick mind and mouth, and the friendship with River, and the denim jacket over plaid shirt all combined to help me land a beautiful girlfriend named Tricia Fisher. (Eddie Fisher and Connie Stevens’s daughter — that’s right, Carrie Fisher’s half sister. This girl was no stranger to charm.)”

The One When He Asked Out Julia Roberts
• “I sent her three dozen red roses and the card read: ‘The only thing more exciting than the prospect of you doing the show is that I finally have an excuse to send you flowers’ … Her reply was that if I adequately explained quantum physics to her, she’d agree to be on the show. Wow. First of all, I’m in an exchange with the woman for whom lipstick was invented, and now I have to hit the books.”

The One When He Met Gwyneth Paltrow Right Before Friends Debuted
• “This was the last summer of my life when I could make out at a party with a beautiful young woman named Gwyneth and no one, save Gwyneth and I, cared.”

The One When He Met Cameron Diaz
• “Years ago, right after she quit seeing Justin Timberlake, I got set up on a date with Cameron Diaz … Cameron got almost instantly stoned — it was clear that she wasn’t interested in me at all.”

The Ones About Charlie Sheen
• “I was reading in the newspaper about Charlie Sheen. It said that Sheen was yet again in trouble for something, but I remember thinking, Why does he care — he’s famous.”

• “It was everything I thought I wanted. I was going to fill all the holes with Friends Like Us. Fuck Charlie Sheen.”

The One About Growing Up Around Justin Trudeau
• “I beat up Pierre’s son (an eventual prime minister himself) Justin Trudeau.”

The One About Michael J. Fox
• “I remember realizing when I was in ninth grade in Ottawa that Michael J. Fox had both the number one movie and the number one TV show at the same time, and even then, at the age of fourteen, steam came out of my ears with envy.”

The Ones Where He Hates Keanu Reeves
• “Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?”

• “Then, Chris Farley died. His disease had progressed faster than mine had. (Plus, I had a healthy fear of the word ‘heroin,’ a fear we did not share.) I punched a hole through Jennifer Aniston’s dressing room wall when I found out. Keanu Reeves walks among us.”

The One Where He Disses Paul McCartney
• “In the world of music, there’s a hierarchy, too — it’s my contention that bass players tend to get laid first, because they’re stolid and cool and their fingers move in gentle yet powerful ways (except for Paul McCartney; he never got laid first).”

The Ones Praising Woody Allen in 2022
• “As night fell, we found Annie Hall on our little TV and laughed our asses off at Woody Allen’s house under the roller coaster. (I didn’t get the sex and relationship jokes, but even at eight years old I could understand the comedy of sneezing away $2,000 worth of some kind of white powder.)”

• “Woody gets it. Woody gets me.”

• “I was shooting the most popular show on the planet, and [Julia Roberts] was shooting a Woody Allen movie, Everyone Says I Love You, in France. (Of course she was).”

• “But there has to be more, God. Why did you spare me? I’m ready — give me the direction and I will follow it. When Woody Allen asks this very question to an alien in the movie Stardust Memories, the alien responds, ‘Tell funnier jokes.’ But that can’t be it.”

The One Praising Woody Allen and Noted Abuser Ryan Adams in 2022
• “Still this gratitude swirls about me, even stronger now as more faces appear: characters from the Woody Allen movies I love, the TV show Lost, peter Gabriel, Michael Keaton, John Grisham, Steve martin, Sting, Dave Letterman for having me on for the first time, Barack Obama, the smartest man I have ever spoken to. On the breeze I hear the piano version of ‘New York, New York,’ by Ryan Adams, recorded at Carnegie hall on November 17, 2014.”

The One About Being Famous for Something Specific
• “For the longest time I didn’t really want to talk too much about Friends … I always admired Kurt Cobain’s refusal to play ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ or Led Zeppelin’s refusal to play ‘Stairway to Heaven.’”

The One Praising Chevy Chase
• “Chevy had long been a hero of mine. In fact, his performance in the movie Fletch had changed my life forever.”

The One Where He Imagines What Banksy Would Think of Him
• “I got my Banksy painting at an auction in New York. I bought it via the phone. I’ve never met him, but I want him to know that if there was ever a fire, my Banksy would be the thing I’d save. I wonder if he’d care. (Actually, he’d probably set fire to it himself.)”

The Ones About Batman
• “I bought the place — I swear to God — because Bruce Wayne lived in just such an apartment in The Dark Knight.)”

• “Someday you, too, might be called upon to do something important, so be ready for it. And when whatever happens, just think, What would Batman do? and do that.”

The Ones in Which He Compares His Life to Various Celebrities
• “I’m no Matthew McConaughey, and when I take a shower, I just make sure to keep my eyes closed.”

• “I slowly wiped the sleep from my eyes and then the reality of my situation would hit me, and I would burst into tears at a rate that would make Meryl Streep jealous.”

• “In the operating room they gave propofol, you know, the drug that killed Michael Jackson. I learned then and there that Michael Jackson didn’t want to be high, he wanted to be out.”

• “That great twentieth-century philosopher Cyndi Lauper was right as it turned out — girls do in fact just want to have fun.”

• “I realized that The End of Longing wasn’t going to be beloved enough to cement my future as a budding David Mamet. But there is still time!”

• “I have made more mistakes in my love life than Elizabeth Taylor.”

• “It’s not like the Amy Winehouse story, where she was sober for a while, and then the first drinks she had killed her. She said something in that documentary that is true for me, too. She had just won a Grammy and she said to a friend, ‘I can’t enjoy this unless I’m drunk.’”

• “Robert Downey Jr., talking about his own addiction, once said, ‘It’s like I have a gun in my mouth with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the metal.’ I got it; I understand that.”

The One About the Famous Club
• “Martin Sheen, like Pacino, Sean Penn, Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Bacon, Chevy Chase, Robert De Niro — these are all fellow members of the ‘Famous Club’ I’ve encountered, an informal little thing you join when you’re in an airport or at a function and someone also famous comes up and says hi like we know each other.”

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