The late Matthew Perry rejected a “Friends” storyline that would have put his beloved character in bed with another woman, the actor revealed during his potential fling Tuesday.
Perry feared fans would “never forgive” Chandler Bing for cheating on Monica Geller – his on-screen love interest played by Courteney Cox – according to actress Lisa Cash, who had been tapped to play the other woman.
For two days, Cash rehearsed the role of a Las Vegas hotel employee providing room service to Chandler, who was upset that Monica had lunch with her former boyfriend Richard, played by Tom Selleck. And while Chandler was pouring his heart out, he was about to cheat on Monica with Cash’s character.
But on the day the role of Cash was going to be filmed, an assistant director told her that the scene – and her role – had been cut, she recalls.
“Matthew Perry said the public would never forgive him,” Cash told NBC News on Tuesday. “Matthew Perry went to the writers and told them that the audience would never forgive him (Chandler), which made perfect sense.”
Cash said Perry was right and a cheating arc could have changed the show.
“I think he was absolutely right,” Cash, 54, said from his home in suburban Atlanta. “The Ross and Rachel (David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston) thing, ‘They were on hiatus,’ but it wouldn’t have been on hiatus. This would have been a decision he made while they were together.
She continued: “I think it would have really changed the way the audience would have (viewed) Chandler and all that. I don’t know if they could have survived it.
“Friends” still used Cash in this Season 5 episode – “The One in Vegas: Part I”, which aired on May 20, 1999 – casting her as a flight attendant.
Over the years, Cash has wondered what impact this potential role in Chandler’s adventure might have had on his career.
“I ask myself a lot of questions because I could have said, ‘Oh, that character you love to hate.’ But I could also have been the girl who broke up Chandler and Monica and no one would forgive,” she said.
“So I could have gotten a lot of bad publicity out of it.” But I wouldn’t mind finding out. But I think it was the best decision for the show and, ultimately, it was the most important one.
Representatives from Warner Bros. TV and show creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
Even though Perry ended up changing ranks to get that storyline killed, Cash said the actor never showed his displeasure during rehearsal.
“I had no idea he had a problem with it,” she said. “But he was completely professional (during rehearsals). He made me feel very comfortable in the scene and we just had fun and acted and did what actors are supposed to do.