Guest stars including Paul Rudd and Cole Sprouse were left out of Friends: The Reunion due to time constraints and the Covid-19 pandemic, director Ben Winston has confirmed.
The show, which aired in the U.S. on Thursday, reunited the main cast of the beloved sitcom and even featured guest stars like Lady Gaga, Cindy Crawford, and Justin Bieber.
However, Cole, Paul, and many other more recognisable guest stars didn’t turn up, and in an interview with The Wrap, Ben explained that "there were hundreds of amazing people who were in Friends over the years" so "we couldn’t get everybody in".
"It’s only an hour and 45 minutes,” he said of the HBO Max special. “You’ve got to pay attention — the main nub of the show has got to be about the six cast members.
“You know, we did invite some people who weren’t able to make it. It’s a complicated time to be making television now because, you know, some people couldn’t fly internationally, some people were on other TV or film shoots, some people are in bubbles on stuff.”
Ben went on to note that it was very difficult to manage the filming schedule during the pandemic.
“I think during a pandemic, it’s really hard to get everybody where you want to be. And the other thing, of course, is we have no flexibility,” the director continued.
“The timing of it was incredibly difficult. So, you know, if you weren’t available on the seventh of April at 8 pm, then, sadly, they weren’t able to be part of it.
"Yeah, we couldn’t get everybody in. It’s just one of those things. I hope people will think about all the great things that are in there rather than the things that aren’t.”
Paul starred as Mike Hannigan, Phoebe’s eventual husband, in the final two seasons of Friends, while Cole was Ben Geller, Ross’s son.