The shocking cast injury that ‘Friends’ kept secret

Warning: This story incorporates spoilers from the “Friends: The Reunion” particular on HBO Max.

Hey, Joey — how you doin’?

In a harrowing incident that was kept hush-hush for many years, a 1996 episode of “Friends” took a flip when star Matt LeBlanc took a “cringe-worthy” fall whereas filming — and paramedics needed to rush him to the hospital in excruciating ache.

During the much-hyped “Friends: The Reunion” particular — which hit HBO Max Thursday — sequence creator David Crane revealed that manufacturing floor to a halt on the Sept. 26, 1996, episode “The One Where Nobody’s Ready” when LeBlanc — as lovable lunkhead Joey Tribbiani — suffered his show-stopping injury.

In one scene, roommates Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Joey battle over a chair, and, throughout their warfare of (nit)wits, Joey runs and jumps onto it to assert it for himself. That’s when issues went painfully awry.

“I somehow tripped — and my shoulder came out of the socket,” LeBlanc, 53, defined within the particular. 

To make issues worse, they have been capturing a “bottle episode,” that means one that is about totally in a single location — on this case, Monica and Rachel’s house — and required the entire primary stars always. 

Joey (Matt LeBlanc) in character as a soap opera doctor on "Friends"
Joey (Matt LeBlanc) in character as a cleaning soap opera physician on “Friends.”
©NBC/Courtesy Everett Collectio

“It happened to be the one episode where it was just the six of them, all in it — so we couldn’t film other scenes,” mentioned Crane of the episode, which chronicles Ross’ rising anxiousness because the gang takes too lengthy to prepare for an essential perform at his museum later that night. It was presupposed to be an “easy,” budget-saving one because it all came about in a single location and required no visitor stars.

“So what started out to be the simplest ‘Friends’ episode ended up taking the longest amount of time to shoot,” Crane added within the behind-the-scenes particular.

Because LeBlanc’s injury would take time to heal, the creators wound up writing LeBlanc’s newly current arm-sling into the present; in later episodes, kid-at-heart Joey’s onscreen cause for the injury was that he had a mishap whereas leaping on his mattress. 

It seems the cast might have jinxed LeBlanc, too. It was revealed within the particular that they used to huddle earlier than filming every episode — however mysteriously they uncared for to take action earlier than filming that one. 

Maybe they have been on a break.

Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer on "Friends" in 2000
Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer on “Friends”
Everett Collection / Everett Col

Because of the unlucky incident, that episode will not be excessive on LeBlanc’s checklist of favorites. But former soccer professional David Beckham — who is a big “Friends” fan and was a visitor star on the particular — mentioned it’s his fave episode from the sequence.

“It’s one of those episodes that when I’m away [from my family] or feeling a little bit low, I put it on,” Beckham, 46, shared onscreen. “And it makes you smile almost to the point of crying.”

BTW: Getting his shoulder ripped out of its socket wasn’t LeBlanc’s solely gnarly injury throughout his early time with “Friends.” He additionally recounts going consuming with a buddy the evening earlier than his massive callback audition.

LeBlanc blacked out, fell face first into the bathroom and hit his nostril, inflicting “a huge chunk of meat to come off my nose,” he mentioned. “[I thought], ‘Oh my god, i have to go in for the big callback’ and it’s a big ugly scab on my nose, and [co-creator] Marta Kauffman said ‘What happened to your face?’ I told the truth — and got the job.”

The reunion featured LeBlanc, Perry, 51; Jennifer Aniston, 52, Courteney Cox, 56, Lisa Kudrow, 57, and David Schwimmer, 54, who dished about life on- and off-set of the legendary NBC sitcom, which aired from 1994 to 2004. Among the opposite tidbits revealed was a lingering real-life lust between Aniston and Schwimmer, who performed lovebirds Rachel and Ross.

“Friends: The Reunion” is now streaming on HBO Max

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