Lisa Kudrow Was Nearly Not Cast As Phoebe on ‘Friends’

‘I always wanted to love him, I just thought he hated me,’ the actress revealed about the director of the show’s pilot episode.

Videos by Rare

Videos by Rare

Friends without Lisa Kudrow? As Phoebe would say, “Oh, no!”

Turns out the actress almost didn’t make the cut as part of the most famous sextet in sitcom history.

As Lisa Kudrow revealed in a recent interview on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Podcast w/ Julia Cunningham, her prior hangup with famous TV director James Burrows almost cost her the part of Phoebe.

The Battle with Burrows…

“I always wanted to love him, I just thought he hated me,” Lisa Kudrow said in a clip of the program that appeared July 7 on YouTube.

On the recent episode, the podcast’s hosts asked Lisa Kudrow to weigh in on the director’s recently released memoir, the exhaustively titled Directed by James Burrows: Five Decades of Stories From the Legendary Director of Taxi, Cheers, Frasier, Friends, Will & Grace, and More.

Specifically, The Jess Cagle Podcast hosts asked her to comment on part of the memoir that said: “When the Friends pilot was in production, I heard from someone on the show that Lisa said, ‘That f—ing Jimmy Burrows is directing the show! Can you believe it?’”

Lisa Kudrow replied that she made comments roughly along those lines, but not quite so severe, because he had turned her down to play the role of Roz Doyle on Frasier. The part later went to Peri Gilpin. Lisa Kudrow openly admitted that she was indeed not a good fit for that role.

From Defeat to Discovery

At the time of the career setback with Frasier, Lisa Kudrow felt defeated, she revealed to the podcast hosts. But later, she discovered, “It wasn’t that he was being mean. That’s who Jim Burrows is … the person who’s trying to tell you the truth, not take you down. What you need to know is he’s trying to save you.”

In fact, Lisa Kudrow went so far as to hire James Burrows for The Comeback, a 2005 mockumentary program that she co-created for HBO.

“We needed the top director for sitcoms — irrefutably, the top — and that’s Jim Burrows,” she said. “You don’t even need to be in this business, we’re just telling you it is. But it’s fun to see actual Jimmy Burrows. I don’t know who’s going to be Jim Burrows. So he did it. And he was perfect and fantastic.”

Read More: Reality Star Says Lisa Kudrow Is ‘The Worst Human’

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