'Friends' director name checks surprising star cast struggled to work with

'Friends' director name checks surprising star cast struggled to work with
The one where they replaced Rachel

Friends welcomed dozens of guest stars during its run, including the likes of A-listers Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon and Bruce Willis – but not everyone’s time on the show is remembered fondly by the director.

James Burrows co-created the television series Cheers and also directed 15 episodes of Friends.

Speaking in his new book, Burrows has discussed the one guest star who the cast most struggled to perform alongside.

The star in question? Helen Baxendale, who played Ross Gellar’s British girlfriend Emily Waltham.

Baxendale’s marriage to David Schwimmer’s Ross was famously short-lived, after Ross said the name of Rachel Green, played by Jennifer Aniston, rather than Emily at the altar.

Helen Baxendale in FriendsNBC

Writing in his new memoir, Directed by James Burrows, he said he found it hard to work with her due to her "not being funny" and pointed to the specific episode ‘The One with All the Rugby’.

"She was nice but not particularly funny. Schwimmer had no one to bounce off. It was like clapping with one hand,” he wrote.

"In sitcoms and any type of romantic comedy, the funny is just as important as the chemistry. We discovered that any new girlfriend for Ross needed to be as funny as Rachel,” he added.

"Often, you can't recast, because of tight shooting deadlines or other logistical considerations. You don't cast anyone to be a straw man, unless it's for one episode."

Friends: Ross Says Rachel (Season 5 Clip) |

He went on to write: "Sometimes you start an arc and it ain't working out, so you have to get rid of that person. If it's a day player, it's a quick goodbye. The reverse is also true. If there's chemistry, the writers go to work to figure out some way of keeping the actor."

Baxendale, on the other hand, has spoken in the past about the fond memories she has of being on the show.

"I look upon it as a strange surreal little blip in my life almost like a dream,” she told The Mirror back in 2012, saying about the cast: "They were all very nice and professional. We were never great mates though.

"People expect because it is called Friends that everyone was great friends, but they were real professionals. They'd been doing it for years and I was one of many guest stars to appear."

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