To talk about the TV series that have left a mark in the history of modern television, such as Dynasty, Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, The X Files, Sex and the City, and all those that followed, and not mention Friends would be a great television sin.
The series that won a Golden Globe and five Emmy Awards is a symbol of a time, and many people who grew up with Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler, and Joey still want that time to return. However, two decades after the filming of the famous series ended, it appears that there is no grand return to the small or big screen for its main stars.
The fate of the role that swallows up an actor has befallen the line-up of Friends too, as they still have not found a way back into the limelight.
With the exception of actor Matt LeBlanc, who, as he says, has managed to escape the shadow of the one and only Joey Tribbiani after the series that brought him global fame, and steal some more of that star dust in the spinoff sitcom Joey, as well as the family comedy Man With A Plan, which we can currently watch on the Fox Channel on workdays at 6pm. In an exclusive interview with TV Ekran, Matt reveals how he has succeeded in living on after Friends.
As a former macho type, how did you find the role of the parent of three pretty demanding children in the new hit series Man With A Plan ?
“I don’t know if anyone’s ever mastered that skill in full. Parenthood seems to me to be an everyday challenge. But it’s fun to be a dad. I like being a father and see my children grow and what sort of people they become. I remember when they were little, the time when they just started talking, or using longer words… Then their pronunciation changed. They start using pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and soon enough you get a flood of words, which becomes a flood of sentences, which slowly starts to give you a headache. And the headache never stops.”
How is your TV family different? How much does this dad stand apart from the others, and what is his plan?
“First he wanted to encourage his wife, who decided to go back to work. When I first read the script, I liked that initial idea that the father is the one who stays at home while the wife works. I thought, ‘Hmm, let’s see what that would look like!’ However, my protagonist soon realizes that it’s much more work than he thought and that it’s not exactly fun being a stay-at-home dad. There’s something beautiful in the fact that you come home from work every day, and the children, the house, and the dinner smell nice, the homework’s done, and they’re cute and kind… But most fathers and husbands don’t realize what their wives have to do to achieve that effect. That’s the great catch of this story.”
Do some scenes remind you of what you are going through, and did the scriptwriters borrow some ideas from your private life?
“They were very nice initially and didn’t trouble me too much, but as soon as season two began, I myself started to tell my personal parenting adventures, so a lot of what the viewers see in the series has been borrowed from our lives. And that’s not bad. True stories always have more life to them on the small screen.”
Is it your first time filming with so many youngsters, and what does filming with three children look like?
“At this rate, on a daily level, this is my first such experience. But us actors have an unwritten rule. We always say that we don’t work with children or animals. However, I’ve realized in this series that there’s a big difference between us older actors and the children who are in this business. You’re always under a lot of pressure on the set. Filming, production, money – which is always a topic, very many people who are involved in the work, with everyone wanting to appear in their best form and having special demands for this reason… It creates a heavy atmosphere. But the children are completely indifferent to all of that. They’re having a great time, and they’re happy to be there. So, they are here to remind you that we do this essentially to have a good time. And when everyone’s really having fun, you can see that on the screen. I like working with children. They’re fun, cute, and do a great job.”
We cannot skip a question about Friends. Soon it will be 20 years since the end of filming. What are your relationships like now, and what memories of this series do you have?
“We’re still close. It can happen that we don’t see each other for five years, but when we meet up, it seems like we haven’t been apart at all. Our bond is still strong. When we see each other, our conversations seem familiar, we finish each other’s thoughts, and have the same concerns. We were a true family. And I hope it stays that way. Even when we’re at a party, we always stick together in a corner telling each other what’s been happening. It’s always like that and it’s great, they’re great people. We had this experience together, and it will forever stay in our minds as the most beautiful and most important memory we share.”
(Kurir.rs / Nikola Dražović)