Perry wrote his memoirs about his rollercoaster ride with sitcom global success, addiction, and rehabilitation — excerpts from which have already made headlines, including his admiration for co-star Jennifer Aniston and his near-death experience with opioids.
Transformation into his craft in an excerpt posted on the day timesPerry explains how, from his own audition, he was inspired to give Chandler a distinct speaking style, with its emphasis on unusual words and syllables.
he is writing:
“I read the words in an unexpected way, striking affirmations no one else had. I returned to Ottawa with my childhood friends Al Murray; I laughed where no one laughed.”
After Berry became the last member of the main cast of six, Berry took the same delivery style in production:
“I was speaking in a way no one had ever spoken on sitcoms before, making strange affirmations, picking out a word in a sentence you might not have imagined that was the pulse.
“I didn’t know it yet, but the way I spoke would permeate the culture over the next few decades. For now though, I’ve been just trying to find interesting ways in the lines that were really funny, but I thought I could really dance.
(I was once told that writers would underline a word that isn’t usually stressed in a sentence just to see what I’m going to do with it.)
Sure, even though the show ended after ten seasons in 2004, Chandler’s expressions, including “Can I be…?” It’s still in common parlance today, and no doubt helped fuel the endless reboot of the record-breaking sitcom, which a whole new generation of fans discovered on Netflix during the shutdown.
Perry also tells how once the script for the show was sent, it was originally called friends like usHe knew, instinctively, that Chandler was the character he needed to play.
“It was as if someone had followed me for a year, stealing my jokes, imitating my mannerisms, portraying my exhausting view of the world and my wonderful life…
“It wasn’t that I thought I could play ‘Chandler’; I was Chandler.”
Perry is reunited with his teammate friends Graduates last year in a televised meeting. While the actors shared tidbits from their time on the show, the actor—who became a hero to rehabilitate those struggling with addiction—talked about the pressure he put on himself to overcome the laughs he’s famously known for:
“I felt like I was going to die then [the live audience] why u laugh. It is definitely not healthy. But sometimes I’d say a line and they wouldn’t laugh, and I’d sweat and… have cramps. If I didn’t understand the laughter I was supposed to laugh with, I would freak out. I felt this every night.”
Matthew Perry’s memoir “Friends, Lovers and the Big, Terrible Thing” was released on November 1.
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