The Friends original cast will reportedly have to adhere to strict guidelines next month during filming for their HBO Max reunion special, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Filming at the original Burbank studio in California will be going ahead, but without the live audience as originally planned.
The special, which had to be delayed due to the global pandemic, was originally meant to be the crown jewel in HBO’s brand new streaming platform.
“Everyone is really hoping production and filming can resume next month [in August],” a source told The Mirror, adding that the entire cast will be tested for the virus.
“It’s full steam ahead right now, but there are going to be very strict guidelines and that includes no live audiences,” the source continued. “That’s a big blow because bosses were desperate to create an authentic atmosphere. All of the cast will be tested for Covid-19, and asked to quarantine in isolation after they’ve had the tests.”
Friends actors Lisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston recently discussed the upcoming reunion special.
“I think it will be really fun when we finally get out and can do the reunion show,” Aniston said, in an interview for Variety’s Actors on Actors issue.
“We don’t know everything about it,” Kudrow said.
“Oh, we don’t know anything about it,” Aniston admitted, before revealing, “I know that it’s not scripted.”
The special will also see the return of fellow co-stars Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry.
The reunion was originally scheduled to land on HBO Max on May 27th, however due to the global coronavirus outbreak, HBO delayed filming on the unscripted Friends reunion back in March.
In June, series co-creator Marta Kaufmann provided the good news that the show could be ready to film in August, telling The Wrap, “We are hoping to be able to shoot in August, if all is well and there is no early second wave and the studio is open.”
She added, “If everything is in place and we understand all the protocols and we can still make a good show, we’ll be shooting it some time, mid-to-late August.”