Over the course of 10 seasons and countless trips to Central Perk, the cast of Friends never broke the fourth wall - but Matthew Perry has now revealed that he once came close to doing so.


In his new memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, the actor, who played Chandler Bing on the much-loved comedy, recalled how he pitched a scene involving guest star Sean Penn, which would have smashed the invisible barrier between the show and its audience, by showing the pair out of character.

Penn appeared in two episodes of the show’s eighth season, including a Halloween episode where Perry memorably donned a fluffy pink bunny costume.

In his book, Perry revealed how he suggested that he and Penn film a brief ending scene in which he (as himself, not Chandler) would ask his co-star for advice on moving into more "dramatic work" - while still wearing the bunny outfit.

"The closest we ever got [to breaking the fourth wall] was with Sean," he wrote. “I had pitched a tag (the brief end scene after the main story has landed) that had me backstage in the bunny rabbit suit.

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Sean Penn and Lisa Kudrow on Friends. Getty

"Sean walks by and I say, 'Sean, can I talk to you for a second?'

"'Sure, Matthew, what’s up?'

"'Well, I’ve been really giving this a lot of thought. And I think you’re a good person to talk to about this.'

"I’m smoking as I say this, and as I put the cigarette out with my huge bunny foot, I say, 'I’ve been looking to transition myself into dramatic work.'"

Finally, the scene ended as Penn looked at Perry "for about five beats and just says, 'Good luck.'"

Though the moment "got a great laugh at the table read", Perry said that "even someone as powerful as Sean Penn and me looking ridiculous in a huge pink bunny costume could not get the go-ahead to break the fourth wall," which ultimately "stayed in place. Right where it should be."

As well as sharing behind the scenes details from the filming of Friends, Perry’s book also sees the star reflect on his struggles with addiction.

In his autobiography, Perry estimates that he has spent around $9 million on treatment, and said that the ninth season of the show was the only one where he was entirely sober for filming.

Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing is out now. Check out more of our Comedy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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