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Lisa Kudrow had to try out for Friends more than once.
The 58-year-old actress, who played Phoebe Buffay on the classic sitcom from 1994 to 2004, said that getting the part was harder for her than for her co-stars because director James Burrows didn’t like her first.
Lisa said that Burrows had fired her from the role of Roz in Frasier after the pilot episode aired in 1993. “I was mistakenly cast as Roz in Frasier,” she said.
“At the time, I didn’t know that. From the table read, I could tell that Jim knew I was wrong; it dawned on me: “Oh, he’s not a fan.”
“Then we did Friends, and I had to try out for Jim Burrows in a unique way. You have to read for producers, studio. And networks, but I also had to go in and read for Jim Burrows in between.
“I thought that maybe everyone had to do it, but I discovered a few years ago that I was the only one. I played Phoebe to make sure Jimmy was OK with everything.
“So, on the set of the pilot, I said, “Ugh, f****** Jimmy Burrows is directing this. It seemed like he was more sad than angry.”
Lisa said that she didn’t agree with some of Burrows’ stage directions. But they were able to clear things up in the end.
She said on the Jess Cagle Podcast with Julia Cunningham, “We were about to do a run-through, and I had to do my Phoebe monologue. He told me to sit under the table and read it because Phoebe was out there.
“Then I had the epiphany, ‘Oh my God, I can do this.'” talk to anyone. If you want to show how much my personality doesn’t fit with these people… I did the best I could, but after the run-through, Friends co-creator David Crane said, “Lisa, it’s fun that you’re under the table. But I’m not sure it works,” as if it were my idea.
“I just said, ‘OK, I guess,’ but Jimmy said it was his idea, so I knew I could trust him.