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Emotions high as 'Friends' film last shows

Actors say they are braced for loss of show
/ Source: Reuters

The six co-stars of NBC’s smash hit “Friends,” the top-rated comedy on U.S. television, say emotions are running high on the set as they near production of the show’s final episode.

“We’re like very delicate china right now, and we’re speeding toward a brick wall ... and inevitable pain,” Jennifer Aniston (aka Rachel Green) told television critics gathered for a question-and-answer session with the cast on Tuesday in the Warner Bros. television studio where the series is filmed.

“And we’re going to smash into a million pieces,” added Lisa Kudrow, best known as Phoebe. “It’s a deeper loss than I was expecting.”

The six performers, seated together in director’s chairs, struggled to articulate how they felt to be bidding goodbye to a show that has been central to their lives -- and a centerpiece of prime-time TV -- for 10 years.

More than one used the word “bittersweet” to describe the mood. Matt LeBlanc said he felt the weight of leaving behind an endeavor that has occupied “a third of my life.” LeBlanc will be reprising his role as Joey in an upcoming NBC spinoff planned for next season.

David Schwimmer, who plays Ross, said a key to the longevity of “Friends” was the real-life bond among the co-stars. “We really liked each other from the beginning. We were very lucky.”

And Matthew Perry, the show’s wise-cracking Chandler Bing, said all of them realized that “Friends” will be a tough act to follow. “It’s a group of people that comes together every week to try and make America laugh. And what better thing is there than that,” he said.

Courteney Cox Arquette, who plays Monica and revealed last week that she is pregnant in real life, said she looked forward to motherhood to keep her busy post-”Friends.”

“I think it’s good timing for me because I’ll have something to put my focus on,” she said, disclosing that she is expecting in mid-July.

Neither the show’s producers nor the cast would say much about how the series ends. The studio audience will be barred from key scenes when the finale is shot next Friday, and only essential personnel will be allowed on the set in a bid to keep the conclusion secret until it airs in May.

Schwimmer, however, insisted the finale would leave fans satisfied.

“We will end up with a sense of a new beginning, and the audience has a sense that it’s a new chapter in all of their lives,” he said.