Friends has been reimagined with an all-Black cast for a new table read – see footage below.
The event, held on Zoom last night (September 22), was the second in a new table read series called Zoom Where It Happens.
The table read featured an all-star cast, including This Is Us‘ Sterling K Brown, who played Ross, First Wives Club star Ryan Michelle Bathe as Rachel and Orange Is The New Black‘s Uzo Aduba taking on the role of Phoebe.
The event was set up to support Michelle Obama’s non-profit organisation When We All Vote, and a statement says that the event “aims to catalyze voters and amplify the fight for voting rights and electoral justice, through culture and entertainment”.
It also saw British singer and actress Cynthia Erivo singing the iconic Friends theme tune, The Rembrandts’ ‘I’ll Be There For You’ – watch footage of that, and the rest of the table read, below.
— Brandee (@Therealbrandee) September 23, 2020
— Jeremy Pope (@jrmypope) September 23, 2020
What’s your #VotingPlan ✊🏾 I love Us. I love #BlackPeople ✊🏾🤎👏🏾🙏🏾 #Friends with @SterlingKBrown @ryanmichelle @UzoAduba @AishaHinds @kendrick38 @jrmypope. #CynthiaErivo • @StephanieAllain Producing @itsgabrielleu Hosting @sallirichardson Directing #ZoomWhereItHappens pic.twitter.com/dJf8chPoZ7
— Mickaëlle X. Bizet (@MickaelleXBizet) September 23, 2020
— Jeremy Wein (@thismyshow) September 23, 2020
Also involved in the table read were 9-1-1‘s Aisha Hinds, Hollywood‘s Jeremy Pope and How to Get Away with Murder‘s Kendrick Sampson. It was hosted by Gabrielle Union, who made a cameo in an episode of Friends, and directed by Salli Richardson-Whitfield.
Sherri Shepherd played museum tour guide Rhonda in the episode The One With Phoebe’s Uterus, and sent a card to friends, alerting them that she’d be appearing on the show, writing: “Friends get a little colour.”
“[Shepherd] also sent that postcard to [Friends co-creator] Marta [Kauffman], and she got the postcard and [Shepherd] was never asked back on the show,” TV host and Shepherd’s friend Jawn Murray said in a recent TV appearance.
The claim came after Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman apologised for the lack of diversity on the show. “I wish I knew then what I know today,” she said. “Sorry, I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would’ve made very different decisions.
“I mean we’ve always encouraged people of diversity in our company, but I didn’t do enough and now all I can think about is what can I do?”
A number of the cast of Friends reunited for a skit at last weekend’s Emmy Awards. During the virtual ceremony, host Jimmy Kimmel linked up via video to Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green) in her home, before she was joined on the chat by Friends co-stars Courteney Cox (Monica Geller) and Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay).