The director of the Friends reunion has defended Matthew Perry after he experienced online hate.
Perry, 51, was the subject of some unkind comments on social media when the trailer was released by HBO Max. Later, it was revealed he was slurring his speech due to emergency dental surgery prior to filming.
The director of the streaming special Ben Winston spoke to The Hollywood Reporter’s TV Top 5 podcast and reflected on the public perception of Perry.
“He was great,” he told the podcast.
“People can sometimes be unkind,” he said. “I wish they weren’t.”
“I loved working with him. He’s a brilliantly funny man and I thought he had some great one-liners in the show,” Winston said.
“I felt just happy and lucky to be in his presence and directing him on something like this.”
Kevin S Bright, an executive producer on Friends, told the outlet in another interview: “And what people say is what people say. I don’t have anything to say about that, except that it was great to see him.”
Bright said Perry seems “stronger and better” since the last time he met with the actor.
Perry, who played Chandler Bing on the hit comedy show, was honest about his struggles when filming Friends, explaining he often “freaked out” when he thought a joke didn’t land.
“To me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn’t laugh. And it’s not healthy, for sure,” Perry admitted to his former castmates.
“But I would sometimes say a line and they wouldn’t laugh and I would sweat and just go into convulsions if I didn’t get the laugh I was supposed to get. I would freak out,” he added.
Perry has struggled with an addiction to heroin in the past and first went to rehab in 1997 after becoming addicted to Vicodin following an injury. In 2000, he was hospitalised due to alcohol abuse and returned to rehab.
Despite some tough times over the years, the actor has managed to make positive changes in his life, US Weekly reports.
After returning to rehab in 2011 to focus on his sobriety, Perry opened a men’s sober living facility at his Malibu beach house in 2013 and has focused on helping others ever since.
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