As long as there are an infinite number of holidays, there will always be holiday ensemble comedies. But Friendsgiving one might be one that we can give thanks for. Produced by Ben Stiller and starring an all-star cast of comedians that includes Malin Akerman, Kat Dennings, Chelsea Peretti, Christine Taylor, Jane Seymour, and more, Friendsgiving has just been picked up by Saban Films with a planned theatrical release for long after Thanksgiving. But hey, being thankful is a year-round experience.
Saban Films announced that it has acquired the U.S. rights to Friendsgiving, an ensemble comedy directed by Funny People and The Big Gay Sketch Show actress Nicol Paone in her directorial debut. The film is set to star Malin Akerman, Kat Dennings, Chelsea Peretti, Christine Taylor, Jane Seymour, Aisha Tyler, Deon Cole, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, and Fortune Feimster in a comedy that follows a “motley crew of close friends” during the new Thanksgiving tradition celebrated by friend groups across the country and inspired partly by the popularity of the Friends episodes set during the holiday.
Here is the synopsis for Friendsgiving:
Friendsgiving follows Molly Akerman, a glamorous, newly divorced actor, and Abby Dennings, her recently-dumped lesbian best friend. Together, along with their motley crew of close friends and strange acquaintances, they host a dysfunctional, comical and chaotic Thanksgiving dinner.
Saban Films, which is behind such independent films as Lizzie, Night Hunter, and the upcoming Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, plans to release the film in 2020, presumably during Thanksgiving.
“We are thrilled to be championing Friendsgiving along with Red Hour and Endeavor Content,” said Saban Films’ Bill Bromiley. “This is a witty and relatable story, along with an outstanding and endearing ensemble cast that our audiences will be enjoying next holiday season.”
But unlike other cheesy holiday-themed ensemble movies that sprung up in the wake of Love, Actually like Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, etc., the holiday in Friendsgiving doesn’t seem as central to the plot of the movie. With Ben Stiller producing alongside Nicholas Weinstock and Haroon Saleem for Red Hour Films, it seems more like a straight-up comedy than a holiday-themed studio cash grab. Akerman is also producing while Tara L. Craig is executive producing.
British talk show host Graham Norton, ever the master of assembling celebrities who wouldn’t otherwise be in the same room and then plying them with wine, most recently assigned Ian McKellen to the task of quizzing Jennifer Aniston on just how well she knows her iconic “Friends” character, Rachel. However, it turns out that Julie Andrews is the savviest of “Friends” experts, and she was joined on “The Graham Norton Show” by Reese Witherspoon to relive Rachel’s best moments. In the clip below, Aniston reminisces about Rachel’s notoriously awful cooking — “if it says boil two cups of salt, you boil two cups of salt!” — and Andrews has a keen memory of Rachel and Ross David Schwimmer going on their infamous “break.”
Aniston and Witherspoon currently headline the Apple TV+ flagship series “The Morning Show,” which is being beaten against the rocks by critics. Despite “The Leftovers” alum Mimi Leder heading up direction on the series, it fell flat for IndieWire’s Ben Travers as well. The series is inspired by CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter's 2013 book “Top of the Morning,” which explored the morning show rivalry between NBC's “Today” and ABC's “Good Morning America.”
The series is written by Kerry Ehrin of “Bates Motel” and directed by “Leftovers” and “On the Basis of Sex” helmer Leder, both of whom also serve as executive producers on the new show. “The Morning Show” marks the return of both Carell to television, where he established himself with the comedy series “The Office,” and Aniston, made immortal by “Friends.”
This is surely the most high-profile series of Apple TV+'s recent bow, with other shows including the post-apocalyptic drama “See” from Steven Knight “Peaky Blinders” and starring Jason Momoa, and the Hailee Steinfeld-led “Dickinson,” about the reclusive poet. Pro tip — if you have the latest iPhone, Apple will offer you its streaming service free of charge for a year. Otherwise, it’s set at a cool $4.99 per month.
Dame Julie Andrews, meanwhile, is set to receive the AFI Life Achievement Award next year, and is currently in production on the period series “Bridgerton.” Most recently, she lent her voice to 2018’s “Aquaman.”
After amassing close to $3M from Friends 25th: The One With the Anniversary back in September, Fathom Events and Warner Bros. TV are bringing the hit TV series back to the big screen for a two nights with Friendsgiving on Nov. 24 at 7PM and Nov. 25 at 4PM.
Each day will feature four Friends episodes that have been newly remastered in 4K from the original 35mm camera negative, including such moments as Monica putting a Turkey on her head, Rachel making a curious trifle cake, Ross revealing an old secret, Chandler declaring his love for Monica, Joey devouring an entire turkey and Phoebe exposing something curious about Chandler's canine allergy. Tickets go on sale tomorrow on Fathom’s website.
The Friends 25th Anniversary event drew 230K fans nationwide over three days, making it the second-highest grossing U.S. event cinema release of the year.
“Fans showed up in full force for our initial Friends screenings, so we know there is demand for more,” said Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt in a statement. “We're excited to put eight classic episodes on the big screen for fans to celebrate with their friends, just in time for Thanksgiving.”
Warner Bros. Television Group President & Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Gregorian said, “Fathom's events offer our incredible Friends fans an opportunity to enjoy a shared viewing experience. These Thanksgiving-themed episodes were digitally remastered for theaters and we hope the fans enjoy coming together to feast on these classics and celebrate with a Happy Friendsgiving.”
As part of the Friends celebration and her new Apple+ series The Morning Show, Jennifer Aniston opened an Instagram account and crashed the social media site as she drew close to 9M followers in her first day off one Friends reunion photo post. She currently counts 17.9M followers with that initial photo earning 14.7M likes.
After The Office ended in 2013, series regular John Krasinski was hellbent on doing something that proved he wasn’t just a workplace funny man. He took roles in Michael Bay’s military drama 13 Hours, co-starred in the tearjerking indie dramedy The Hollars which he also directed, took the lead role in Amazon’s Jack Ryan series, and wrote, directed and starred in A Quiet Place. Now Krasinski is finally stepping back into the world of comedy, and he’ll have some welcome company.
Imaginary Friends is a new fantasy comedy set up at Paramount Pictures that will team up John Krasinski with Deadpool star and all-around smart ass, Ryan Reynolds. You can probably guess what the movie is about based on the title.
Variety has word on Imaginary Friends lining up Krasinski and Reynolds to star. Paramount picked up the script in a bidding war, beating out Lionsgate and Sony for the deal. Their enthusiasm was probably bolstered by how successful A Quiet Place was for them.
In addition to starring, Krasinski is also slated to write, direct and produce, expanding his career behind the camera. Krasinski hasn’t actually directed a straight-up comedy feature yet. The Hollars comes close since it does have a good amount of laughs in it, thought it’s also one of those heartfelt indie family dramas at its core. But Krasinski did direct three episodes of The Office while he was on the show, so he’s no stranger to directing comedy. Though this movie sounds like it might have a bit of a darker side.
Imaginary Friends follows a man who can see and talk to people’s imaginary friends, though we’re not sure whether Krasinski or Reynolds is playing that role. The premise sounds fun, but there’s trouble around the corner as some of the imaginary friends who have lost their real buddies start to turn to the dark side. That sounds rather ominous, but this is a fantasy comedy, so we’re probably not talking about these imaginary friends murdering people all willy-nilly, right?
As of now, it’s not clear when Paramount Pictures plans to sent Imaginary Friends into production. Krasinski will be busy wrapping up A Quiet Place 2, which is slated for release on March 20, 2020. Plus, Reynolds just wrapped up a deal to star in a musical take on A Christmas Carol with Will Ferrell, and he recently made a stop by Marvel Studios, so who knows what that will result in down the road. But we’ll let you know when we hear more.
It's crazy to think that it's been 25 years since Friends premiered on NBC on September 22, 1994, to be exact given that the enormously popular staple of “Must See TV” is somehow now more popular than ever. Thanks to years of airing on syndication and streaming on Netflix for now, anyway, generation after generation keeps continuing to discover the show — and by proxy, learn that Ross is still the worst, after all these years.
Perhaps in part of an effort to connect with these younger audiences or promote her upcoming Apple+ show, series star and notable social media holdout Jennifer Aniston officially joined Instagram on Tuesday morning. And what better way to make an instant splash on the platform than to post a selfie — albeit a grainy, poorly cropped selfie with poor lighting — of herself along with her Friends costars Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer.
“And now we're Instagram FRIENDS too. HI INSTAGRAM,” Aniston captioned the photo.
Interestingly enough, just days before her decision, Aniston opened up about her reluctance to social media during a chat alongside her Morning Show costar Reese Witherspoon with Entertainment Tonight. Though she did admit that Witherspoon has pointed out some upsides to social media and has made it “sound intriguing.”
“What you resist, persists,” Aniston said, referring to the immutability of social media's presence in our society. “It's something that is a part of our world now and it's not going away.”
“You can actually have a little bit more control over the narrative that's out there,” Aniston said. “[You can] right some wrongs and some silly things that, God knows, are said often.”
“Maybe,” Aniston said with a shrug when asked if fans could expect to see her on Instagram anytime soon. “You never know.”
As they say, never say never ... except when it comes to an actual Friends reunion, which the cast has resisted while making it clear that they are never, ever, ever getting back together.
Paul Rudd’s doing the rounds for Living With Yourself, his Netflix TV series that arrives on October 18. That’s the TV show with two Paul Rudds, one who’s full of ennui and one that loves life. Yes, it’s a lot like Multiplicity but pretty darn bingeworthy, and Rudd’s been trying very hard to promote while not suggesting MCU spoilers although Kevin Feige has been more forthcoming in that department related to Scott Lang/Ant-Man. With that in mind, Rudd’s now circling back to non-spoiler territory with material that’s as popular as Marvel, which means that he’s talking about Friends, on which he popped up very late in the game to woo and marry Lisa Kudrow’s Phoebe Buffay.
Rudd was as charming as expected in his brief stint on the series, which was intended to be even briefer and only last a few episodes. Fortunately, we received a healthy amount seventeen episodes of his Michael Hannigan character, who even lovingly threatened to change his name to “Crap Bag” to dissuade Phoebe from legally becoming Princess Consuela Bananahammock. Good times! However, Rudd didn’t exactly get along swimmingly with Jennifer Aniston on the set. Although the two later worked together on Wanderlust, Rudd told talk show host Graham Norton over the weekend that he felt so awkward being included in the series finale, and that turned into him approaching Aniston while she hugged a producer and making a fool out of himself. Ouch:
“I was only coming on for a couple of episodes, it turned into a few more, but it was nearing the end of the show, which was a phenomenon … I was in the last episode, which made no sense to me whatsoever. I thought, I’m not supposed to be there. So to break the ice I went over and just went, ‘We did it, huh? What a ride.’ The joke inevitably fell flat.”
That’s awkward enough, but the two had an earlier run-in when Rudd joined the series. As he explained to Norton, Aniston rode a Segway on set after breaking a toe, and Rudd decided to take a spin on the contraption but “spun ’round and rolled it right over Jennifer’s foot!” Naturally, “I felt awful. Such an inauspicious start.” Fortunately, no permanent damage appears to have been done, given that Aniston recovered from the incident, but that’s definitely not the best first day to have on a job. It would be a bad day at any stage, but both of their careers continued to cruise along nicely. Rudd should stick to dancing, and no more Segway-ing, from now until the end of time.