Despite being a fantastic performer, Matthew Perry did not reach movie star status.


Doug Ross, known for his role on TV’s ER, successfully transitioned to the film industry. David Addison, the witty and bald private detective from TV’s Moonlighting, also made a name for himself in movies. Will Smith, who rose to fame as the West Philadelphia native in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, also found success in the world of film.

Why wasn’t Chandler Bing considered for a successful film career like George Clooney, Bruce Willis, and Will Smith? Could Matthew Perry, the talented actor who charmed audiences as the ultimate friend and epitome of a great sense of humor on TV, have also found success as a filmmaker like Ron Howard, who played Richie Cunningham on Happy Days?

Actually, he was able to and did. Perry created numerous intriguing independent films, did notable work on television dramas with Aaron Sorkin, and penned a popular play for both London’s West End and Broadway. However, he was unable to recreate his immense success on television and iconic status on the small screen in Hollywood, despite attempting to use his career achievements and invest them in the film industry.

If he had fully overcome his addiction problems or if they had never existed in a different reality, it is possible that things could have turned out differently. However, this speculation is meaningless as his struggles were likely a part of his overall personality. These difficulties would have made it challenging to insure Perry for major studio projects. In the post-Friends era, his movie career focused more on selecting preferred scripts and supporting independent funding through his involvement. But even this idea is not entirely accurate. Robert Downey Jr., known for his well-known history with drugs, ended up becoming a major name in the world of corporate studio superhero films.

Unfortunately, Perry could have had a career similar to Jesse Eisenberg’s if he had been luckier. He could have portrayed characters like Mark Zuckerberg and Lex Luthor and written clever tales for publications like the New Yorker and McSweeney’s.

The reason behind this is related to the allure of being famous on television, the thrill of having a recognizable image worldwide, and the stability of a lucrative job in your twenties that rivals that of the highest paid celebrities in Hollywood. Perry’s success coincided with television gaining more respect and there was less pressure to prove oneself in other forms of media. Nowadays, no one would belittle television or Perry’s accomplishments on it.

The cast of Friends were exceptional in their delivery of jokes, using physical comedy to elicit laughter from the live audience (unlike the quiet atmosphere of a film studio, where actors may catch a glimpse of the director’s unsmiling reflection in the video playback light).

Monica, Joey, Ross, Rachel, and Phoebe had captivating expressions, distinct voices, and vibrant personalities that captured the audience’s attention. Chandler Bing stood out even more because he was the designated funny one, responsible for making both his friends and viewers at home laugh. Perry, who also helped write the show, was fully aware of his own comedic triumph in his ongoing television role.

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The film industry is diverse. According to legend, when Steven Spielberg first encountered a young George Clooney, he foresaw a successful career for him – on the condition that he stopped his habit of awkwardly moving his head. And that’s exactly what Clooney did. Of course, it’s not as simple as that, but it’s crucial to control mannerisms – which can be challenging if they have contributed to your rise to fame. As you enter your 30s and 40s, like former Mouseketeer Ryan Gosling, it’s necessary to develop a sense of stillness and focus in order to convincingly portray a variety of characters.

Perry created enjoyable romantic comedies, like the charming Three to Tango and the well-received 17 Again, which holds a unique and interesting meaning for Perry. In the film, he portrays a disenchanted man in his middle-age who is reborn as a teenager played by Zac Efron.

Unfortunately, the film industry’s strict adherence to genres, expectations, and intellectual property prevented Perry from reaching his full potential as a talented performer, character actor, and writer in movies. In contrast, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, known for her outstanding roles in Seinfeld and Veep, has found success as a character actress in films directed by Nicole Holofcener and other filmmakers. Perry had the potential to follow a similar path, but his memorable performances in the popular sitcom Friends have solidified his place in the hall of fame. It is a loss for the film industry.