Life after Ross: David Schwimmer post-FriendsWatch it now
He was plucked from a career in the theatre to become one of TV’s biggest stars. Meet the brainy one, David Schwimmer.
Ladies and gentlemen, can we have an OMG? (And all the tissues!) It’s Friends: The Reunion! Also known as The One Where They Get Back Together, the almost two-hour TV special just started streaming on Showmax.
Now in their 50s, Courteney Cox (Monica), Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), Matt LeBlanc (Joey), Matthew Perry (Chandler), and David Schwimmer (Ross) bring us all the feels as they return to the iconic comedy’s original soundstage for a real-life unscripted celebration of the beloved show, including a line-up of guest stars and celebrities from host James Corden to Reese Witherspoon, David Beckham to Justin Bieber.
Friends has an 8.4/10 score on IMDb where, surprise!, it’s at #2 on the Most Popular TV list, and still at #53, IMDb Top Rated TV of all time, 17 years after the finale aired in 2004. The series won 77 awards over the course of its 10-season run, including six Emmys.
The road to Ross
The role of Monica’s brother, dinosaur-obsessed paleontologist Dr Ross Geller, was written expressly with David Schwimmer in mind, though would you believe the actor had to be cajoled into reading for the part by his agent?
Ross and Jennifer Aniston’s character, Rachel, were the show’s iconic on-again/off-again couple – so much so that TV Guide named the pairing the greatest “Will They/Won’t They” TV couple of all time – but we (and Phoebe) always knew Rachel was Ross’s lobster.
Ross had a son named Ben (played by Cole Sprouse, years before he starred in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and later, Riverdale) from a previous marriage, but it was the birth of his and Rachel’s daughter, Emma, that ultimately sealed the deal for our favourite couple, and Season 10 of Friends ended with them together at last.
But would they have stayed that way? “Absolutely”, says Jennifer, telling David on The Reunion, “We ended up getting married. We had some kids, and you still play with bones.” It’s enough to put us in a state of true unagi.
But David has something to tell his co-star too, and it starts with, “The first season, I had a major crush on…” Cue the jaw drop (and us grabbing those trusty tissues) when it comes out that in real life, a certain someone was crushing hard on a certain someone else… who was crushing just as hard on them! Well, where did you think that magical Ross and Rachel chemistry came from?
The Reunion also promises treats like Ross’s armadillo costume being modelled by a celebrity guest, and… “The parents are here!” Christina Pickles and Elliott Gould, who played Ross and Monica’s parents, Judy and Jack Geller, are in the audience for the show. Suffice to say, there’s a lot of love being thrown around.
There was one co-star David didn’t love though – David reveals that Marcel, Ross’s pet monkey, was always messing up the choreography. “You didn’t have to deal with it,” he says as Jennifer and Matthew collapse in fits of laughter. “It would sit on my shoulder and the trainer would come up and give the monkey live grubs to eat. … I’d have monkey grubby hands all over!”
Grubby monkey hands may not have been a career highlight for David, but his Emmy-nominated 10-year stint as Ross showcased his versatility as an actor – and that adorable hangdog expression – leading to his pick of diverse roles in the years that followed.
By the time Friends came to an end in 2004, David had starred opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in the romcom movie The Pallbearer, followed by roles in Kissing a Fool, Six Days, Seven Nights, and Apt Pupil, as well as the classic miniseries Band of Brothers.
David’s growing reputation as a comedic talent saw him guest on hit comedies like Curb Your Enthusiasm, and later 30 Rock, while Friends fans were treated to mini reunions like David’s appearance alongside Matt LeBlanc in an episode of Episodes, and his four-ep story arc as a patient obsessed with Lisa Kudrow’s narcissistic therapist character in her comedy series, Web Therapy, in 2012.
Other memorable roles included voicing Melman, the hypochondriac giraffe in Dreamworks’ animated Madagascar movie franchise, and starring in American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson, where his portrayal of lawyer Robert Kardashian earned him his second Emmy nomination.
Most recently, David delighted fans when he popped up as Grace’s love interest, a blogger named Noah, on the rebooted Will & Grace. He also joined the all-star cast of Steven Soderbergh’s 2019 crime comedy The Laundromat, and starred in the 2020 British comedy series Intelligence, where he plays a cringingly awkward NSA agent.
Having founded The Lookingglass Theatre Company early in his career, David made his West End debut in 2005’s Some Girl(s), and his Broadway debut in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial in 2006.
The actor has also found success behind the camera. Few fans realised during the Friends years that David was quietly trying his hand at directing, helming 10 episodes behind the scenes. He directed two episodes of Matt’s Friends spin-off series Joey, before making his 2007 feature film directorial debut with the comedy Run, Fat Boy, Run, starring Simon Pegg and Thandiwe Newton. Following a stint as director on Little Britain USA, David took on the story of a young girl targeted by an online predator in the drama Trust, which starred Clive Owen and Catherine Keener.
Off-screen, David is an active director of the Rape Treatment Center in Santa Monica, which supports victims of date rape and child rape, and has campaigned for legislation to ban drugs like Rohypnol and GHB.
As for his personal life, David married British artist and photographer Zoë Buckman in 2010, and the pair welcomed a baby girl named Cleo the following year. They split amicably in 2017, which – as far as we know – leaves David single right now, just when a certain former co-star of his happens to be single – as far as we know … just saying. And who can blame us for a little wishful thinking?
Speaking of wishful thinking, much as we would love to hear Ross announce on Friends: The Reunion, “We were [just] on a break!”, the series’ creators have repeatedly denied rumours of a Friends reboot, so the special is as close as we’re getting to a comeback.
Not that the actors, or the studio, will suffer financially if Friends is never rebooted. Warner Bros reportedly still earns around $1bn a year from syndication of the evergreen show, according to USA Today. Even with the six main cast members earning just two percent of that, their annual income from reruns reportedly comes to $20m each…
Watch the trailer: https://youtu.be/
Watch Friends: The Reunion on Showmax: