- Matthew Perry revealed how Bruce Willis ended up guest starring on “Friends.”
- Perry said his “The Whole Nine Yards” costar wasn’t sure the film would be a hit, so they bet on it.
- Willis lost the bet, so he appeared on season six as Paul Stevens.
Matthew Perry said that Bruce Willis’ Emmy-winning role on “Friends” happened because the “Die Hard” star lost a bet to the sitcom actor.
In his new memoir titled “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,” released on Tuesday, Perry recalled meeting Willis through their roles as Oz Oseransky and Jimmy Tudeski, respectively, in the 2000 comedy “The Whole Nine Yards.”
Perry said that they developed a friendship while working on the film, even though he was struggling with his alcohol and drug addictions at the time.
“There was a big difference between Bruce and me,” Perry said. “Bruce was a partier; I was an addict. Bruce has an on-off button. He can party like crazy, then get a script like ‘The Sixth Sense’ and stop the partying and nail the movie sober. He doesn’t have the gene — he’s not an addict.”
He continued: “Despite the partying, we were all pros on that movie and managed to turn out a huge crowd pleaser.”
“Bruce hadn’t been sure the film would work at all, and I’d bet him it would — if he lost, he had to do a guest spot on ‘Friends.’”
“The Whole Nine Yards” went on to make $106 million worldwide and become the No. 1 movie in America for three weeks straight.
After Willis lost the bet, he guest starred on season six of “Friends” as Paul Stevens, the father of a college girl that Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) dated.
Over the course of the three episodes he appeared in, Paul also had a brief romance with Jennifer Aniston’s character, Rachel Green. Willis’ performance even resulted in the star winning an Emmy for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series.
Perry and Willis reunited a few years later for a sequel to “The Whole Nine Yards,” which flopped at the box office.
“If ‘The Whole Nine Yards’ was the start of my movie stardom, it’s fair to say that ‘The Whole Ten Yards’ was the end,” Perry said.
Regardless, Perry said that he has fond memories of getting to know Willis beyond his movie star persona off-camera.
“Sometimes, at the end of the night, when the sun was just about to come up and everyone else had gone, and the party was over, Bruce and I would just sit and talk,” he said. “That’s when I saw the real Bruce Willis — a good-hearted man, a caring man, selfless. A wonderful parent. And a wonderful actor. And most important, a good guy.”
“And if he wanted me to be, I would be his friend for life,” Perry added. “But as is the way with so many of these things, our paths rarely crossed after that.”