sparked some scathing commentary about Matthew Perry
, and director Ben Winston is having none of it.
Winston, who pitched the idea for the “Friends” reunion special that aired on HBO Max
last week, spoke candidly on Friday with The Hollywood
Reporter’s podcast “TV’s Top 5” about the reaction to Perry’s appearance on the special.
While the actor who played Chandler Bing has long been open about his struggles with substance abuse and stints in rehab facilities, many wondered if Perry was "fine" after the reunion because he rarely spoke during it.
#FriendsReunion pic.twitter.com/OYWDihokHW — Shravanii (@ShravaniiJ) May 28, 2021
One thing that made me sad while watching the Friends Reunion was seeing how unhappy Matthew Perry appeared. Chandler is my all-time favorite TV show character, and seeing the man who played the character so unhappy breaks my heart. I hope he's okay. — vikarworld (@vikarworld) May 28, 2021
I wish people
would leave Matthew Perry alone and stop making a big deal
about his appearance. The guy has been through so much and struggled with addiction
, especially while filming Friends, that even doing that reunion was obviously difficult for him. Have some compassion. — Damon Fizzy (@deefizzy) May 28, 2021
When asked about Perry's health and whether he was fine, Winston told The Hollywood Reporter that Perry was "great."
“People can be unkind at times. 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,” he explained, adding, “I felt just happy and lucky to be in his presence and directing him on something like this.”
In a separate interview
, "Friends" producer Kevin Bright said it "was great seeing" Perry and that "what people say is what people say."
“I think he’s fine; he appears stronger and better since the last time I saw him, and he seems excited about the future,” he said.
Perry's representatives did not respond to Stardia's request for comment right away.
In the United States
, call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline if you need assistance with a substance use disorder or a mental health