Olivia Williams Opens Up About The Dark Side Of Filming On Friends

'That's the sense in which it was harrowing'


by Charlotte Roberts |
Published on

The Crown's Olivia Williams has opened up about filming on the set of Friends – and far from funny, the actor’s story has hinted at a darker side to the cult classic TV show.

Known for starring as Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown, many long-term fans of the star will recall her from the season 4 finale of Friends. Starring as Felicity, Olivia had a few lines in the series while starring as the flirty bridesmaid who tries her luck with Joey (Matt LeBlanc).

Running for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004, the American sitcom (featuring Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani and Courteney Cox as Monica Geller) remains a classic that fans can't switch off.


But while many associate Friends with easy laughs, Olivia has opened up about the darker side of filming for the show. Talking to The Independent, the actor – who has previously described her Friends experience as ‘harrowing' - reflected on some less than pleasant set experiences.

She said, ‘Just as an example, I was taken to the studio in a shared car with a wonderful actress whose character, I think, was called Old Woman.'

Noting that the woman was ‘distinguished’ and ‘very good,’ Olivia went on the explain that the actor quickly found herself in the firing line while on set. ‘At one point, a producer – who shall remain nameless – just yelled at her: “You’re not funny!” And she didn’t come back the next day. So that was alarming.’

Olivia also recalled how actors were made to follow specific standards, explaining, ‘Friends was a brand, and you had to fit the brand. You go into hair and make-up and you’re told, “There’s a look here, this is what we do.” And that involved, essentially, plucking off all your eyebrows.'

Recalling that she was often left begging for mercy when transforming into Felicity, Olivia laughed, ‘Literally, don’t take my eyebrows off, I might need them in another job! But yes, that’s the sense in which it was harrowing.’

Olivia Williams stars as Felicity in Friends ©Warner

Olivia (who is set to play Tula Harkonnen in the upcoming Max series Dune: Prophecy) starred as Felicity in ‘The One With Ross’s Wedding,’ a two-part finale of Friends season four. The episode centres follows as the main cast travel to London for Ross’ wedding to Emily (Helen Baxendale), where he infamously said Rachel’s name during his vows.

Last year, the Friends community was rocked following the death of Matthew Perry, who starred as the witty and sarcastic Chandler Bing. Releasing a statement following his death, his cast mates Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Courteney Cox wrote, ‘We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We are more than just cast mates. We are a family.’

Charlotte Roberts is a News and Entertainment Writer for Grazia, writing interviews and features around everything pop culture.

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