In 2021, people are more forward-thinking than ever, and providing audiences with an opportunity to learn more about the characters’ lives would help them resonate much more in a modern world.
10. Honourable Mention: Paul Rudd Returns As Mike Hannigan
We all remember Paul Rudd as Phoebe’s lovable, albeit sometimes goofy boyfriend that first appeared the penultimate season of Friends. Mike Hannigan was found by pure chance when Joey told Phoebe that he would set her up with an “old friend called Mike”.
His re-appearance would certainly excite Friends fans and it would allow for viewers new and old to have a connection with a rebooted, 21st-century adaptation of the series.
9. Melora Hardin As Judy Geller
Monica’s awkward, hysterical mother was originally portrayed by the wonderful Christina Pickles. Judy Geller needs to be played by an actress that can handle serious, emotional conversations, as well as being awkward enough to cringe at difficult moments with the Geller offspring.
It ought to be noted, also, that Hardin would actually also be returning to the cast, albeit in a much less obvious role than Paul Rudd. She made a brief appearance in the season one episode “The One With The Stoned Guy”, as Ross’ short-term girlfriend Celia. She was affectionately known by the Friends as “the bug lady”.
Overall, Melora Hardin seems like an excellent candidate to take over the role of the Gellers’ overbearing mother, in this hypothetical recasting.
8. Rainn Wilson As Jack Geller
A former colleague of Hardin’s on The Office turned husband in this Friends reboot concept – Rainn Wilson should play the fun but firm, Jack Geller.
He showed his chemistry with Melora Hardin in many scenes during the show – whenever they would share the screen they created some of the show’s most memorable moments.
The relationship that he has already forged with Hardin would make for a fantastic pairing on screen in a modern-day Friends reboot.
7. Michael Cera As Gunther
A character such as Gunther requires a very specific type of actor. Someone that can handle themselves when being portrayed as the “weirdo” character in ensemble scenes.
Michael Cera possesses the natural awkwardness to take on the role of Gunther in 2021.
Now… onto the main cast.
6. Katherine Langford As Phoebe Buffay
The first member of the original six Friends to be recast in this hypothetical reboot is none other than Phoebe Buffay.
She has the talent to demonstrate a complex backstory such as Phoebe’s, but she can also provide comic relief in scenes that would otherwise become overly emotional. Examples of Langford’s comedic work can be found during her appearances on Robot Chicken.
The perfect replacement for Lisa Kudrow in a modern-day launch of Friends would undoubtedly be Katherine Langford. She holds a moderate resumé without being too high-profile (which is one of the key criteria for selecting these cast members), and would bring a refreshing new outlook on such a brilliant character.
5. Lili Reinhart As Rachel Greene
Rachel Greene is arguably the character that shows the most personal growth throughout the show’s run. She arrives as the rich, snobby girl that lives off of her father’s money and always puts her own desires first.
Also, she has displayed a wide range of acting credits, with her roles in ‘Hustlers’ and ‘Chemical Hearts’ being two vastly different examples of her impeccable talent. This range would be beneficial in portraying the often varied moods of Rachel Greene.
4. Kaitlyn Dever As Monica Geller
The character of Monica Geller is an obsessive neat-freak, whilst also being the “mother” of the group. She is the omnipresent host of all the gatherings throughout the show and she is seen to look after the group over the years.
She ought to be played by Kaitlyn Dever.
Dever would be well-suited for the role of Monica due to her versatility and experience, given her young age.
3. Ezra Miller As Ross Geller
This casting is slightly different to the rest of this list, namely due to this person’s success and mainstream fame already.
They are able to present themself as a loveable loser, much like the eldest Geller. Miller is able to hold their own when in the background of the group, but also shines when scenes are focused on them.
A misfit character who becomes the focus of a “will they, won’t they?” story throughout the first few seasons of the show, Ross Geller needs to be taken on by an actor that can handle the emotional turmoil of their relationship with Rachel.
2. Joe Keery As Chandler Bing
Chandler Bing is one of the most emotionally diverse characters in the Friends cast, with his sad backstory combined with his comedic defence mechanism. He is also seen as the secondary heartthrob, second only to Joey Tribbiani.
The perfect person to portray Chandler on Friends in 2021 would be Joe Keery.
His work on the Netflix exclusive allowed him to generate a bond with his castmates and displayed maturity beyond his years. This would enable him to bring Chandler Bing to life and capture the authenticity of the love that the Friends carry for one another. In addition, Joe Keery would be able to handle the pressure of being the comic relief in most episodes of the series, while also maintaining the strong, nurturing relationship that he forms with Monica Geller over the show’s run.
1. Timothée Chalamet As Joey Tribbiani
The final choice for this modern-day recasting is one that has to be perfect, as he is heralded by many as their favourite character. It is none other than the magnificent, Joey Tribbiani.
Matt LeBlanc’s original portrayal of the Italian-born casanova was iconic, causing audiences over the world to fall in love with Joey so much, that he eventually got his own spin-off – which wasn’t held in the same regard as Friends – and fans still quote his historic line, “How You Doin’?”
Laughing at the out-of-work Italian actor in Joey Tribbiani would carry extra weight when audiences know of Chalamet’s own stage background. Suggesting that he is unable to get a job in any productions whilst also being a modern starlet in real life would create a stark contrast and open the door for on-the-nose comedy.
Timothée Chalamet would bring a more dramatic edge to the role while also cementing his position as the star heartthrob of the show.