Oh. My. God. Could this be any more exciting?
Janice is arguably one of the most memorable characters from Friends and now, more than 12 years after the beloved sitcom said goodbye, actress Maggie Wheeler is opening up about her iconic role. For the record, Wheeler sounds nothing like her Friends character!
“It started out as a one-shot deal: Come do one episode. And out of that came 10 years of this extraordinary, joyful experience,” the actress, now 55, said on Australia’s This Morning on Monday.
Though Wheeler wasn’t one of the main stars on the show, she appeared at least once during every season of Friends.
“It was always a surprise that she continued to have a life on the show and I was always thrilled that the writers decided to bring me back,” Wheeler continued.
Janice’s memorable laugh was borne out of Wheeler’s need to find a way to react to Friends star Matthew Perry, aka Chandler Bing, with whom she had the majority of her scenes.
“The laugh happened organically in the first rehearsal because I needed to find a way to laugh because Matthew Perry is so funny,” Wheeler revealed. “And working with him, I knew right away. I thought, ‘This guy’s going to make me laugh on set. I gotta be prepared, what am I going to do?’”
“So I created Janice’s laugh as a safety measure for when Matthew made me laugh,” she added.
Wheeler honed in on one specific moment when she knew she was a part of something special.
“The second time they called me,” she said. “They wrote such a great second episode and I thought, ‘Oh, I think we’re onto something here.’”
When asked about the possibility of a Friends movie in the future, Wheeler was diplomatic in her response, but did seem to leave the door open should that ever come to fruition.
“A lot of people ask and I’m sure a lot of people would love it. That part’s out of my control,” she said. “I don’t know what the future holds but wouldn’t it be fun? It’d be great fun.”
Recently, Perry and Matt LeBlanc dished on having a mini Friends reunion on CBS, where they both star on half-hour comedies and film on the same lot in Studio City, California.
“I’ve already seen Matty,” Perry, star of The Odd Couple, told ET earlier this month. “I’ve already bumped into him twice!”
“It’s funny to see him on a lot and not run lines with him,” LeBlanc, who stars on the upcoming Man With a Plan, told ET. “It’s just strange for me. It’s like, ‘What scene are you -- why are you out here? Oh no, no, no, you’re on a different show now!’ That was 20 years ago, nevermind!”