Friends reunion director reveals why guest stars Paul Rudd & Cole Sprouse didn't appear after fan backlash

Friends reunion director, Ben Winston, revealed why regular guest stars Paul Rudd and Cole Sprouse didn't appear on the HBO special.

Despite fan backlash, Ben shared their absence was due to show time and scheduling.

Ben told The Wrap, of the absences of Paul Rudd, who portrayed Phoebe's husband, Mike, and Cole Sprouse who played Ross' son Ben: "Well, we couldn't have everybody on, because it's only an hour and 45 minutes. And you've got to pay attention — the main nub of the show has got to be about the six cast members.

"So you can't have too many cameos because of course, there were hundreds of amazing people who were in Friends over the years. Sadly, we couldn't get everybody in."

He went on: "You know, we did invite some people who weren't able to make it.

"It's a complicated time to be making television now because, you know, some people couldn't fly internationally, some people were on other TV or film shoots, some people are in bubbles on stuff."

Ben also shared the pandemic made working with different filming schedules challenging, saying: "I think during a pandemic, it's really hard to get everybody where you want to be. And the other thing, of course, is we have no flexibility.

"It was one night that those six [main cast members] were available. The timing of it was incredibly difficult. So, you know, if you weren't available on the seventh of April at 8 p.m., then, sadly, they weren't able to be part of it.

"Yeah, we couldn't get everybody in. It's just one of those things. I hope people will think about all the great things that are in there rather than the things that aren't."

Fans were also upset Robin Williams, Christina Applegate, Jeff Goldblum and Anna Faris, Hank Azaria, Giovanni Ribisi didn’t even get a mention.

Fans took to Twitter to share their confusion on why some people were missed.

One viewer said: “Only thing missing from the friends reunion was Paul Rudd.”

A second wrote: “Do we know why Paul Rudd wasn't part of the Friends reunion?”

There were guest appearances from our favorite New Yorker Janice (Maggie Wheeler) and handsome eye doctor Richard (Tom Selleck).

James Michael Taylor as Gunter, Joey’s hand twin, Reese Witherspoon as Jill Rachel’s sister and the barbershop quartet also made a surprise appearance.

The charming Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles, who played Jack and Judy Gelle, appeared in the audience during James Cordon’s interview with the cast.

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