According to the co-creator of Friends, Julia Roberts didn’t make it easy to snag her for a guest-starring role. Kevin Bright joined others in talking to the Hollywood Reporter. This is in honor of the 25th anniversary of the show’s The One After the Superbowl episode.
In the FRIENDS episode, Julia Roberts played Susie Moss. She was named after writer Michael Borkow’s real-life friend. In the show, she played a former classmate of Matthew Perry’s Chandler Bing seeking some grown-up revenge. This is after a childhood prank left her humiliated.
The 1996 episode became notable because it aired immediately after the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. It also featured a slew of other famous guests. Like, Brooke Shields, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Chris Isaak.
Kevin Bright detailed,
“Do you know the story of how we got [Julia Roberts]? Matthew [Perry, one of the stars] asked her to be on the show. She wrote back to him, ‘Write me a paper on quantum physics and I’ll do it.’ My understanding is that Matthew went away and wrote a paper and faxed it to her the next day.”
Co-creator Marta Kauffman said “getting Julia Roberts was incredibly exciting.” He said,
We knew she would have the right touch for it. And when she said yes, it was pretty awesome.
That faxing went a bit further. Alexa Junge, one of the writers on the show, said Roberts was interested in Perry “from afar because he’s so charming.” She reiterated,
“There was a lot of flirting over faxing. She was giving him these questionnaires like, ‘Why should I go out with you?’ And everyone in the writers room helped him explain to her why.”
Roberts and Perry reportedly dated briefly after her appearance on the show.