Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Matthew Perry Reinventing Career with Little Help from Friends

Matthew Perry reinventing career with little help from Friends

Matthew Perry, who most of the American public knows as Chandler from Friends, is about to debut on the small screen as a younger Senator Ted Kennedy, opposite Katie Holmes, who will reprise her role as Jackie Kennedy. Perry told the Associated Press he took the job because it “scared” him, and he called it the most challenging of his career. It may also be the role that could be a breakout in his career.

Now, it might sound strange to say an already successful TV star is about to have a breakout role, but it’s a fair assessment. Matthew Perry may have more fame than he did when the show that made him famous started, but he also has to deal with the fact that most everyone sees him and immediately pictures snarky jokester Chandler.

Perry already tried to strike TV gold a second time, with a remake of The Odd Couple. But the show just couldn’t get off the ground. Too derivative, too much of a remake … ground tread far too often by actors who didn’t have another character superimposed on their identities in the minds of the viewing public.

Successfully navigating a career in entertainment after being typecast by beloved fans can be a difficult task. Some manage better than others. Harrison Ford was able to be both Han Solo and Indiana Jones at the same time. Then he went on to a prolific Hollywood career, while his co-stars will always be remembered for their Star Wars roles.

Similarly, many of Perry’s Friends co-stars have struggled since the show wrapped. Jennifer Aniston has managed the best, with a few Hollywood RomComs under her belt. Others, like Perry, have tried - and failed - to find another hit on the small screen. Fans just can’t quite see them as anyone other than their beloved Friends characters.

While some actors eventually make peace with this, earning a living on the convention circuit being the characters that made them famous, others struggle for years before giving up on entertainment altogether.

Perry is walking a fine line. While he hasn’t done too much in the years since Friends, that might work in his favor. People have had time to move on. Perry has aged and, while he still looks like the wise-cracking Chandler, there’s enough ‘different’ about him to more easily slip into another role.

Matthew Perry reinventing career with little help from Friends

He’s also done a bit of navel gazing, getting in touch with who he really wants to be, a future, as he told the AP, that includes writing. Perry wrote and starred in a successful stage production, “The End of Longing.” The play worked in London, and Perry told the AP he hopes to bring it to The Big Apple soon.

The play is definitely a departure, more of a serious, adult, dramatic role, and that may be just what the doctor ordered as Perry transitions into a post-Chandler world. But the question remains: “will the public let him?”

David Milberg is a financial analyst in NYC. He is a long-time owner of Milberg Factors, a factoring and finance company with locations in New York, California, and North Carolina.

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