LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former “Friends” star Matthew Perry, making another bid for a television comeback, says his characters have got more likeable with every attempt to find success.
The 42-year-old actor, who has largely failed to follow up his fame as the hapless Chandler Bing in the comedy that ended in 2004, returns to television in September as a sports talks radio host who joins a grief counseling group after the death of his wife.
The new comedy “Go On” follows the dark and short-lived series “Mr. Sunshine” in which Perry starred as well as co-creating in 2011, and drama “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” which was canceled after one season in 2006.
“In my efforts to have a TV show and come back, my characters have got nicer... ‘Mr. Sunshine’ was down and out, and now this guy is a nicer and more well-intended guy. You certainly want to play a guy that people want to root for and this guy has that,” Perry told television critics on Tuesday.
The wise-cracking actor said that “Go On” executive producer Scott Silveri “has created a TV show for me better than the one I created for myself... The set-up is better. That guy (in ”Mr. Sunshine“) was in a bad mood, and no one really knew why.”
Perry, who had well publicized problems with alcohol and prescription drug addiction during the later years of “Friends,” was asked what was the best role he had ever had.
“It would be stupid not say this one!” he retorted. “That is potentially true about this part because I get to do a bunch of things at one time. I like to do drama and comedy... One of the scenes in this show gave me one of biggest acting challenges I have had dramatically.”
Perry has struggled to make his mark even as his former “Friends” co-stars have largely found success in movies (Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow), stage (David Schwimmer), and other TV shows (Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc).
Asked what made the 10-year-long comedy series such a huge hit worldwide, Perry replied; “ ‘Friends’ was just great chemistry. It had great writing and great directing and really great acting so a little bit of magic happened there and you never know when that is going to happen.”
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Lisa Shumaker