Twenty-five years later, it is difficult to imagine anyone other than Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green — and, as it turns out, Aniston was able to bring her iconic Friends role to life because she rejected another huge opportunity. Aniston described several run-ins with Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels back in the early ’90s and recalled Michaels asking her to join the cast right before she signed on to play Rachel in 1994, in a Monday interview with Howard Stern.
Why did she turn down the offer? “I didn’t think that I would like that environment. [Adam] Sandler was there, [David] Spade was there...it was such a boys’ club,” Aniston told Stern. With a laugh, she added that, when she met up with Michaels, “I was like, ‘I think women need to be treated better here.’”
In a 2011 segment on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Sandler shared a similar story about Aniston. “We wanted Aniston to be on the show with us. I remember being on the ninth floor, where Lorne Michaels’ office was, and seeing Jen come in. I was like, ‘Wow! I’m gonna be working with Aniston?’” he said. Michaels told Sandler that Aniston had turned the show down in favor of another NBC project, and he remembered thinking, “‘She said no? She’s gonna do that Friends? What the hell is Friends?’”
Decades later, though, Aniston doesn’t seem to have any regrets. “We all miss [Friends] every day. I would be nothing without it,” she told Stern. But when he asked about a potential revival — we are, after all, on the heels of the show’s 25th anniversary — she sounded dubious. “I really think there’s an idea that if there’s a reboot of the show, it won’t be even close to as good as what it was. So why do it?”