Wait, WHO was supposed to play Ross and Rachel’s nanny on Friends?

Friends fans, which we assume is almost all of us, will probably remember the show’s 200th episode, “The One With the Male Nanny.” If not for Ross’s seriously problematic disgust by the prospect of a man taking care of baby Emma (yeah, this show hasn’t always aged that well), then for Freddie Prinze Jr., the guest star who played the titular nanny. But Prinze Jr. just dropped some truly stunning news: Tom Hanks was supposed to play the nanny. TOM. HANKS. We’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.


Prinze told the whole shocking tale in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly.

“I wasn’t even supposed to be [Sandy], that was originally offered to Tom Hanks but he wasn’t gonna make it back from his film on time," he said. "And so my agent called me and said, ‘Do you want to be on Friends? And I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do an episode of Friends. That’ll be great.’ He said, ‘Yeah, it shoots tomorrow.’ and I was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Yes, tomorrow so I’ll send you the script.'

Beyond the revelation to end all revelations, Prinze offered EW some sweet memories of his experience on the Friends set.

It seems that David Schwimmer, who plays Ross, was Prinze’s number-one supporter—which Prinze appreciated, as he was understandably nervous to appear on one of the most famous shows in the history of all shows.

“I went in and I was totally nervous because it was on the day of shooting," he said. "I didn’t even get to do a read-through. And David Schwimmer walked into my dressing room and he was so cool and so passionate and he had so much energy. He came into the room and was like, ‘You’re going to love this, man. It’s like a little two-act play and the crowd is so engaged, and so into it. You’ll have a ton of fun, don’t worry about a thing.’

The Netflix description for this episode is literally “Ross jealously mocks Rachel’s choice of an oversensitive male nanny for Emma,” so it’s nice to know that life doesn’t always imitate art.

Oh, and remember how Sandy plays Emma “Greensleeves” on the recorder to help her fall asleep? Prinze says that he learned the instrument just a few hours before shooting, so he was nervous he would mess up the song. (Also understandable.) But here, again, Schwimmer swooped in as his hype man. As Prinze recalls, Schwimmer said, “‘I heard you practicing, man. You’re going to crush the song.’”

Okay, but who else is having so much fun imagining Tom Hanks playing a 16th-century English folk tune on the recorder?

Between this, Jennifer Aniston joining Instagram, and a Friends reunion on HBO Max purportedly in the works, we’ve been absolutely spoiled with Friends news this month. We’re secretly hoping that next week brings us news that Tom Hanks is on board with the reunion. They made a role for him once—we see no reason why they can’t they do it again.

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