Gabrielle Union to host Friends live read with Black cast including Sterling K. Brown, Uzo Aduba
First was The Golden Girls, and now Friends is getting a reimagined all-Black cast. Gabrielle Union will host a live table read of an episode from the sitcom on Tuesday night, and the roster is pretty stacked.
Sterling K. Brown, Uzo Aduba, Ryan Bathe, Aisha Hinds, Kendrick Sampson, and Jeremy Pope will be playing the six leads. They will reenact the episode "The One Where No One's Ready" from season 3, with Brown as Ross, Bathe (Brown's real-life wife) as Rachel, Aduba as Phoebe, Hinds as Monica, Sampson as Joey, and Pope as Chandler. The roles were first played by David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry.
The virtual event is part of the Zoom Where It Happens series, which Tracee Ellis Ross and company kicked off on Sept. 8 for the Golden Girls reenactment. The recurring series, which will continue until Election Day, aims to encourage fans to vote and fight for electoral justice through pop culture. Tuesday's table read will spotlight the organization When We All Vote, and fans can tune in for free as long as they register ahead of time.
Salli Richardson-Whitfield will direct the episode, while members of the production team include Bathe, Hinds, Ava DuVernay, Issa Rae, Cynthia Erivo, Tessa Thompson, Kerry Washington, Rashida Jones, Stefanie and Quentin James, Channing Dungey, Karen Richardson, and Latanya Richardson. Back in 2017, Rae was part of Jay-Z's all-Black Friends cast for his "Moonlight" music video, which was also based on "The One Where No One’s Ready."
Union guest-starred in one episode of Friends in season 7, while Aisha Tyler's stint in the last two seasons made her the first Black actor on the sitcom to have a major role. Earlier this year, Schwimmer said the inclusion of Tyler and Lauren Tom as Ross' love interests "was a very conscious push on my part."
The actor also said he was aware of the lack of diversity on the show and was all in for a new vision.
“Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends,” he added.