Olivia Williams Gets Candid About Why Friends Guest Role Was Such A 'Harrowing' Experience

Olivia Williams at the Screen Actors Guild Awards earlier this year
Olivia Williams at the Screen Actors Guild Awards earlier this year Gilbert Flores via Getty Images

Olivia Williams has spoken out about exactly what made her guest appearance in Friends such a “harrowing” experience.

When Friends came across the pond for Ross’ wedding in its fourth season, the Crown star made a brief appearance as Felicity, the bridesmaid of Helen Baxendale’s Emily.

Having previously spoken unfavourably about her short stint in the much-loved US sitcom, Olivia opened up more about exactly what made it so difficult during a new interview with The Independent.

Just as an example, I was taken to the studio in a shared car with a wonderful actress whose character, I think, was called ‘Old Woman’,” she explained.

“At one point, a producer – who shall remain nameless – just yelled at her: ‘You’re not funny!’. And she didn’t come back the next day. So that was alarming.”

Olivia Williams and Matt LeBlanc in Friends
Olivia Williams and Matt LeBlanc in Friends NBC

Olivia continued: “Oh and Friendswas a brand, and you had to fit the brand. You go into hair and make-up and you’re told, ‘There’s a look here, this is what we do.’ And that involved, essentially, plucking off all of your eyebrows.” 

She joked: “Literally, ‘please don’t take my eyebrows off, I might need them in another job!’. But yes, that’s the sense in which it was harrowing.”

Olivia isn’t the only Friends guest star who didn’t have the most positive experience of being on the show, though.

Screen legend Kathleen Turner admitted back in 2018 that she’d found the cast “unwelcoming” when she appeared in a series of episodes during the show’s seventh season.

Meanwhile, Lauren Tom has said she struggled with the attention from devoted Friends fans after playing Julie, while Jennifer Grey turned down a second guest spot as her first apparently left her with so much anxiety.