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Friends reunion delayed again by HBO Max until ‘May 2021 at the earliest’

The highly anticipated Friends reunion has been plagued with delays and HBO Max is reportedly pushing the special again due to COVID-19.

Filming won’t take place until next ‘May at the earliest’, according to sources who spoke with Variety about the project on Friday.

News of the delay comes hours after as executives from Fulwell 73, the production company putting together the HBO Max special, confirmed to Deadline that the reunion was ‘poised’ to start shooting in two weeks.

A source close to the production told Variety that the special had been slated to film in August but was now been pushed to May in 2021 ‘at the earliest.’

The latest delay will likely disappoint Friends fans who saw a glimmer of hope for the reunion just a few hours earlier. 

Leo Pearlman, a partner at Fulwell 73, who is producing the reunion special, said he was ‘excited’ to start filming in the next two weeks in a Deadline article published Friday.

Two hours later, the outlet updated the piece writing: ‘Following the publication of this interview, HBO Max distanced itself from Fulwell 73 quotes about the Friends reunion being imminent.’

They added that an insider is now saying the date for the shoot is ‘yet to be determined.’

Originally, the HBO Max special was supposed to air in May but filming hadn’t even gotten underway when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered productions across the board.

Producers then set their sites tentatively on August or September – assuming that there would be no other coronavirus complications. 

‘We are hoping to be able to shoot in August, if all is well and there is no early second wave and the studio is open,’ Marta Kauffman, the co-creator of the TV series which aired from 1994 until 2004, told The Wrap in June. 

Jennifer Aniston told Deadline on Friday, ‘it’s very sad that we had to move it again.’ 

Adding that complications of a live audience made the plan difficult as ‘this is not a safe time. Period. That’s the bottom line. It’s not a safe time to do it.’

Though, she also said the delay may give the cast and creatives a chance to make it ‘more exciting and more fun that it would have been.’ 

‘I choose to see it as the glass half-full that it got postponed,’ she said.  Adding: ‘Look, we’re not going anywhere. You’re never going to get rid of Friends, sorry. You’re stuck with us for life guys.’

Despite the delays, last month Friends star David Schwimmer confirmed that the reunion was ‘definitely’ still happening. 

The 53-year-old actor opened up about the plans for the HBO Max special during an interview with Today’s Hoda Kotb and Nick Mohammed.

Schwimmer seemed surprised that Hoda even asked, telling the AM host: ‘There is definitely going to be a Friends reunion. 

‘We have a lot of the creative aspects of the show [worked out.] It’s unscripted but there are going to be some surprise funny bits,’ he dished.

‘The real question is when,’ David said. ‘We’re still trying to figure that out because we want to do it when it’s safe for everyone.’

When shooting does get underway, Schwimmer will be joined by Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Leblanc and Matthew Perry as well as creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane. 

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