'Friends' Cast Set to Begin Filming HBO Max Reunion Special Next Week

"I'm going to see everyone next week for the first time in many years," David Schwimmer said of the upcoming taping

Friends cast. Photo: JON RAGEL/NBC

The Friends reunion special is poised to begin production at last.

The core cast of the beloved sitcom — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer — will head to the show's original soundstage on the Warner Bros. Studio lot to begin filming the special next week, sources confirm to PEOPLE.

HBO Max declined to comment.

Schwimmer, 54, discussed the upcoming event during a virtual interview on The Graham Norton Show, which aired in the U.K. on Friday and will air in the U.S. on BBC AMERICA April 9.

"I'm going to Los Angeles — we're going to be shooting the Friends reunion next week," the actor said. "I'm going to see everyone next week for the first time in many years."

And while he couldn't say much, he did confirm that he and his costars will be appearing as themselves, and not in character.

"There's nothing scripted, we're not in character," he explained. "We are all ourselves, although there is one section of it that I don't want to give away, but we all read something."

Marveling over the fact that it's been nearly 17 years since the show wrapped, host Graham Norton asked if Schwimmer has been watching old episodes to refresh his memory.

"I should have been doing that," Schwimmer replied, laughing. "And I really have very little excuse, but I haven't been able to bring myself to catch up on the 236 episodes. I guess I need to watch a lot over the next five days."

Friends cast. David Bjerke/NBCU Photo Bank

Friends originally aired for 10 seasons on NBC from 1994 to 2004. The reunion special was first announced in February 2020 by HBO Max and was scheduled to premiere that May, but was delayed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Unfortunately it's very sad that we had to move it again," Aniston, 51, told Deadline last August. "It was, 'How do we do this with live audiences?' This is not a safe time. Period. That's the bottom line. It's not a safe time to do it."

"It's going to be super," she added. "I choose to see it as the glass is half-full that it got postponed. Look, we're not going anywhere. You're never going to get rid of Friends, sorry. You're stuck with us for life, guys."

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After confirming that the reunion had been pushed back, former WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt said they still planned on taping the special in front of a live studio audience on the soundstage in Burbank, California.

"We do think there's a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together," he told Variety last May. "And we didn't want to just suddenly do it on a web call with, you know, six squares and people shooting from their kitchens and bedrooms."

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