Matthew Perry explored the possibility of a biopic about himself before his death – and he wanted his former 17 Again co-star Zac Efron to play a younger version of himself.
According to Athenna Crosby, who had dinner with Matthew just a day before his tragic death at age 54, the Friends star wanted to “make a movie about his life and have a biopic made.”
The entertainment reporter and actress told People that Matthew “wanted Zac Efron, who already played him, to play him again because he said he did such a good job.”
The revelation about Perry’s hopes of making a film about his life comes just days after he was found dead in his hot tub by his assistant.
Matthew starred in the 2009 comedy “17 Again” as Mike O’Donnell, a 37-year-old man on the verge of a divorce who regrets wasting his chance at a successful career as a basketball star to keep his pregnant girlfriend and his future wife to marry.
Dashed hopes: Matthew Perry, who was found dead in his hot tub on October 28 at the age of 54, was reportedly planning to make a biopic about himself before his death, with Zac Efron playing him; Seen in 2017
Co-Stars: Athenna Crosby, who had dinner with Perry the day before his death, told People that Matthew “wanted Zac Efron, who already played him, to play him again because he said he had did such a good job.” Efron played Perry’s younger character in 2009’s 17 Again (pictured)
But after an encounter with a mysterious janitor on a bridge, he transforms into his 17-year-old self (now played by Zac Efron).
After he re-enrolls in high school under a false name and decides to remake his life for a better outcome, he realizes that he has the ability to help his two teenagers deal with their difficult home lives at school, which also brings him closer to his own life with his estranged wife (Leslie Mann).
The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics, but audiences were a big fan of Matthew and Zac’s performances, and the film became a box office hit, grossing $139.5 million against a budget of $40 million The numbers.
At the time, Efron was thrilled by the success of the third “High School Musical” film and his critically acclaimed performance in “Me and Orson Welles.”
Perry marked the high point of his post-Friends career with the film, which tragically was his final film role. In the following years he appeared exclusively on television, either as a series star or as a guest.
He had planned to make his long-awaited return to the big screen with a role in Adam McKay’s satirical comedy Don’t Look Up, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Meryl Streep and many other A-listers, but he had to drop out after already filming some of his scenes.
Perry later revealed in his memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing that he was still plagued by addiction while filming his scenes, and later traveled to a rehab facility in Switzerland.
While there, he lied about his pain to get his doctors to prescribe him opiates. However, when the supposed pain did not subside, his doctor recommended that he have a device surgically implanted in his back to relieve the pain, which was usually non-existent.
Sad bag: Perry played a down-and-out 37-year-old who regrets his life choices and missed opportunity to become a basketball star, as well as his poor relationship with his children and failed marriage
Behind the scenes: But a magical encounter transforms him back into his 17-year-old self (played by Efron) and he decides to help his troubled children and estranged wife after they don’t know his true identity
The 2009 hit was the highlight of Perry’s post-Friends career and he never appeared in another film for the rest of his life.
What Could Have Been: Perry filmed scenes for Don’t Look Up, but was dropped from the film after his heart stopped during surgery. After five minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, during which eight ribs were broken, he was revived; on view in November 2022 in West Hollywood
But Perry stayed awake the night before his surgery, taking hydrocodone. When he was given propofol, the drugs interacted and caused his heart to stop – for several minutes.
“I got the shot at 11 a.m.,” he wrote. “I woke up 11 hours later in another hospital. Apparently the propofol had stopped my heart. For five minutes. It wasn’t a heart attack – I didn’t have a cardiac arrest – but there was no beating. I was told that some beefy Swiss guy really didn’t want the guy from Friends to die on his desk and he revived me for five minutes, punching and pounding my chest.
“If I hadn’t been on Friends, would he have stopped after three minutes? Did friends save my life again?’ He thought with morbid humor.
Perry added that the life-saving CPR also broke eight of his ribs.