Matthew Perry was cast in Don’t Look Up, then his heart stopped


Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry
Photo: Theo Wargo (Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

In friends star Matthew Perry’s new memoir, ‌Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thingreveals the depths where drug abuse and addiction endangered and damaged his life his career. Those issues continued into 2020, when he was set to appear in the “greatest movie I’ve ever gotten,” Adam McKay’s star-studded comedy don’t look up. Unfortunately, Perry never got a chance to film his scenes because his heart stopped for five minutes.

The actor would play a Republican journalist for three scenes in McKay’s comedy, in which Perry would face Meryl Streep, Perry flew to Boston to film. The production was filmed there from November 2020 to February 2021.

Perry had been dealing with substance abuse for a long time and started drinking at the age of 14 an injury on the set of Fools rush ina romantic comedy in which he starred with Salma Hayek, led him to opioid addiction. Over the years, Perry says he has spent more than $9 million on rehabilitation and sobriety.

Around the time he started working on don’t look up, he took 1800 milligrams of hydrocodone, a painkiller prescribed for him by a rehabilitation center in Switzerland. While there, he told doctors that he was suffering from severe abdominal pain. “Actually, I was fine,” Perry writes. “It still felt like I was doing a sit-up all the time — so it was very uncomfortable — but it wasn’t a pain.” He was given the hydrocodone, but doctors wanted to have surgery to “place some kind of weird medical device in my back”.

The night before his surgery, he stayed up all night drinking hydrocodone. So when Perry had surgery, doctors administered propofol, an anesthetic that stopped Perry’s heart for five minutes. Perry writes:

I got the injection at 11:00 am. 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 flatline – but nothing was wrong. I was told that a hefty Swiss really didn’t want the guy from Friends to die on his table and perform CPR on me for five minutes, beating my chest and banging. If I hadn’t been on Friends, would he have stopped at three minutes? Did Friends Save My Life Again?

He may have saved my life, but he also broke eight of my ribs.

The only scene Perry filmed for don’t look up landed on the cutting floor.

With the impending release of the memoir, Perry has shared more stories like this in the hopes it will inspire others to seek help. Last week, he revealed that at one point his colon burst and he had a 2% chance of living.

“The doctors told my family I had a 2% chance of being alive,” he said. After his colon ruptured from opioid abuse, he was in a coma for two weeks and in the hospital for five months. “I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that’s called a Hail Mary. Nobody survives that.”

Friends, lovers and the big terrible thing available in bookstores from November 1.

[via Rolling Stone]

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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