How ‘Friends’ Lead to Courteney Cox Landing Starz Series ‘Shining Vale’ – The Hollywood Reporter

As Jeff Astrof wrote Shining Valehe just thought of some prerequisites for the character of Pat Phelps, a middle-aged author who moves her family from the city to a suburban house that may or may not be haunted.

“I knew she would have black hair,” Astrof explained to The Hollywood Reporter on Monday night standing outside the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, where Starz world premiered. “We also knew we wanted mothers because only mothers know the horrors of raising teenage kids.”

Shining Vale revolves around a dysfunctional family who moves into an old house, unaware of the horrific atrocities that have occurred. None of the family members seem to know that something is wrong, except for Pat, who can see a woman, Rosemary, who may be a demon, a split personality. turn or a muse.

Because Astrof created this series with Sharon Horgan, he said everyone assumed it would be Disastrous star and co-creator in the lead role. She’s a mom with dark hair, but Astrof, a writer and veteran TV presenter with credits on Trial & Error, Partner and New adventures of old lady Christinesoon get a call from an old friend – an actress who proved too good to refuse.

“My phone rings and [the caller] Astrof said, “Jeff, that was Courteney,” Astrof recalls. “I said, ‘Courteney, who?’ She said, ‘Cox.’ I remind her that the last time we spoke, there wasn’t even a cell phone. ”

That time was during the days when they worked on the iconic sitcom Friend in the mid-1990s. It was one of Astrof’s first writing credits, and the series catapulted Cox into an international superstardom. “She said, ‘Listen, I just read your script, and it was written for me. I have to do that. This is my heart. I know what it’s like to be a mother. I know what it’s like at this age. I know what it’s like to suffer like this,” Astrof detailed the call. “She’s a powerhouse.”

Cox said that she happened to be in the middle of the vortex of Friend when Astrof’s script came to her, and she wasn’t about to let the role pass her by. He added that even though she’s “obviously one of the most famous people on the planet,” he’s never seen her do that type of acting. Shining Vale will ask about her.

“She finished Screaming, and we know what she can do. I worked with her on Friend, but we’ve never seen her do something this big. This character has too much of a sick thing,” he said, adding that once Cox’s name rose to prominence, all the pieces fell into place from there. “She is present in almost every scene. She has about 40 scenes per episode, and she has to do a lot of high and low scenes. When we ended this, everyone cried, not only because of the time we spent together and the fact that it was over, but because it was so vivid, so emotional and it brought so much back. profound thing. At one point, when she finished a scene with Greg, we all called our therapist.”

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Kinnear, Birney, Gage, Cox and Daisy appear in a scene of Shining Vale.
Courtesy of Starz

Cox said it’s the best acting she’s ever done in her career, and she has a Friend connection with credit for that. Jennifer Aniston suggested she work with an acting coach named Nancy Banks, who helped Cox exploit the layers in Pat’s story. “She was amazing,” Cox said CHEAP of banks. “She has such good instincts, and she makes you think hard. I’m really happy to be working with her on this issue. “

She also said she loved the scenes that required Kinnear’s involvement, the scenes that featured Pat’s children, and even the supernatural elements that saw her confront Sorvino. “She’s a really talented actress, and she’s very insightful. What she goes through will reveal itself as the show goes on, and it’s not your typical ghost. She has some luggage. “

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One ad still features Cox, Dungey, Gage, Kinnear, Sorvino, and Birney.
Courtesy of Starz

Sorvino, the Oscar winner, also appeared at Monday’s premiere, where she posed alongside Cox and co. Friend star Lisa Kudrow. There are many more Friend connection. Merrin Dungey, who plays Pat’s book editor in Shining Valehad a part in an episode that aired in 2000 titled “The One Where Paul’s the Man”, playing a museum official.

“When we started giving [Shining Vale], Courteney said, ‘Nice to meet you.’ But I reminded her that we’d met before, and she really missed it because it was a big episode,” recalls Dungey, who was more than just a guy. Friend guest star but also a super fan who revisits old episodes as a bedtime comfort content. “One day, I was very confused on set when Courteney said something [about a scene]and I immediately said, “Yeah, that’s the episode where you lose your fingernails while making lasagna, and your mom says, ‘Wow, that’s like pulling a Monica. “

Shining Vale premieres March 6 on Starz.

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(LR) Judith Light, Dylan Gage, Gus Birney, Jeff Astrof, Mira Sorvino, Merrin Dungey, Courteney Cox, Greg Kinnear and Alysia Reiner attend the premiere of Starz’s film ‘Shining Vale’ at TCL Chinese Theater on Jan. February 28, 2022.
Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

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