Being The Star Of ‘Friends’ Made Normal Life Very Difficult For David Schwimmer

David Schwimmer earned strong, positive reviews for his portrayal of Robert Kardashian on Ryan Murphy’s highly-rated FX series The People vs OJ Simpson, and his Bible-carrying devotion to the role even earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. Of course, he’s up against his co-star John Travolta, whose portrayal of Robert Shapiro was otherworldly, so the statue isn’t necessarily as good as Schwimmer’s. In the end, perhaps the only recognition and approval that Schwimmer needs comes from Kim Kardashian, but it’s important he knows how much we all loved hearing him say, “Juice!”

The Emmy nomination is surprisingly just the second of Schwimmer’s career, as the first came in 1995, when he was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his portrayal of Ross Geller on Friends. Despite the show’s amazing success during its 10-season run on NBC, Schwimmer took a back seat to his co-stars Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry when the annual nominations were announced. But now that Schwimmer is back in the hunt for Primetime Emmy gold, and Friends is also insanely popular with binge-watching millennials, the conversation once again turns to his time as the angry paleontologist.

Interestingly, going from a nobody to one of the six stars of an insanely popular sitcom wasn’t an easy process for Schwimmer, as he told the Hollywood Reporter for its Awards Chatter podcast.

“It was pretty jarring and it messed with my relationship to other people in a way that took years, I think, for me to adjust to and become comfortable with,” he says. “As an actor, the way I was trained, my job was to observe life and to observe other people, so I used to walk around with my head up, really engaged and watching people. The effect of celebrity was the absolute opposite: It made me want to hide under a baseball cap and not be seen. And I realized after a while that I was no longer watching people; I was trying to hide. So I was trying to figure out: How do I be an actor in this new world, in this new situation? How do I do my job? That was tricky.”

The hardest part, he explains, is how people became accustomed to seeing the same old Ross each week, and that made fans think they knew Schwimmer like their actual friend.

“There’s less of a barrier than there is with, say, a big movie star — you see them in this other kind of a space with a lot of other people on a big screen and you see that their role changes in every movie, for the most part. They’re very different people in very different situations, whereas in our show I’m the same guy for 10 years, you can rely on me to be a certain way and you know me — or you think you know me.”

It probably gets pretty old when people constantly walk up to you and scream, “PIVOT!” in your face, but I’d still love to meet Schwimmer just to ask him if he tried to talk the writers out of a plotline that involved Ross forcing himself on his cousin. Because, all Ross hate aside, I’ll let Joey explain that episode’s legacy…

(Via the Hollywood Reporter)