When Eddie Cahill landed the role of Jennifer Aniston’s love interest on Friends, he only had one TV credit to his name.
Meanwhile, Friends was one of the most watched shows in the world in its seventh season, and Aniston was Hollywood’s most beautiful woman.
The then 22-year-old, who is now 42, said he was like a “baby deer” when he joined the cast as Tag Jones, Rachel Green’s sweet assistant turned lover.
There is one scene Tag makes a move on Rachel and gives her a kiss, but Cahill tells news.com.au he was nowhere near as confident as he may have looked.
“What I remember the most (about that scene) was in between all the white knuckling, and there’s an intimacy between you and your scene partner, but then there’s the live audience,” Cahill told news.com.au.
“They have a lot of connection to the characters on that show and the second you kiss you hear screaming and howling from the crowd of people, which was wild.”
But his callback audition was even more “terrifying” than kissing Aniston in front of a vigorous audience.
Cahill, who was living in New York at the time, had flown to Los Angeles for the final screen test where he was up against Smallville star Tom Welling.
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“I almost had no idea where I was,” Cahill laughed. “It was a pretty insecure experience, I had never been on a movie lot before and here we are at Warner Brothers studios which is iconic.
“When my character is first introduced in the show Jennifer’s line to (Tag) was, ‘Are you looking for the modelling callbacks? They’re down the hall’. And I took one look at Tom and thought, ‘Oh, dead’. You know, he’s a specimen.
“We went into the office full of couches, Jennifer was there and (executive producers) Marta (Kauffman), David (Crane) and Kevin (S. Bright) were there. It was daunting and terrifying but they were a warm crowd.
“Anyway Marta said ‘Tom, sorry, we’re going to go with Eddie’, and it was pretty remarkable. I asked for a phone and told mum and then went right to rehearsals.”
Cahill appeared in seven episodes of Friends, before Rachel broke up with Tag after her 30th birthday because she felt too old for him.
Cahill said the highlight of his experience was watching Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) do her thing.
“Watching them work in the table reads … Lisa Kudrow stands out to me, I mean all of them, but really she had something that I was like, ‘Wow’.
“She turned the page and you laughed. She just had something so extra special to my eye that I was in awe of her at rehearsals.
“That first read … I was in awe of her skill and ability to make you laugh at nothing.”
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