How A Friends Connection Helped Courteney Cox Land Her Newest TV Role

Monica Gellar is angry on Friends.
(Image credit: HBO Max)

Courteney Cox is staying plenty busy these days. She recently reprised her Scream role in the franchise’s newest installment and, now, she leads Starz’s newest series, Shining Vale. It provides Cox with a meaty role, and it turns out a surprising Friends connection helped her land the gig.

Former Friends writer Jeff Astrof created Shining Vale and recently spoke about casting Courteney Cox in the lead. Astrof explained to THR that he was looking for the perfect person to play the part and was ultimately led to a decision after receiving an unexpected phone call:

My phone rang and [the caller] said, ‘Jeff, it’s Courteney.’ I said, ‘Courteney, who?’ She said, ‘Cox.’ I reminded her that the last time we spoke, there weren’t even cell phones. She said, ‘Listen, I just read your script, and it was written for me. I have to do it. This is my heart. I know what it’s like to be a mother. I know what it is like to be at this age. I know what it’s like to suffer like this. She’s a powerhouse.

According to the article, the role called for someone who had dark hair and was an actual mother. Because Courteney Cox checks both boxes, it's not surprising that she immediately wanted to be part of it. While the two hadn’t spoken since their days working on the NBC sitcom, it seems both Cox and Jeff Astrof meshed just fine when it came to the new show.

Though Friends ended nearly 20 years ago, it still remains close to the Monic Geller actress' heart as well as the rest of the cast's. This was clear during the HBO Max reunion special, during which they shared fond memories of working together. While the star doesn’t think there will be another one in the future, one can at least hope that the group will reteam on newer projects, like Shining Vale.

A horror comedy series, Shining Vale follows a dysfunctional family that's just moved to a small town from the city. Courteney Cox’s Patricia “Pat” Phelps is a former "wild child" who became famous for scandalous reasons. On top of that, the house she and her family move into is the site of previous tragedies. The series also stars Greg Kinnear, Gus Birney, Dylan Gage, Merrin Dungey and Mira Sorvino.

The new show is definitely not Friends, that I can say for sure. Though it seems like it’s the perfect project for Courteney Cox. Not just because she fits the character description, but because she can use what she's learned from both her comedy and horror work. She's very good in both realms, and it's no wonder Jeff Astrof chose her for the project. Plus, if you're going to cast a show like this, get a star who once had an actual experience with an alleged haunted house.

Shining Vale airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Starz and is also on CinemaBlend's list of new shows.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.