(ABC News) -- It was her big break, and Jennifer Aniston says she “would honestly go back” to “Friends” if she could. Asked if there would ever be a “Friends” reunion, Aniston said, “I’d honestly go back to it — if we could, I would,” before adding, “I don’t think people would want to see us today.”
The 44-year-old actress talked about the ’90s hit TV show Monday night at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, where the show’s director, James Burrows, was being honored. Aniston was one of the night’s surprise guests, who also included Bob Newhart, Christopher Lloyd, Beau Bridges, Margo Martindale, Debra Messing and Eric McCormack.
Burrows, winner of 10 Emmys and four Directors Guild awards, directed such hit shows as “Taxi,” “Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Will & Grace,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mike & Molly” and the new CBS series “The Millers.”
Aniston, who called Burrows “poppa” and “dad,” greeted the veteran director with a hug and an “I love you, I’m glad to be here,” as she came out on stage.
The “Millers” star recalled how she almost didn’t land her breakout role. Aniston was already on another CBS sitcom, “Muddling Through,” when she went for her first audition for “Friends.”
“We took her in second position,” Burrows explained. That meant Aniston had to sit out during some of the cast photos. “They didn’t know if I was going to be still playing Rachel,” she said. Fortunately for her, Aniston’s other show was canceled and the rest is history.
Aniston called her time on the series “one of the most energizing experiences to date.
“The energy of an audience, that sort of opening night jitters every Friday night or Tuesday night — depending on when we were filming,” she said. “Not knowing when that was going to happen and just sort of allowing that night to sort of be totally spontaneous — of course knowing that we knew what we were supposed to do — but there would always be surprising fun moments.”
Burrows also recounted treating the friends to a night out before they hit it big.
“I just had a feeling about the show,” he said. “I went to Les Moonves, who was then running Warner Bros. TV, and I said, ‘Give me the plane. I’d like to take the kids to Vegas just for dinner, just to talk to them.’”
At Caesars Palace, Burrows told his young cast, “This is your last shot at anonymity. … Once the show goes on the air, you guys won’t be able to go anywhere without being hounded.”
He then gave them each money for gambling and Aniston took hers to the craps table, where she won some more for Burrows.
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