“I fell in love with the show because of the tone,” Schwimmer, 49, told ABC News. “It was so unusual, this gritty drama, great dark humor, violent crime and cooking. And I thought, 'Wow, this is something I’ve just never seen. I’ve never seen this before. And if we could pull it off that would be something else.' I just thought it was a great character, a great world and a real challenge.”
Schwimmer explained that the "beast" in the show’s title is actually the restaurant.
“We are feeding this beast in every way. We’re trying to get it built,” Schwimmer said. “The whole first season is really this act of creation. We’re trying to launch this restaurant, bring it to life. And in a way it’s also a metaphor for my character Tommy’s journey that first season as well. Because he’s pretty much, when we find him, he’s pretty much in the land of the dead. He is barely functioning just trying to get his son off to school, clothed and fed but really grieving the loss of his wife.”
Schwimmer’s new role comes right on the heels of his appearance as attorney Robert Kardashian in the limited FX series, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” That role was a challenge he gladly took on.
“I thought this was an opportunity to contribute to the conversation we’ve been having in this country, this vital conversation about race and class,” Schwimmer said. “And I thought, 'If this is done right, this could really be something special and hit a nerve in what’s going on in this country right now.' And I think the timing was perfect.”
Schwimmer added about his character, “I thought this was the one guy who has nothing to gain. Of all these key players, it’s about ego, hubris, career, politics and he’s the only guy who actually has nothing to gain from being there and from sticking by him [O.J. Simpson]. And I thought, 'Wow, I really want to understand that better.' I thought that was a real challenge as an actor.”
Still, no matter how many roles Schwimmer takes on, he will always be known as the lovable Ross from “Friends.” He still keeps in touch with his former castmates, though no official television reunion is planned.
“We get together as a cast, just not on camera,” said Schwimmer. “But we’ve never felt any desire really to do some kind of a reunion show. We’ve never seen the point of it. I don’t know what the story would be. And I don’t know what a good reason would be. I think there’s this morbid fascination with how they aged. You know, that would be the only reason the public really wants to see us on camera, like, 'Wow, they’re old,'” joked Schwimmer.
And just how does he live with something like “Friends” that just won’t ever seem to go away?
“It’s great,” Schwimmer said. “The fact that there’s a whole new generation now because of Netflix and the ability to stream all 10 seasons of the show, there’s a whole generation now of my buddy’s kids who are watching it and they go, ‘Oh my God have you seen this show "Friends."’ It’s a blast.”