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heard it ear first David Schwimmer reveals how 'embarrassing' injury made filming new season of Intelligence 'tough'

The 54-year-old, who will forever be associated with his role as Ross Geller in Friends, admits he was "cranky and grumpy" throughout the shoot

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STAYING BUSY: David Schwimmer in Intelligence

STAYING BUSY: David Schwimmer in Intelligence

STAYING BUSY: David Schwimmer in Intelligence

David Schwimmer starts with an apology as he reflects on his return to Sky One for another season of the successful comedy-drama Intelligence.

The 54-year-old, who will forever be associated with his role as Ross Geller in Friends, admits he was "cranky and grumpy" throughout the shoot for the second season of the quirky workplace sitcom set inside the curious world of Britain's secret intelligence service.

The reason? Maybe we should allow Schwimmer to explain the predicament he found himself in as he tried to navigate his way through some uncomfortable scenes as he reprised the role of arrogant American NSA agent Jerry Bernstein.

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David Schwimmer

David Schwimmer

David Schwimmer

 

"I was thinking back on the shoot for Intelligence and this was a tough one for me personally," says the star, who was part of the Friends reunion show screened on Sky One last month.

"This last year was tough on everyone in terms of Covid, but I was also unfortunate because I was dealing with an ear injury and I had to take different medications just to be able to get through shooting without real pain and discomfort at times.

"How did it happen? Well, that's a little embarrassing, but it goes something like this.

"I was trying to make my daughter laugh. We'd been visiting people who had a place with a pool that we were allowed to use, so we took advantage of it.

"I did a kind of dead fall into the pool and I slammed my ear at such a perfect angle that I immediately ruptured my eardrum and I gave myself an inner ear concussion.

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The Friends cast

The Friends cast

The Friends cast

 

"That healed eventually after six weeks, but then a whole new condition migrated into both ears and gave me a combination of tinnitus and something called hyperacusis. It's finally just on its way out now. It's been seven months. It's crazy.

"I have bad days and good days. The thing that bothers it the most is talking. So, if I talk too much and at significant volume, it generates the ringing.

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"That's why being this character, Jerry, who is pretty loud, was challenging at times.

"I just have to thank everyone on Intelligence and especially my friend and the show's writer, Nick Mohammed, for putting up with me because I was quite cranky and grumpy a lot of the time."

When you sit in a room with Schwimmer and Mohammed, you get the impression that the latter is a little bemused by his friendship with a member of what is effectively TV's equivalent of The Beatles.

Their friendship was formed when they met on a show in America and Mohammed sent Schwimmer a draft script for season one of Intelligence.

And to his surprise - partly due to the fact that the target for his lead role had steered clear of TV comedy since Friends - he received a positive response.

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Schwimmer as NSA agent Jerry Bernstein with Sylvestra Le Touzel

Schwimmer as NSA agent Jerry Bernstein with Sylvestra Le Touzel

Schwimmer as NSA agent Jerry Bernstein with Sylvestra Le Touzel

 

"It was a decision to step back and do something else," explains Schwimmer. "When you have been in a show that successful, you are bound to attract companions and that's never good for the next project.

"I met Nick a while ago and we hit it off, which gave me the idea that it would be great to work with him one day, and when this script came through for Intelligence, it just grabbed me.

"The wit, the snap of the comedy, the way Nick moulds characters all appealed to me and working in England was something I wanted to do, so it all came together.

"It's character-driven like The Office, it's a workplace comedy and thankfully, the audience seemed to like it."

Of all the Friends cast, Schwimmer is the one who has shied away from the spotlight in the years since the final episode aired, as he admits fame is a commodity he could do without.

He has admitted that he regularly disguises himself to avoid being spotted in public and when we sat down to talk with the New Yorker, we were politely advised that he didn't like to talk about Friends in interviews.

He refers to the iconic TV juggernaut that changed his life as "the show", and admits the adulation that comes his way is not a facet of the job he enjoys.

"It was strange when you start getting spotted and people acknowledge you and that happened pretty quickly after the show started doing well," he says.

"Within America, the reaction I get varies from state to state.

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David in Intelligence with Nick Mohammed, Gana Bayarsaikhan and Jane Stanness

David in Intelligence with Nick Mohammed, Gana Bayarsaikhan and Jane Stanness

David in Intelligence with Nick Mohammed, Gana Bayarsaikhan and Jane Stanness

"In New York, it is a lot lower key than most states and it is a little like that in the UK as well.

"We went to a park and people recognised me, were very polite and that was the end of it. When that happens it's not a problem, but it can get a little excitable at times.

"I have learned how to be invisible when I go out. It's not that hard, but in general people are very nice wherever I go.

"The show was very popular everywhere, so thankfully it's generally just a lot of love coming my way when people come up to me in the street."

With Schwimmer enjoying his time working in England, he has now set his sights on making a trip across the Irish Sea and he tells us he would relish the chance to work in Ireland.

"I have never had a chance to work in Ireland, but I would love to," he enthuses. "What have you got for me and I'm there!

"Unlike most Americans, I don't have any Irish relatives - that I know about at least - but I'd really love to work there one day.

"Working in England on Intelligence was a lot of fun and very different to what we do in America, so sure, I'd love to work in Ireland.

"You have some amazing TV and movies that are being made there right now."

⬤ All episodes of the new season of Intelligence are available now on Sky One and NOW

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