9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Friends' Monkey Marcel Poised to Return to Television
When FX CEO John Landgraf was reviewing dailies on the network's highly anticipated adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan's beloved graphic novel Y: The Last Man, he instantly recognized the face of one of the actors. In fact, he was convinced it was someone he worked with on Friends during his stint running the current department at NBC.
“I recognize Jennifer Aniston, I recognize Courteney Cox and I recognize that monkey!" Landgraf mused at the FX party during the Television Critics Association summer press tour, referring to the capuchin monkey known by fans of the beloved show as Marcel, sidekick to David Schwimmer’s Ross Gellar. "There's nothing like a really experienced actor who knows how to hit their marks!”
Turns out, Landgraf was right — the pet monkey he saw onscreen starring opposite Y lead Barry Keoghan was in fact the same monkey. In real life, she's a female named Katie, but for Y she’s playing the opposite sex once again.
The story centers on Keoghan’s Yorick Brown, the last surviving man on Earth, who is on a mission to find out why the male population has been wiped out. His primate companion, Ampersand (Katie), is the only other male mammal to have survived the plague.
THR checked in with representatives for Katie’s animal trainer, who confirmed the casting as well as her age: She’s currently in her mid- to late 20s and still has plenty of career left as capuchin monkeys can live to the ripe old age of 40.
But there’s one hitch. Although Katie has already filmed her part in the pilot, the show has weathered changes at the top with showrunners Aida Croal and Michael Green being replaced by Eliza Clark. Because of the swap, it’s unclear if Katie will continue on the project or if she’ll be replaced by a CGI version by the time the show debuts in 2020. Still, Landgraf had high praise for Katie's work on Y: "[She's] still as good!"
A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.