Shaffner didn’t get to watch the cast explore the set for the first time, but he got the chance to talk to them afterwards.
“Their eyes were all big,” he says. “They were like, ‘We can’t believe this could happen! How did you do this?’ They were so taken aback. They were so startled.”
Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston, in particular, were in awe.
“Jennifer was so sweet, as she always is, and was just so, ‘Oh my god, 27 years have disappeared,'” he says. “Schwimmer was like, ‘I don’t believe it. I don’t know how you did this.'”
Shaffner just credited the fact that he’s had a lot of practice, and a lot of direction from Winston.
“As much as some of us thought, ‘Really, do you really need all this?,’ he said he really felt that emotionally, for the cast to reenter those spaces would trigger an emotional response,” Shaffner explains. “And take them out of all the years that have come in between, and bring them back. And so it worked very well.”