Matthew Perry Dropped Out of 'Don't Look Up' After His Heart Stopped For a 'Full Five Minutes'

Matthew Perry initially had a small role in Netflix’s 2021 film, “Don’t Look Up,” but he’s now revealed he had to drop out after experiencing a medical scare.

In a new excerpt from his upcoming memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,” published by Rolling Stone on Tuesday, the actor detailed the near-death experience that ultimately led to him exiting the Adam McKay-directed political satire, revealing his heart stopped for five minutes.

According to Rolling Stone, Perry filmed a scene for “Don’t Look Up,” in which he played a Republican journalist. He was set to film three scenes with Meryl Streep, but he ultimately only shot a group scene with Jonah Hill. However, while filming the scene with Hill, Perry — who was struggling with his years-long battle with addiction — said he was on 1,800 milligrams of hydrocodone.

He then checked into a rehab facility in Switzerland, where he said he lied to doctors and claimed he was experiencing stomach pain so they’d give him medication. “In fact, I was OK. It still felt like I was constantly doing a sit-up — so it was very uncomfortable — but it wasn’t pain,” wrote Perry, who said the doctors prescribed him hydrocodone, before they decided to “put some kind of weird medical device in my back.”

Inserting the device required surgery, and the night before the procedure Perry said he took hydrocodone, and was up all night taking the drug. During the operation, he was given the drug propofol — an anesthetic and a sedative — which he said: “stopped my heart.”

“I was given the shot at 11:00 a.m.,” he recalled in the book. “I woke up eleven hours later in a different hospital. Apparently, the propofol had stopped my heart. For five minutes. It wasn’t a heart attack — I didn’t flatline — but nothing had been beating.”

He continued, “I was told that some beefy Swiss guy really didn’t want the guy from ‘Friends’ dying on his table and did CPR on me for the full five minutes, beating and pounding my chest. If I hadn’t been on ‘Friends,’ would he have stopped at three minutes? Did ‘Friends’ save my life again?”

Perry added that the doctor “may have saved my life, but he also broke eight of my ribs.”

Due to the pain he was experiencing, he said he was unable to return to the set of “Don’t Look Up.” Perry — who wrote that the film was the “biggest movie I’d gotten ever” — said being forced to leave the project was “heartbreaking.” The scene he shot in the star-studded film was cut.

“Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir” is out November 1. According to Maximilian Publishers, in the book, Perry “takes us behind the scenes of the hit sitcom and his struggles with addiction in this candid, funny, and revelatory memoir that delivers a powerful message of hope and persistence.”

See more published excerpts from his book, below.

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