By Stacy Jenel Smith and Stephanie DuBois
With the birth of Marina LeBlanc this month, Matt LeBlanc becomes the second "Friends" cast member to enter parenthood, Lisa Kudrow
being the first. Matt's been looking forward to it - longing for it, actually. The actor says he's been getting into daddy mode as step-parent to the two children his wife, Melissa McKnight, has from a former marriage. Even before he and Melissa tied the knot last year, he said he was hoping they could expand their family right away. Meanwhile, Matt's "Joey" series spin-off is on the way transplanting his "Friends" character to sunny Southern California to find acting work, his life now to revolve around his hairdresser sister and Cal Tech grad student nephew. He has the guidance of "Friends" director Kevin Bright behind the scenes, and his current cast mates are all saying they're open to the idea of popping in for guest appearances.Movie disappointments ("Ed," "All the Queen's Men") aside, LeBlanc appears to be in an excellent place in life as his series of 10 years nears airing of its farewell episode May 6. How about the other "Friends"? Let's face it, having drawn salaries of about $1 million per episode, none of the six cast mates has to worry about his or her financial future. Still, where do they go from here? Jennifer Aniston
-- the "Friends" star who's had the most success parlaying small screen stardom to the big screen with successful turns in the blockbuster "Bruce Almighty" and the recent hit, "Along Came Polly," believes she can have it all -- career and domestic bliss.
She's been very vocal about her and hubby Brad Pitt's desire to start a family. "That's definitely next and I'm excited about it. I think we're good and ready to dive in," she said recently. She intends to leave room in her schedule for those baby making plans because she'd like to be able to devote herself to a new arrival. However, big screen offers are pouring in and she reportedly already has no less than 17 movies in development with her producing partner and husband Pitt, who she says she'll eventually work with in a film. In April, Aniston is set to start shooting an as-yet-untitled big screen comedy for Warner Bros. The film, produced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney's Section Eight production company, is about a woman who believes her family inspired the characters in "The Graduate," the classic 1967 film that starred Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. One thing she's not interested in doing now, she's said, is more television. Unless, of course, it's to pop up as a guest star on LeBlanc's "Joey."
Courteney Cox Arquette and husband David Arquette will welcome their first offspring mid-July. Her pregnancy parallels her character, Monica's, path toward long-awaited parenthood -- Monica's by adoption. In the meantime, the Arquettes have their WE: Women's Entertainment interior design show, "Mix It Up," profiling couples and roommates whose styles are at odds. And the "Scream" queen's dramatic film "November" is awaiting release, with no date set as yet. Buddies Aniston and Kudrow made it to the recent Sundance Film Festival to cheer on Courteney for the unveiling of the fantasy mystery thriller.
Courteney's series spouse, Matthew Perry, has led the most troubled off-camera life of the "Friends" - with two rehab stints for alcohol and substance abuse behind him, recent tabloid reports that he's now straightening himself out again, and an off and on battle with excess weight. However, right now he has "The Whole 10 Yards," the sequel to his hit 2000 comedy flick with Bruce Willis
, looming large on the horizon, ready for an April 9 opening. Kudrow is set to start shooting the ensemble comedy, "Happy Endings" in April with Ray Liotta and Jennifer Garner
. Her track record on the big screen has been hit and miss with such films as "Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion," "Analyze This," "Analyze That," "Marci X" and "Wonderland."
Married to French advertising executive Michel Stern, with a five-year-old son, Julian, Kudrow is on a path to become a major player behind the scenes. She and her Is or Isn't Entertainment production company partner, Dan Bucatinsky, are exec producing a CBS sitcom starring Aisha Tyler, the African-American actress who made several guest appearances on "Friends." The sitcom, which is supposed to be reminiscent of the old "Mary Tyler Moore Show," is being written by "Grounded for Life" creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff. Kudrow - who exec-produced last year's ABC Family movie, "Picking Up & Dropping Off," with former "Party of Five" hunk Scott Wolf and Amanda Detmer - is also attached as exec producer to the UPN pilot, "Beck and Call" that revolves around the New York fashion world.
Even before "Friends" filmed its secret final episode in January, David Schwimmer was preparing to rush to Atlantic City to begin starring in the independent feature "Duane Hopwood" with Janeane Garofalo and Judah Friedlander of "American Splendor" fame. Schwimmer's playing an alcoholic casino employee who is trying to get his life back on track - a different sort of turn for the actor who has already proven he has considerable dramatic chops.
David also aims to expand his career behind the cameras. He's getting ready to direct the pilot episode of a romantic sitcom starring Alyson Hannigan for NBC.
Whatever else, the "Friends" do have one thing to look forward to doing together - a "Friends" reunion show next year, for which the network has already committed to shelling out $2 million per star.