When someone near and dear to the industry passes, an outpouring of love reverberates through the media as stars, friends, and loved ones share their personal stories about the kind of person the individual was, especially during times where their death came as a shock. This, of course, has been the case as the world mourns Matthew Perry. But, along with these personal stories, also comes revelations about the projects the celebrity wanted to work on or had in the works prior to their passing. For Perry, this was Mattman.
The star’s last Instagram post, dated Oct. 23, makes reference to this concept but at the time, people were puzzled by what it could mean. Was it a joke? Perhaps, a nickname? A one-off line on a caption like we all tend to do from time to time? But, no, it wasn’t. As The Hollywood Reporter dives into in their piece about the subject, it’s a moniker Perry had used before in his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing–though it was spelled “Matman” in the book.
Perry saw Mattman as a means of changing the trajectory of his career. While he’ll forever be known as the iconic Chandler Bing from Friends, and continued booking series regular roles after the sitcom’s end, his career stalled after 2017. The business moves fast, the longer you’re out of the game, the harder it is to break back in when new darlings are being praised and legends hardly slowed down.
The actor was forced to halt his career due to a medical emergency in which his colon had burst. The incident nearly killed him and it was caused by long-term opioid abuse. His planned appearance in Don’t Look Up, which ultimately didn’t pan out, was meant to be his entry back onto the screen. But the comeback Perry envisioned for himself involved Mattman. He’d even pitched the idea to Adam McKay. Per THR, it went like this:
"“It’s about this guy. You’d recognize him. His name is Matt and he’s very famous and about 50 years old. His life is a little bit of a mess. He’s lost. Out of the blue a distant relative dies and leaves him $2 billion — and he uses it to become a superhero.”"
If it sounds like a fusion between Matthew Perry’s life and Batman, that’s because it is. The actor had a well-known love for the DC hero with an endless stream of cash and a penchant for justice. Bruce Wayne is also a philanthropist which is something that would also resonate with Perry who gave millions over the course of his life to help addicts like himself reach sobriety.
McKay’s interest in the possibility of the semi-autobiographical series or movie–Perry was flexible about it–lied more with the idea that it could be a fictionalized version of Perry’s life that could be open and honest about struggles with addiction and mental health. He’d suggested a less high concept iteration not about a man turned superhero but simply about a man. Perry wasn’t interested, so McKay didn’t push.
News, however, has broken that the actor was thinking on a biopic and that he wanted to see Zac Efron play him in the movie. Perhaps one day there will be a film about Matthew Perry’s life and maybe it’ll be titled, Mattman.