Matthew Perry gets candid on the most important factor in fighting addiction.

The 'Friends' star updated the world on his own struggles as an addict.

The world will forever remember Chandler Bing as the sardonic friend who loved Monica Geller and biting sarcasm.

But if you ask Matthew Perry — the real-life person who brought Chandler into our living rooms — having created the iconic "Friends" character isn't the biggest accomplishment in his life nowadays:


"I've had a lot of ups and downs in my life and a lot of wonderful accolades. But the best thing about me is that if an alcoholic comes up to me and says, 'Will you help me stop drinking?' I will say, 'Yes. I know how to do that.'"


Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Perry — who's been open about his struggles with painkiller abuse and alcoholism for years — discussed how fame can be a powerful force for good in the Aug. 28, 2015, issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

Being on a TV show that tens of millions of people were watching gave Perry a unique platform to help others, the actor explained.

And, judging from the facts, it's definitely a perspective worthy of our attention.

Painkiller abuse in the U.S. has surged in the past several years.

"The United States is in the midst of a prescription painkiller overdose epidemic," according to the CDC. While Americans aren't reporting any more pain, the number of prescription painkillers prescribed and sold in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999.

The center reported in 2011 that increasing painkiller abuse was responsible for more American deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images.

Gil Kerlikowske, former director of National Drug Control Policy, spoke on its effects in 2011, claiming painkiller abuse “is a silent epidemic ... stealing thousands of lives and tearing apart communities and families across America."

That's why Perry has spoken out about his own demons loud and clear.

The actor explained to The Hollywood Report how selflessness can be key to getting sober.

In his interview, Perry praised Phoenix House, a rehab center based in Venice, California, for helping him get back on the right track.

The center was instrumental in his recovery, Perry acknowledged, but it's ultimately an addict's responsibility to reach sobriety: "They're not the finished product," he said of treatment facilities. "You have to follow it up with a lot of hard work afterwards."

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images.

Perry noted it's better for someone struggling with addiction to think more about others and less about themselves.

“The most important thing [in battling addiction] is always to get outside of your head and help another person. When you're having a bad day, call somebody and ask them how they're doing, and actually pay attention and listen to the answer."

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Comedy legend Carol Burnett once said, "Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head." She wasn't joking.

Going through childbirth is widely acknowledged as one of the most grueling things a human can endure. Having birthed three babies myself, I can attest that Burnett's description is fairly accurate—if that seemingly impossible lip-stretching feat lasted for hours and involved a much more sensitive part of your body.

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via SNL / YouTube

Christopher Walken is one of the greatest actors of his generation. He's been nominated for an Academy Award twice for best supporting actor, winning once for 1978's "The Deer Hunter" and receiving a nomination for 2002's "Catch Me if You Can."

He's played memorable roles in "Annie Hall," "Pulp Fiction," "Wedding Crashers," "Batman Returns," and countless other films. He's also starred in Shakespeare on the stage and began his career as a dancer.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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