Will Friedle is known for playing Cory Matthew’s charming, idiot elder brother Eric on the ’90s sitcom Boy Meets World. Eric was a young person who didn’t know what to do with himself and often wandered around in search of meaning during the show. Back then, Friedle was a 90s teen heartthrob with hair destined for greatness. It seemed like the perfect way to get the young actor’s career going. But things didn’t seem as they did behind the scenes.
Will Friedle himself said that he had stopped acting after Boy Meets World ended in 2000, but why? The answer is anxiety. The actor has since talked about how his struggles with mental health completely shifted his career path.
Will Friedle Almost Wasn’t Cast In Boy Meets World.
It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Will Friedle playing Eric Matthews on Boy Meets World, but that was almost the case when the show’s casting initiated at the time. Friedle told Entertainment Tonight in 2022 that he nearly didn’t get to play the beloved character because he was sick.
When they were casting for the show originally, it was called The Untitled Ben Savage Project,
Will Friedle explained.
And they were casting for an older brother and I got sick and couldn’t go.
Friedle said that the role went to another actor. The undisclosed actor then filmed the pilot episode with Ben Savage, who played Eric Matthews’s younger brother, Cory Matthews. Soon after, the part was given to Friedle, and it was because of small but important detail. The height.
The actor was fine. There was nothing wrong with him. He was a fine actor, but he wasn’t tall enough,
Friedle explained to ET.
He was the same size as Ben, and they knew Ben was going to grow, and they wanted an older brother, so they recast.
What Happened To Will Friedle After Boy Meets World?
After Boy Meets World wrapped up in 2000, Will Friedle’s career took a big turn. The actor’s fans know that he only appeared in a few projects. In 2004, he co-starred with Chris Owen in the independent movie National Lampoon’s Gold Diggers. He also played a supporting role in the 2005 ABC Family movie Everything You Want.
What became clear was that Friedle seemed to take a step back from acting onscreen and instead chose voice-over work. It seemed like a risky move for the actor who had done so well playing the beloved Eric Matthews, but he chose to remain in that field of acting.
Fans were surprised when the actor, who had said he was done with acting, signed on to be on the Boy Meets World spinoff, Girl Meets World, to play his beloved character again. Will Friedle was afraid to go back to acting on screen at first, but he decided to do it anyway.
I started watching the show at the beginning, and watched the progression of the characters and everything,
Friedle tells Entertainment Weekly.
I wanted to support everybody.
Friedle also decided to come back to the show because he thought fans should know what happened to his character.
And there came a point where it almost wasn’t fair if the audience didn’t get to see what happened to Eric. ‘Cause they’ve been there forever, so it’s like, you know, at some point you’re just kind of being mean if you don’t come back. So I wanted to make sure that we got a good Eric story, and you can kind of see what he’s been up to for the audience,
he told EW.
The Truth About Will Friedle’s Anxiety.
When things don’t go as planned in an actor’s career, people assume they just “fell off” because they don’t have enough talent. That is not always the case though. Sometimes, the’s more to it.
After Boy Meets World ended, it seemed like Will Friedle had dropped off the face of the earth, and fans didn’t know why. But in 2018, the actor was honest about how the end of the series impacted his life, and it put things in perspective.
At a panel at the 2018 New York Comic Con, the actor talked about how his battle with anxiety made him stop acting for good. Because of his anxiety, it was almost impossible for him to keep going in the career that fans wanted for him.
I was planning to do more on-camera work, but then I got hit with these anxiety attacks that prevented me from doing that,
Friedle later said that the anxiety started when he was around 22 or 23 years old.
My career was going in one direction, I thought I was going to be an on-camera actor my entire life,
he told the crowd.
It got to the point where my anxiety was so bad that I couldn’t audition for on-camera stuff anymore.
Why Will Friedle Only Does Voice Acting Now?
Alan Matthews, the head of the Matthews family on Boy Meets World, told Will Friedle’s character Eric that he could be anything he wanted to be if he tried as hard as he could. Friedle has been successful over the years, despite some setbacks.
Sometimes, when one door closes, another one opens. Will Friedle’s life since Boy Meets World ended is a tribute to that old saying, as his inability to act on-screen led him to another job behind the scenes. After he stopped acting in front of the camera, the actor talked at the 2018 panel about how much he loves doing voice-over work.
What brought me to voice-over was anxiety,
Since the show ended, Friedle has lent his voice to comic heroes like Batman, Nightwing, Green Lantern, Deadpool, and Star-Lord. He also did the voiceovers of Ron Stoppable in the Disney show Kim Possible, Master Splinter in TMNT, Lion-O in Thundercats, and Bumblebee in Transformers. Voice-over work was a way for the actor to still use his talent, even though he wasn’t acting onscreen anymore.
I was so thankful I had voice-over because I could still perform and act,