Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson on the Upcoming Story Line That Moved Him to Tears

December 10, 2009 by
Filed under: Actors 

Jesse Tyler Ferguson almost missed out on Modern Family, ABC’s breakout mockumentary that is already being heralded by the Hollywood Reporter as one of the best series of the decade. Recovering from his experience on the critically savaged and quickly canceled Do Not Disturb, Ferguson told his managers that he was finished with television and moved to New York last year to headline the Broadway musical based on Elf. Fortunately for Ferguson, his managers soft-sold him Modern Family, which the actor read five times over and fell in love with. Now, Ferguson can be seen on Wednesday nights as Mitchell Pritchett, the hilariously straight-laced former figure skater who has since settled down with his flamboyant partner — the hilarious Eric Stonestreet — and their adopted Vietnamese daughter.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson Modern Family

Movieline has an interview with Jesse, and here are some of the Q&A:

I heard that you also initially auditioned for the role of Cameron. How far were you in the audition process before realizing you were a better fit for Mitchell?
It was literally the first audition, and I had been desperate to play Mitchell. I feel like I had probably played Cameron before and it didn’t seem terribly challenging for me. I just felt it was more of a challenge to find the humor in his seriousness and his uptightness. And then the first audition with Chris and Steve, they said, “Oh you’d make a great Mitchell too. Why don’t you come back in and audition for that part?” And I said, “Well that’s what I’ve been telling people for weeks and no one has been listening!”

There is a lot of tension between certain characters on the show, especially between Julie Bowen’s and Sofia Vergara’s characters, that has extended into certain press interviews with the actresses. Is that tension real, are people afraid of them on set?
It’s completely not. We all have this amazing, kind of unruly sense of humor. Sofia and Julie have this hilarious dynamic between the two of them. They go out to dinner and they are very good friends but they make fun of each other all the time. When that whole thing happened with theChelsea Lately show, it was funny, because that is just how the two would be interacting to each other’s face. But people with too much time on their hands in front of their computers suddenly created this controversy between the two of them [Ed. note: Those people are so pathetic!], but they were laughing about it together. So there’s no tension between the two of them.

Can you tell us anything about the rest of the season — any big surprises or dance numbers?
[Laughs] Yeah, we adopt another baby. Just kidding. Can you imagine? There’s this great episode that actually really hit close to the heart for me. We deal with my dad’s uncomfortability with my character’s sexuality. Ed O’Neill’s character ends up introducing Cameron to his friends as “a friend of my son, Mitchell’s.” And I get really upset about it, naturally and say, “You would never introduce Phil as a friend of Claire’s.” It kind of opens up this can of worms between him and me and how much support he really offers me. It ends up being very moving and very touching. Obviously, through the eyes of Chris Lloyd and Steve Levitan and the writer of that episode, it is handled with such care and humor. It actually made me tear up when I read it. Especially in this era of marriage equality, it gave a simple, clear voice to a father and his son. And by the end of the episode, I think it might take a step towards changing a lot of people’s minds on marriage and equality and how they view people that are different from them.

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