Fred Willard talks upcoming ‘Modern Family’

April 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Guest Stars 

EW talked to Fred Willard about his upcoming role in Modern Family. Here are some of the highlights:

You’re reprising your role of Phil’s father, Frank, on Modern Family. Frank shows up in an RV with a little four-legged friend?

Yes, yes, it’s his dog that his wife is allergic to, so he’s driven across country to give it to his son. So there’s some touching moments in that as well.

You worked with the creators of Modern Family and Ty Burrell on Fox’s Back to You. That’s what made them think of you? It’s such great casting.

I never think I’m old enough to play someone’s dad, even though I have a daughter of my own and a grandson. But yeah, Steve Levitan and Chris Lloyd did Back to You and thought of me. And I guess Ty Burrell kept saying, “Gee, we should get Fred Willard on.”

The first time we saw Frank, it was just on a web camera. What will we learn about him now that’s actually visiting in-person?

He’s just kind of a silly character who loves corny jokes, but also has a serious side, a sentimental side.

Do you have scenes with Ed O’Neill this time?

I do. I did Married… With Children years ago with him, and he’s just the most marvelous guy you’d ever want to be with, just a regular blue-collar guy…. There’s a musical scene that’s done in a real club that’s just really wonderful, where Cam bulls his way into playing the drums [for Dylan's band]. We’re part of the group watching and amazed at the, we’ll call it the drum solo. [Laughs] It’s a hysterical scene.

Any plans to return for future episodes?

The problem is, my character lives in Florida. When I left, I said, “I see the whole family going to Disney World in Florida.” “Hey! That’s a great idea!” As with most great ideas, I haven’t heard much more about that. But they did request a photo of me to put in the hallway [of Phil and Claire's home]. So I haven’t been eliminated from the inner circle. They said, “You’re one of the family now, so we need a photograph.” I don’t know if you get paid for that, but there’s my picture.

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All in the Modern Family

February 26, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Modern Family News 

The WSJ has a great article about Modern Family; here are some of the highlights:

What do you call a mother of three, naked under her trench coat that gets caught in a hotel escalator just as she randomly bumps into her father and his much-younger Colombian wife whose 11-year-old son is trying to woo a girl with the help of his uncle, his uncle’s partner and their adopted Vietnamese baby daughter, who was dressed by one of her fathers in one of his feather boas for Valentine’s Day?

The new face of network-television family comedy.

The strong appeal stems, in part, from the many different types of characters for many different types of Americans to identify with. “The whole show is a send-up of contemporary culture, a mirror of the contemporary American family and something of an amalgam of many different sitcoms that came before it,” says Richard Dubin, a former TV writer who is now a professor at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

The writers dig into some of the tensions between straight parents and gay children that emerge even within the realm of relatives that love and mostly accept each other’s lifestyles. Jay cares about spending time with his son’s partner, but when the chosen activity is racquetball, he worries about being in a locker room with a gay man, telling the camera documentary-style, “I mean, for me it’s a locker room. For him, it’s a showroom.” When Cameron runs into Jay and his friends outside a restaurant, Jay introduces Cameron as a “friend of my son’s.”

“They have been so smart in the portrayal of what it means to be gay in a family that tries but sometimes fails to be totally welcoming,” says Jeffrey Richman, a writer who has worked with Messrs. Lloyd and Levitan on sitcoms like “Frasier,” and is gay.

In 2008, Messrs. Levitan and Lloyd were coming off a high-profile failure in “Back to You,” a workplace sitcom with big stars: Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton. Friends since they worked together on the staff of “Wings,” the writing partners would meet at their office and casually bat around ideas, telling tales about their wives and kids. “We were licking our wounds and we would just end up telling funny stories about what happened that weekend at home,” Mr. Levitan says.

Late that summer, they pitched the idea to Twentieth Century Fox Television, which wound up producing the show (and, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp.). Mr. Levitan described a (slightly embroidered) incident when he went into his eldest daughter’s room to tell her to shut off the computer and go to bed, then heard a voice from the computer say, “Nice boxers, Mr. Levitan.” (She was Skyping with a friend.) This resurfaced in an episode of “Modern Family” when Claire, played by Julie Bowen, finds herself, in undergarments, getting ogled by her teenage daughter’s boyfriend who is hanging out in the daughter’s bedroom, via video chat.

Read the rest of the story on The WSJ.

Modern Family

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“Modern Family” star Ty Burrell finally knows where his next paycheck is coming from

January 27, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Actors 

ty burell

Since ABC has already renewed “Modern Family” for a second season, Ty Burrell has been pondering an unfamiliar question: How will he spend his hiatus?

“For the first time ever know what I’m going to be doing in the fall of next year,” said the 42-year-old actor whose previous two series – “Back to You” and “Out of Practice” had far shorter runs than anyone expected.

“Modern Family” is a very different story. The mockumentary-style show revolving around three families that are interrelated has been a breakout hit for ABC. It’s provided Burell with a gem of a role in Phil Dunphy, a father of three who can be awfully goofy but whose heart in the right place.

“I have been through it just enough to know that even if a show is good, it doesn’t mean it’s gonna go,” the actor tells “We loved the show from the beginning, we thought it was a great show. But I definitely was not holding my breath to be honest. You just never know what people are going to watch.
So to have all of it come together, I realize now at this point in my career, it’s an incredibly fortunate thing. Cast, chemistry, direction, writing, and the network being behind it and really supporting it – all of those things have come together and I’m just feeling very lucky.”

Read the full story on Hollywood News

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