Actor Ty Burrell: From Grants Pass to ABC’s hit comedy ‘Modern Family’

November 28, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Actors 

Ty Burrell
For a young man who grows up in Ashland, getting the acting bug must be as easy as falling off a log. Right? After all, the Southern Oregon town is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, known for its world-class productions and top-flight casts.

But for Ty Burrell, the Oregon native who co-stars on the ABC comedy, “Modern Family,” the whole acting thing took a while.

“What do they say about not taking advantage of things in your hometown?” Burrell says, calling from Los Angeles. “You know, if you’re in Paris, you never go see the Eiffel Tower? I didn’t go to see a play at the festival until I was in my early 20s.”

But fans of “Modern Family” — the show averages 10.6 million viewers weekly — know Burrell has become a gifted actor, moving easily between drama and comedy. Burrell, 42, has performed onstage in New York and London; in movies (“The Incredible Hulk,” “Black Hawk Down”); and on TV (“Back to You”).

Oregon Live spoke with Burrell about his own family, acting and his Oregon roots. Here are some of the Q&As:

Q: How much of the character of Phil is based on you or your family?

I mainly just drew on myself — sadly (laughs). Phil’s inability to see how he’s goofing and messing things up comes directly from my own delusional, oblivious existence. It’s magnified with people that I’ve met over the years, people who I’ve really liked because I think that type of person is just so full of life.

Q: What were your younger days in Oregon like?

I was born in Grants Pass and grew up in Ashland. We also spent about eight years in Applegate, where my family owned a little country store. That was an amazing time, lots of lazy summer days, floating down the Applegate River on inner tubes. In many ways, it was absurd because we had no business being out in the country because we were extremely soft! I graduated from Hidden Valley High School.

Q: When did you get interested in acting? Was that something others in your family had done?

Nobody in my family, at any level, had ever had any connection to performing or show business. I will say, though, that there’s a long history of raconteurs in my family. My grandfather was a great storyteller, and my dad and his brother would get going and were very funny together. My younger brother, Duncan, and I really watched that a lot and admired it. The official term would be we got into comedy when we were young. But we really just got into goofing off when we were kids.

Read the rest of the story Oregon Live

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Edward Norton To Guest Star On ‘Modern Family’

October 23, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Actors 

Edward Norton is set to join the cast of offbeat TV comedy Modern Family. The Incredible Hulk star will guest alongside Elizabeth Banks in an upcoming episode of the hit new show, and series regular Eric Stonestreet insists Norton is a natural comedian.

Edward Norton Modern Family

[source: Sidereel]

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Ty Burrell Is A Talking Dog [source:]

October 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Actors 

You may recognize Ty Burrell’s face from any number of his movie credits — The Incredible Hulk, Dawn of the Dead, National Treasure: Book of Secrets — but he’s really caught our eye as the bumbling Phil Dunphy on ABC’s hysterical new comedy Modern Family. Ty took some time off the set to chat with about his character and the show. Break down your character, Phil Dunphy, for us.
Ty Burrell: Luckily he doesn’t require a lot of psychological complexity. The easiest description of Phil is he’s a dog that can talk. He’s just this incredibly well-intentioned guy and he means so well, he’s so eager to please, and he’s so loyal, but he has no idea [what's going on] — the level of obliviousness is so much fun to play.
What is it about Modern Family that has made the show so easy for the audience to connect to?
Primarily it has to do with a warmth that the creators have built into it. They wrote a smart, sophisticated single-camera show that manages to bring people [in]. A lot of single-camera shows have been very smart and I’ve loved them, but they’ve kept a certain part of the audience at arm’s length because it’s hard to get past the irony and snarkiness. The genius of [creators Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan] is that they have built these three families that really love each other even though they’re constantly teetering on the brink of catastrophe.

I think the child actors do a splendid job on the show, which is part of what makes Modern Family work so well. Kids can make or break a family sitcom.
It’s totally true. It’s an under-appreciated aspect of all sitcoms, but I hope these guys get the attention they deserve because they’re uniformly great actors and really fun to be around. I would argue they are the funniest people on the show. It’s been really eye-opening for me, because I haven’t worked with kids this much. To be honest, they’re much more experienced in the profession. They’re all telling me union rules. I basically just know where to stand and talk.
There were rumors that your pal Ed Norton is making a guest appearance.
He is going to be on the show, we filmed it two weeks ago. He plays this former bassist for Spandau Ballet, but he tours by himself to make money, and all he does is play the bassline and sing background vocals.

Ed O’Neill is fantastic on the show. Is this his comeback role?
The thing about Ed is that what [Married with Children] did for him was gave him opportunity to turn down other work. We see a lot of people take work because we need to pay bills. If we haven’t seen Ed much, it’s because he doesn’t have to take anything he doesn’t want. He’s done the stuff he has been doing, the David Milch and David Mamet stuff, it’s really stellar work. He’s such a good actor. On the show, I love the relationship with Phil and Jay. He’s the perfect patriarch for this family because he’s so grounded and his performance is so grounded. It’s a great thing because there’s a range of personalities in the families, from bigger personalities to more demure personalities, and I think he grounds the show perfectly.

Can you sum up the difference between Phil and his wife Claire’s parenting styles?
Claire has a parenting style. That’s the difference.

Modern Family

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