A new book on “Modern Family” by Marc Freeman contains a few tidbits that are making the rounds on the Internet. The show finished its 11-season run in April, but, of course, it still lives on in broadcast syndication and streaming.
Called “Modern Family: The Untold Oral History of One of Television’s Groundbreaking Sitcoms,” the book includes interesting points about the casting process, notably that while the part of Phil Dunphy was written for Ty Burrell, ABC execs didn’t think he was the right actor for the role. Burrell had to jump through many hoops before convincing them. Matt LeBlanc, Joel McHale, and David Harbour were also under consideration.
Craig T. Nelson and Ed O’Neill were both up for the role of Jay Pritchett, which ultimately went to O’Neill. According to casting director Jeff Greenberg, Nelson “wanted star money, and it wasn’t a star show.” Co-creator Steve Levitan adds that they began hearing rumors that Nelson was “a bit difficult on set.”
Other casting dish: Lisa Kudrow, Leah Remini, Debra Messing, and Constance Zimmer were considered for the part of Claire, which went to Julie Bowen. Tony Hale, Josh Gad, Jesse Tyler Ferguson (who ultimately played Mitchell) were considered for the part of Cam that went to Eric Stonestreet. And Mo Rocca was among those considered to play Mitchell.