‘Modern Family’ director says cast was ‘part of something special’

‘Modern Family’ director says cast was ‘part of something special’

How many sitcoms run for 11 seasons? Very few. “Modern Family” will celebrate its glittering run with a one-hour special that segues directly into the back-to-back final episodes.

Director Christopher Wilcha interviewed the cast as well as executive producers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd and combed through audition tapes (casting directors saw 232 actors for the role of Phil, 228 for the role of Cam). Cameos included everyone from Nathan Lane and Ed Norton to Phinneas O’Connell, brother of singer Billie Eilish. The kid actors on the show grew up (“Rico Rodriguez, who played Manny, had his first kiss on the show,” says Wilcha), and the show also had some landmark episodes, most notably the wedding of Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), which happened before gay marriage was legal.

Wilcha, who spoke to The Post from LA, says, “I think people on the show thought the 10th season was going to be the last one so they knew that this one was going to be it. So they were already a little pre-emptively emotional. Steve and Chris wanted to mark the ending and tell the story of how it got made.”

"Modern Family" stars Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould and Sarah Hyland.
“Modern Family” stars Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould and Sarah Hyland.ABC

What was it like talking to the cast as the show ended?
They all gave very thoughtful and emotional interviews. Some of them say outright that this was the best job they’ll ever have. This is the kind of show that doesn’t exist anymore. That destination television that everyone was watching on one night of the week. It was a pre-streaming phenomenon. They were part of something special and they knew it. They also know that that era has passed.

Why was it so hard to cast the role of Phil Dunphy?
The network was not interested in Ty Burrell. They felt like he was unlikable. They just didn’t feel like he was an appealing character. Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd had written the role for him. They had worked with him before. They took a video camera during the casting process to Steve’s back yard and created one of the scenes from the pilot in rough, shaggy form and cut it together to convince the network. That’s the story we tell and footage we show.

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