By Jackie Tiongson 9-20-2012
The cast of “Modern Family” has become one of the most beloved households in America. This year, the show has earned fourteen Emmy nominations including Outstanding Casting for a Comedy. Casting Director Jeff Greenberg is responsible for bringing this laugh-out-loud family into our homes.
Greenberg described his reaction to seeing the pilot, telling WEBN in Los Angeles, “I couldn’t
stop watching it. I was sort of in awe of how the puzzle pieces all fit together so flawlessly. I just went, ‘This really works.’”
Finding this perfect combination of actors did not happen overnight. Greenberg and his team spent countless hours looking for the right people to play each of the ten series regulars.
He explained, “It was a very difficult project to do because it’s a big cast….our standards were high so it took a while to get there, but look at what we ended up with.”
The two characters who were the most difficult to cast were Claire and Phil Dunphy, played by Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell.
Greenberg went into detail about the surprising casting of Julie Bowen – “We were out
of actresses and the only reason I hadn’t brought Julie in prior to that was ’cause she
was very pregnant, 8-and-a-half-months-with-twins-pregnant.” He added, “For lack of
any other ideas I brought her in and they (ABC Network) loved her reading. She got
the part and she shot the pilot fully pregnant, but you wouldn’t know because they
hid it so significantly.”
When it came to Ty Burrell, Jeff knew immediately that he was perfect to play Phil. However,
the ABC Network needed some convincing. “They didn’t see what we saw at
first. We kept bringing him back in with other actors.” Jeff, along with show creators Steve
Levitan and Chris Lloyd, ended up shooting a screen test with Ty Burrell in Steve’s
backyard and pitched it to ABC. Jeff proudly told WEBN, “They [ABC] loved it! It just
worked and they got Ty, they got the show, and we had that role.”
Modern Family debuts its fourth season on September 26, and Jeff remains as proud
of the cast as ever. “All of them sort of created what was the fabric of the show and they just work so
beautifully together. When it happens, it’s a magical feeling, and this one was that.”