INSIDE: Seven days of TV viewing
ALEX Dunphy is the brainiac middle child in US hit comedy who prefers a good book and a sarcastic one- liner to talking about boys.
But Ariel Winter ( pictured second from right) says in 2012 her character is ready to come into her own on Australian screens.
Winter, who turns 14 on January 28, says in fresh episodes of the show – due to screen on TDT later this month –
fans will see a new side to Alex. ‘‘ Alex is evolving a bit more and I think she’ll have a few boyfriends,’’ Winter said on a recent holiday in Sydney.
‘‘ I like that there’s a lot of growing room for her on the show.
‘‘ Haley [ her on- screen older sister, played by Sarah Hyland] has already evolved. Luke [ Alex’s younger brother, played by Nolan Gould]? Well, Luke is Luke.
‘‘ But Alex is at the age where she can transform. They’re trying to show that
Modern you can be cool and smart and not be a stereotypical teenage girl.
‘‘ I think we’ll see more of the cool girl, but she’ll still be really smart.’’
In season three, she also gets a chance to rant. She lets loose on a salesman because she thinks he is making judgments about her uncle being gay.
‘‘ We’ve never seen Alex go on a rant, I had a blast doing it,’’ Winter says with a grin. ‘‘ Usually it’s a one- liner and she’s out of there.’’
For Winter, joining the cast of the hit comedy has meant discovering a whole second family. When the cameras stop rolling, there’s a family- like bond between all of the young actors on the show.
Winter landed her first acting gig at the age of four, but she remains a grounded 13- year- old. This is largely thanks to her real family, and her one.
‘‘ My dad told me I wouldn’t be able to act if I didn’t get good grades,’’ shrugs Winter, who attends school on the set along with her young cast mates.
‘‘ Nolan and Rico
Modern Family [ Rodriguez, who plays Manny] are like my brothers and we’re all going through the same thing – growing up in front of America – so it’s like having two little partners in crime,’’ she laughs.
‘‘ Nolan has to play dumb as Luke but he’s really smart – he’s a member of MENSA. He’s in the 10th grade and he’s younger than me. He helps me with my homework sometimes.
‘‘ Sarah [ Hyland, who plays older sister Haley] gives me guy advice, I give Nolan girl advice – he needs to work on his swagger – and Nolan tries to hook me up with his friends, so we definitely have a ’ Modern Family’.’’
Winter says the only person more excited than her when she landed the
role was her father, a devoted fan of Ed O’neill ( patriarch Jay Pritchett on the show) from his days playing Al Bundy on
Married . . . With Children. O’neill is like a grandfather to her on set. ‘‘ I say to Ed: ‘ Dude, remember that
episode? I rewatched it last night’, and he re- enacts things for me, it’s hilarious.’’
She is closest to her on- screen parents Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell, but if she could swap roles for a day she would love to play glamorous Sofia Vergara’s Gloria. ‘‘ I’d totally say Sofia,’’ she grins. ‘‘ She’s just so funny. We all love doing her accent. And, of course, we’d all want Sofia’s body. Who doesn’t?’’
Staying grounded is Winter’s rule to live by, although she relishes the ‘‘ snarky remarks I can use that I’ve learned playing Alex’’. ‘‘ We’re both sarcastic. My dad says that I’m probably more sarcastic than Alex in real life,’’ she says. ‘‘ But I’m a normal teenager. I get pimples, I had braces.
‘‘ I have a great circle of friends outside the show. They say ‘ go act, then come back and let’s hang out’.
‘‘ If I tried to get a big head my Mum would be ‘ Uh- uh, go sit in your room’.
‘‘ A polite, respectful actor is far better than a mean diva.’’ You wait for the sarcastic Alex Dunphy follow- up. Instead Winter smiles, gives you a style hug and leaves the room.
Married . . . With Children