DAGGIEST OF THE DUNPHYS
WITH Modern Family inching towards its 10th – and possibly, final – season next year, Ty Burrell has already started to contemplate what life will look like after he’s finished playing Phil Dunphy.
As one of the most hazard-prone but beloved dads on TV, the role was a career breakthrough for Burrell – but will he hang up his acting boots after it?
The 50-year- old – an adoptive father of two daughters, Frances and Greta – ponders as much.
“Honestly, I’ve been taking my lumps as a producer and really enjoying learning how to do that,” he says. “I think I’m not really willing to travel very much anymore, or miss too many dinners away from my kids. (So) there’s a possibility that I may step away from performing altogether when the show is over.”
The award-winning comedy’s executive producer and co- creator Steven Levitan has predicted the show will round out after 10 seasons – leaving behind a positive legacy for same- sex families and a new view of the roles of husbands and fathers.
Burrell hopes the remaining episodes are used to explore what happens to the next generation, as well as life for the parents, after raising kids.
“It really is a hard thing in real life, people finding their identities (when they’re) without their kids, and also the kids finding their identities as they become more independent,” he says.
“I think that’s really what we’re going to be exploring over the next two years. What do the kids become? What becomes of their paths and also what of Phil and Claire ( played by Julie Bowen)? What are they gonna decide to do on their own?”
Given Phil’s kooky track record of entrepeneurial pursuits, the door is wide open for writers, who have had fun clowning up his character.
For an episode this season, producers had him spend his real 50th birthday attempting f ly a water jet-pack, when the Dunphys went on holiday to Lake Tahoe.
“We didn’t need any choreography. It was haunting, just trying to say my lines while trying to control this machine,” he says, laughing. “I can’t imagine that I’ll remember that birthday. It’ll be one I’ll forget for sure!”
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