As “Modern Family” prepares to begin its ninth season, with a tenth guaranteed, one star revealed that the show could have looked significantly different if it wasn’t for a choice he made years ago. “Friends” star Matt LeBlanc confessed that he was offered a part on the ABC sitcom that he felt compelled to turn down.
Speaking to USA Today, the actor revealed that he was offered the part of Phil Dunphy in the pilot episode of the Emmy-winning show. However, he understood quickly that he was not right for the part. The outlet even notes that the role was written with Ty Burrell, the man who ultimately went on to play Phil, in mind. However, when the network gave the showrunners push-back on Burrell, LeBlanc was approached in 2009.
“I remember reading it thinking, ‘this is a really good script, (but) I’m not the guy for this. I’d be doing the project an injustice to take this. I know what I can do, I know what I can’t do. Plus, I’m having too much fun laying on the couch,’” LeBlanc said.
At the time, the star was taking a bit of a break from the spotlight following the poor reception and ultimate cancellation of his “Friends” spinoff, “Joey.” Although it’s hard to imagine anyone but Burrell playing the role of Phil, the entire run of “Modern Family” could have looked very different had LeBlanc opted for another job instead of waiting for the right part.
Things seem to have worked out in everyone’s favor as LeBlanc went on to star in the series “Episodes,” where he plays an exaggerated version of himself in an even more exaggerated show business setting. The series is about to debut its fifth and final season on August 20, and its creators are thrilled they were able to cast the man most known for the Joey Tribbiani character.
“I always thought, he’s so good at what he does that people think this man is Joey. And he is so not Joey; he’s doing such great acting that no one gives him credit for,” series creator Jeffrey Klarik told YahooTV. “ It was just like, ‘Let’s write him something that’s really nuanced and rich and euphoric,’ and he hasn’t let us down. Pretty amazing. Whatever you throw his way, he comes at it.”