While Eric Stonestreet plays a gay man on TV, the burly straight actor was concerned initially about taking the role. Enough to pick a fight.
“As a straight guy from Kansas, I thought I was going to be the [character] that started having to knock people out if they gave me too much crap for playing a gay guy on TV,” Stonestreet, 38, told Fancast at Friday’s PaleyFest 2010 event for his show ‘Modern Family.’ (Stonestreet is a Kansas native, and his character, Cameron, is also from the Midwest.)
“[Costar and onscreen partner] Jesse [Tyler Ferguson] knows from the beginning, I said, ‘If one guy says one thing, I am knocking him out,'” Stonestreet says. “But the truth of the matter is, nobody has said anything really that bad.”
The scene-stealing Stonestreet has drawn praise for his comedic portrayal of Cameron, who is raising a child with Mitchell (Ferguson). To his credit, he says he hasn’t had to knock anyone out.
“For the most part, it has been people thanking me. I have men wanting to introduce me to their babies and kids — that’s the majority of all of it,” Stonestreet says.
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In the panel discussion about ‘Modern Family,’ in front of a packed audience of 1,500+ at L.A.’s Saban Theater, Stonestreet, who has said his effeminate character is based on his real-life mother, later said he worked out a natural interpretation of Cameron with the show’s creators, Christopher Lloyd and Steve Levitan.
“We started talking about the character in the beginning, Steve and Chris, so they could hear everything we had to say about ourselves,” Stonestreet said. “That’s what I think a lot of people respond to, is that we are who are we are. It’s such a brilliant stroke on their part to make Cameron that guy. I went to high school with guys that played football that I know for sure they are gay now. [I don’t like] the idea of Cameron as a stereotypical gay guy … An ex-clown, football-playing gay guy, I have seen it a million times,” he quipped.
He added about his fans, “I accept them and appreciate them, no matter their gender or sexual orientation.”