‘Modern Family’: ‘Friends’ Co-Stars Were Considered for Roles in the Dunphy Family

Many stars were considered to join the cast of Modern Family. It turns out two stars of Friends were considered for roles in the Dunphy family. Find out who they were and why they turned it down.

Craig T. Nelson walked away from ‘Modern Family’ because of money

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Craig T. Nelson was originally offered the role of Jay Pritchett after someone flipped a coin because they were stuck between him and Ed O’Neill. However, things broke down when it came to negotiations. Casting director Jeff Greenberg talked about this in the book, “Modern Family: The Untold Oral History of One of Television’s Groundbreaking Sitcoms.”

“He wanted star money, and it wasn’t a star show,” Greenberg claimed according to Page Six. “It’s an ensemble show. I understand from his agent that he regretted his decision. I’m not surprised.”

That wasn’t the only reason things didn’t work out. Modern Family co-creator, Steve Levitan said the rumors that Nelson is “difficult” and his Glenn Beck interview made them change their minds.

“That scared us, frankly,” he said. “There was a lack of self-awareness there and compassion that worried us. Meanwhile, all we kept hearing is that Ed O’Neill is the nicest person on the planet. We decided to pull the offer and go to Ed.”

Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc were being considered for Claire and Phil

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani on 'Friends'
Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani on ‘Friends’ | NBCU Photo Bank

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Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe Buffay, was considered to play the mother of three. Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani, almost played her husband.

The role of Claire Dunphy might have been a change for Kudrow. Claire is funny but through being an uptight person. LeBlanc, on the other hand, would easily fit into the role of Phil who is goofy like Joey.

LeBlanc told USA Today that he turned down the role. “I remember reading it thinking, this is a really good script, (but) I’m not the guy for this,” he said. “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.”

Krudow also talked about passing up the role. “I thought, ‘I don’t know what I’d do with it,’” she said according to Access. “And, so, you know, that’s all. Julie Bowen does know what to do with it, so, it’s all as it should be.”

The ‘Friends’ cast is reuniting

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Fans didn’t get the chance to watch the co-stars play a married couple. But they will get to see the cast together again.

Kudrow, LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Matthew Perry are reuniting for a special on HBO Max. The unscripted special will show them and series creators, David Crane and Marta Kauffman talking about their experiences filming the show. The production of the special is on hold due the pandemic.