Jesse Tyler Ferguson says being gay lawyer Mitch Pritchett in Modern Family is one of the easiest roles he’s taken on because he’s basically playing himself.
Ferguson and the rest of the Modern Family cast are in Australia to shoot an episode of the hugely popular Network Ten series, in Sydney and on the Great Barrier Reef.
Ferguson said he was initially called to audition for Mitch’s emotionally over-the-top partner Cam Tucker, who is played by the “openly straight” Eric Streetstone.
However, once he was cast as Mitch there was little else to do for the role except turn up on the set each morning and just be himself in the mockumentary-style sitcom.
“Fortunately for me, Mitch is very close to who I am,” Ferguson told AAP.
“When I auditioned for the role, I basically read it for myself and it’s the easiest job I have ever had to do.
“I haven’t had do a lot of research for the role.”
Ferguson says it did take some convincing for the producers to allow him to audition for Mitch after they had him earmarked as Cam on the series, which returns on Monday at 7.30pm.
Mitch’s character was more appealing to Ferguson because it was less flamboyant and, in many ways, a less stereotypical gay role than Cam’s.
To make the producers come around to his way of thinking, Ferguson auditioned for Cam in the same manner the producers were looking to cast Mitch’s character. The ploy worked.
“I read Cameron as I was reading Mitchell because they refused to see me as Mitchell and then they said `you’d be a better Mitchell than Cam’,” Ferguson said.
There was another side of the character Ferguson wanted to explore – the fact it meant being a son and a brother as well.
“I liked the challenge of not just playing Mitchell and being a partner, but a son, and a brother, and I like playing people who are serious and finding that a challenge,” he said.
Ferguson has used his role on the sitcom to fight for marriage equality across the US by selling a designer collection of bow ties under business of Tie The Knot.
Ferguson married his partner Justin Mikita last July in New York and they channel the proceeds from Tie The Knot towards various organisations championing the cause of gay and lesbian rights in the US.
* Modern Family season five returns at 7.30pm on Monday, February 24 on Network Ten