No ‘crying fest’ for her: Julie Bowen says she preferred to cry alone at end of Modern Family

As the final eleventh season of Modern Family goes on air, we got to chat with Julie Bowen, who plays Claire Dunphy on the show. 
Julie Bowen
Julie Bowen

Modern Family, the sitcom, redefined what it means to be a family. The comedy, which centred around an extended family with a gay couple, a Columbian step-mother, and all their kids, now comes to an end. As the final eleventh season goes on air, we got to chat with Julie Bowen, who plays Claire Dunphy on the show...

This was the last season. Have you taken anything from the set?
I started mourning on day one of the shoot of this season. I was sobbing. But I shoved it down and turned on my German... So, there was some artwork which is not fancy, but it reminds me so much of the show. And there were some ugly plates hanging on the wall in the Dunphy house that I always hated, and then I took one. 

Eleven years and it is finally over now. It is going to be very emotional, right?
Yes! I have already done a fair amount of crying, but it comes out of the blue. I have definitely done the walking around and saying to people, ‘I love you’. Working together has been amazing. But come that last day, I am out of here. I am not hanging out for the crying fest. I imagine that to be like a big amoeba of weeping. People hugging and crying, and I can’t do it. I would rather cry alone. And I predict that I will double down at the end.

You have been virtually pregnant the whole time you were doing Modern Family. Tell us about that. 
I was pregnant with the twins at the very beginning of Modern Family, on the pilot episode. And I have three kids to put through school. They are at 10, 10 and 12. And now this is the last season, so I will have plenty of time to explain stuff to them and spend time with them. Maybe like, go over the shower procedure – nuts, pits, butts – that’s it. I can say that, can I say that? Although you have to go in some order. 

You and Sophia have always been pitted against each other. And also the other actors and actresses on the show, when the Emmy’s come up. Modern Family is always part of the conversation, but it’s always the two of you who get it. And you’ve won two awards.
It is friendly. But as she would probably say, 'Yes, you have two statues, but I have a big bank account' and I would be like 'I would take her bank account or sell her a statue'.

Which character will you miss the most?
Phil, of course! There’s something that Ty Burrell has done with the character that has taken him from odd and funny to being the unicorn of TV dads.

What will you miss about playing Claire?
Claire can day drink. I cannot. She is able to have a glass of chardonnay and be fine. People do fan art and send us really amazing ones. Claire’s symbolic one is with a glass of wine. So, I envy her ability to day drink, and also, I will not miss her love of Halloween. 

Do you think that there’s some pressure on actors or writers to make the final season great?
I think the writers surely feel it. Really heavily. We have been doing this thing for ten years and this is the eleventh year, and my goal is to deliver what we have been delivering for ten years.

What do you think the legacy of the show is? 
There is so much! When we started there was no gay couple on television – a stable married gay couple on network television who had a child and that represented something so vastly different. It seems so normal now and I love that that’s been normalised and how we have almost forgotten how a big deal it was. This is the show that people sit down and turn on for comfort and laugh. Me and my kids, we sit down and watch so many amazing shows like The Office, FRIENDS or Seinfeld, and we are so lost in these. And that what’s I want is for people to go – 'oh this feels like home'.

And so, this chapter ends. What’s next?
I am going to produce, do some directing. I am a real saver. I like a bargain, I don’t shop. I am a big saver because I don’t like that feeling of desperation, waiting for the phone to ring like ‘somebody hire me’. I don’t like that. I am going to try and produce a comedy for ABC, about female friendship. And then I am going to try and produce some other stuff that I am not allowed to talk about. It’s a bit hush-hush. 

Oh, and I am tired of being a mom. I mean I love it, but do I want that to be my identity in the world? I would like to reclaim this situation for something other than mom-ing for a little while.  

I could just seal this up and never act again, but I love acting. Also, I like these shorter formats that they have now. Where you can be on a show for six episodes or do an anthology series. And yes, I would surely do more behind the camera. I mean this is not a very kind business to women over forty, and I think that sometimes you do have to step away for a second, and especially after doing eleven years of Claire. I love Claire, but I can’t only be Claire. 

Watch the final eleventh season of Modern Family on Star World.

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