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Matt LeBlanc Turned Down ‘Modern Family’ Role as Phil Dunphy: ‘I’m Not the Guy for This’

Matt LeBlanc, 2017 PaleyLive LA Summer Season
Matt LeBlanc attends the 2017 PaleyLive LA Summer Season Premiere Screening And Conversation For Showtime's 'Episodes' in Beverly Hills, California on August 16, 2017.JB Lacroix/ WireImage

Could he be any more honest? Matt LeBlanc had the chance to play Phil Dunphy in ABC’s hit series Modern Family but turned it down because he believed he wasn’t the right actor for the role.

During a break following the axing of the Friends spinoff, Joey, LeBlanc was sent the pilot script for the mockumentary sitcom, which premiered on ABC in September 2009.

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“I remember reading it thinking, this is a really good script … 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,” the actor told USA Today in an interview published on Friday, August 18. “Plus, I’m having too much fun laying on the couch.”

The role went to Ty Burrell, who has won two Emmy awards for playing the bumbling but lovable realtor, but the Episodes star found his own way to impact the show.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays lawyer Mitchell Pritchett on Modern Family, reached out to LeBlanc when the cast staged a sick-out during a 2012 salary dispute. LeBlanc and his former Friends cast mates famously united in 2002 and negotiated together to land historic $1 million-per-episode pay deals.

LeBlanc, 50, advised Ferguson and his costars to “stick together,” telling him, “You have to walk out, or they won’t take you seriously.”

Even though the situation was a serious one, LeBlanc couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a joke about it. He told USA Today that he texted Ferguson after the cast didn’t show up for work and said, “Hey, I killed it as Mitch today at the table read, thanks for the opportunity!”

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LeBlanc most recently played a version of himself in the British series Episodes, which airs on Showtime, and cohosts BBC’s Top Gear. He currently stars on the CBS sitcom Man With a Plan, which was renewed for a second season earlier this year.

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