Sunday, January 22, 2012

Great letter from Eric Stonestreet

A post I wrote a couple of years ago about how tough it is for actors to get cast in TV series has suddenly gone viral.   Here's the post entitled Guys are not going to want to f**k her.   Among the comments I received a fabulous one from Eric Stonestreet -- Cam on MODERN FAMILY, so I thought I'd share it.    Thanks, Eric.  Continued success to you and every actor trying to realize their dream. 

I have read this and passed it along to other actor friends ever since you wrote it. It is such a great read and is so accurate.

I honestly lost count of how many jobs I didn't get through the years because no one thought anyone would ever wanna fuck me. Let's just say, for argument sake, it was EVERY job.

I hope what an actor takes when reading this is; so much is out of our hands. And to focus ONLY on the things that ARE in our control: The prep we put in, the read we give, the time we respect, and the courtesy we show each other.

It was 12 years before I got the job I have now. I know some have gotten breaks in a shorter time and I know very talented actors who have yet to get their break. Whatever the case, if the passion is there, keep up the fight. I am proof it can happen.

And I have taken your advice Ken. I go to the parties, do the photo shoots, do the parades, and fly on the company jet.(once) I'm enjoying the ride because I know one day it will all be over and then no one will wanna fuck me again.

Best,
Eric Stonestreet

38 comments:

Naz said...

Eric Stonestreet has always been my favorite on Modern Family from day one.

Paul Duca said...

Same here...Cameron Tucker is not only proud of who he is, he's proud of who and what and where he came from--frankly, I would say his character had the LEAST dysfunctional childhood of anyone on the show.


P.S. Don't let the prudes get you down about Lily's being bleeped. They said nothing when your bike shorts were digitally blurred.

Sebastian said...

Loved him in "Bad Teacher". Instantly recognized him even though the role, getup and the way he played the character was so completely different.

And hilarious :-)

Mike Barer said...

Classy letter from a classy actor.

Wavedeform said...

I'm so glad he came out as an "openly straight" man; I'm sure it took a lot of courage.

Willie The said...

Another proud Kansas State Wildcat hits it on the sweet spot.

Cap'n Bob said...

He reminds me of Kenny from FRASIER.

HogsAteMySister said...

OK, I accept this is all true. But how do you explain "non-lookers" like Steve Buschemi, Richard Belzer, Sandra Bernhard and Rhea Perlman?

They are the exception to the rule, I guess...

D. McEwan said...

HOG ATE, I used to know Sandra Bernhart, and I'm sure she would be highly offended by your comment. And I know personally of many people who want to fuck her, and several of whom have. (Madonna anyone?)

The folks bitching about Lily's foul mouth outbursts this week puzzle me. Quite apart from the fact that the child on the set was actually saying "Fudge," the situation was so genuine, real, and common - what parent hasn't lived through the time their terribly young child first learns the humorous power of certain words? - and played so sweetly, how could anyone possibly be offended?

When the younger son of some friends of mine (Actors both, in fact, you've directed one of them) was two and a half, he decided to tell me the story of The Three Little Pigs. He paged through a book of the story, not knowing the words yet, but knowing the pictures, and told me the story, with fart jokes added on every page. "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll fart your house down!". His little 30-month-old eyes would look slyly over at me, and he'd lower his voice each time he said "Fart," and then he'd giggle. Made me laugh my head off, not at the fart jokes, but at how adorably funny he was saying his "naughty" fart jokes. Who could be offended by that?

(Well, he might. He's 25 now, and I've preserved his anonymity because at 25, being reminded that you were once a two year old who thought "Fart" was the height of human wit, can be embarrassing.)

I suppose I am guilty of encouraging him. Heaven knows his Facebook postings these days are sometimes quite X-rated in their language, but as the son of two former Second City actors (Stephen Colbert publically calls this lad's dad a major mentor of Colbert's), he now uses the words with devastating wit.

But that long ago year, on Christmas, I gave him a rubber dinosaur that had a razzberry blower in its tail, so it made fart sounds when you squeezed it. The packaging declared it the "Fartosaurus." The only person to find it funnier than the boy did was his mother, who is a brilliant comedy actress you've all seen on TV and in films.

I can not say that Cam is a favorite character of mine, but that has way more to do with how he's written than how Stonestreet plays him. No, speaking as an long-time-out gay man myself, I wouldn't marry Cam, not so much for Cam in the bedroom (I have had a few oversized lovers, not just tricks, lovers, in my life, as long as the oversize also applied where it counts) as for Cam outside the bedroom. He would irritate me so intensely, we'd never get along at all. Who the hell needs a drama queen in their home life?

Eric was hilarious in the extremely funny but little known drag movie (All the female roles are played by men - just like in Shakespeare! - even the three year old female toddler in one scene is really a male toddler in toddler drag. Even the photo of Cher on a magazine cover in one scene is really a drag queen made-up as Cher.) Girls Will Be Girls, which I encourage everyone here to Netflix. Really, really funny movie. You'll never hear the word "astrophysicist" again after seeing it without suppressing a giggle. And Eric certianly got laid in that movie, as did Dana Gould.

D. McEwan said...

I should have mentioned that Eric does not play a female in Girls Will Be Girls.

Mark Murphy said...

Ken: This is off-topic, but I thought you might be interested in this update on the pilot episode of "Upstate," shot in your former hometown of Syracuse.

http://tiny.cc/831li

Christa Cannon said...

Love him! And I love that he says to continue focusing on the things that ARE in our control.

If we're lucky, 2% of our jobs is the art...all the rest is business, and the things that need to be done DAILY, even though no one sees that work. "Overnight" successes are always several years in the making. Wish more civilians understood that.

Chris said...

Friday question: How do you feel about "dream sequences" that extend into a full episode. Is that lazy writing for when you don't feel like having to deal with the story you set up for the rest of the season?

benson said...

I don't know if this falls into the category of quantum physics, karma or what...but Ken, if McLean Stevenson doesn't leave MASH (quite possibly for the reason stated in your original post) for his own series, you wouldn't have been writing that lovely tribute to Harry Morgan.

Brian Phillips said...

Wonderful letter from Mr. Stonestreet! I haven't done many auditions, but the process can be demoralizing. One I read about in Spy Magazine, in one of its non-parody sections, took me by surprise. For "The Doors" movie, women were auditioned to appear nude, and one reported that she was asked to remove her clothes, which she expected. She did NOT expect to be asked to strip down, face the other way and bend over, however.

WV: troyarda: a Liverpudlian's exhortation to stick to it.

*tarazza said...

Thanks for your comment, Eric! I adore you on Modern Family-- Cam and Mitchell are my favorite characters. I'm not in the TV business but since I'm job searching, it's good to remind myself that I can only focus on me, not on what's out of my hands.

Charles H. Bryan said...

Actually, being easy on the eyes helps in a number of jobs and professions. Be part of a team that does hiring and interviewing sometime. There are discussions of looks, dress, mannerism and hygiene that go right along with the usual resume review. It's brutal.

The "Lilly Swears" episode was the funniest Modern Family episode since the first Valentine's Day show. All of the story lines were funny, and every character got at least a couple of turns to get a laugh. F***ing brilliant.

(Also, let's look at it as progress that people complained about finding humor in a child swearing instead of complaining that she has two dads.)

xjill said...

I love it when Ken's great posts come back around! Anyway, great letter from Eric (thank you) and I don't know how actors do it. I could never have that fortitude, that's for sure!

D. McEwan said...

Of course, one can make cases for many, many actors and actresses who not only had great careers, but became big stars, despite the fact that no wanted to fuck them (Can you say "Charles Laughton"? I knew you could. I like the way you say that.), but I'd like to mention one in particular, because he made a career and became a HUGE star at MGM out of the very fact that no one wanted to fuck him: Lon Chaney.

In movie after movie after movie Chaney played some ugly guy madly in love (Often literally "Madly") with the leading lady, who herself loved the pretty boy hero. Sometimes he wore grotesque make ups, like in Phantom of the Opera and Hunchback of Notre Dame, but often times he wore little or no make up, because his own real face was no pin up, like in Tell It to the Marines and Laugh, Clown, Laugh. Usually he tried to do something horrible to the leading man, but even more often, he sacrificed himself for her happiness or to save her life, because unlike other monsters, he didn't lust for the women, he LOVED them. Almost every movie he made was some variation of this same plot. He NEVER got the girl!

The fact is pretty actors everyone wants to fuck are only required for romantic leads.

I have pictures of some of my favorite actors on my walls in frames or on posters: Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Lon Chaney, Barry Humphries, Sir Noel Coward, Laurel & Hardy, The Marx Brothers. Anyone want to fuck any of them? (Just ignore those pictures of Hugh Jackman, Sal Mineo, and the young Brando.)

D. McEwan said...

I meant to include Margaret Hamilton. I have up a Wizard of Oz poster she signed for me in 1974, and meeting her was one of the greatest thrills of my life.

Anyone ever want to fuck Margaret Hamilton, even when she's not green? Anyone? Don't be shy. Hands? I thought not.

But who didn't love her?

RCP said...

Taste is a funny thing, D. McEwan: I've always found Lon Chaney ruggedly handsome (out of makeup, of course.) Same with Walter Huston. Yet Cary Grant, Tyrone Power, Clark Gable, etc. never did a thing for me. Same principle applies to contemporary actors as well.

I don't know - there was something evocative about Margaret - I think it was the broom.

Ref said...

I've seen photos of Margaret Hamilton when she was young. She was never a pretty woman, but she was smart and funny with a great heart. It's sad that our media continue to define beauty so narrowly.

D. McEwan said...

"RCP said...
Taste is a funny thing, D. McEwan: I've always found Lon Chaney ruggedly handsome (out of makeup, of course."


That doesn't change the fact that he made movie after movie after movie in which he could never get the girl who loved the pretty guy, because he was too ugly. In a more-liberal climate, instead of "The Man of a 1000 Faces," he would have been called "The Man No One Will Fuck."

Obviously this did not apply to his private life, or we wouldn't have had the longer-but-less-distinguished career of Lon Chaney Jr. On the other hand, Lon Jr's mother certainly reached a point where she hated him and herself so much that she committed that bizarre act of self-mutilation in an attempt to destroy herself and his career.

Understand, I have enormous respect and love for Lon Senior. He was a great actor. My grandfather worked with him a number of times and was friends with him, and Grandpa loved Lon, and sang his praises. (And Grandpa seldom like actors, though he did like his other friend, Will Rogers. He heartily disliked Tom Mix. Grampa said Mix mistreated his horse. Of course, like everyone who worked at MGM, he loathed Louie B. Mayer.) I'll take my grandfather's word that Lon was a fine man.

But I wouldn't want to fuck him.

"Ref said...
I've seen photos of Margaret Hamilton when she was young. She was never a pretty woman, but she was smart and funny with a great heart."


She was indeed all of those things. She was, in fact, highly intelligent and well educated, a former teacher herself. She knew her niche in the industry, and accepted it. She was a practical realist, and a highly talented lady.

But when I met her she was touring as Madame Armfeldt in Sondheim's A Little Night Music That character is a retired courtesan, who has a song about her career, Liaisons, where she sings about all the dukes, princes and kings who paid her vast fortunes and gave her castles and chateaus and jewels for her sexual favors. It was the most absurd miscasting. We all know how she looked when she was young, and no king would ever have paid a nickel to have sex with her, let alone buy her a castle on a mountain in Austria and give her the crown jewels. Insane casting.

Of course, I didn't say that to her.

D. McEwan said...

"RCP said...
Cary Grant, Tyrone Power, Clark Gable, etc. never did a thing for me."


I have no idea what that "etc" is supposed to mean in this context. Do you mean you never found any handsome leading man sexy? You mention three highly distinctive individduals and then extrapolate others with "etc". How are we to know who the "etc" includes?

Clark was a good looking devil, but both Carole Lombard and some of the gay men who blew him when he was first trying to get work in the industry (Best rumor ever: that Gable had Cukor fired from Gone With the Wind because Cukor knew that Gable, in his starving actor days, used to let William Haines blow him) all said that he was - well - hung like a Ken doll. So no Gable for me.

Cary Grant was about the handsomest, dreamiest man that ever lived, yet I never really found him sexy either. There was something too passive about him, and on the few occasions when he took his shirt off in movies, my thought was always: "Put it back on, Cary." So it's a pss for me on Cary too. But it's a fact that MILLIONS of people did want to fuck Cary, and his career, in part, was founded on that. (It was his great talent that sustained it, though. Being gorgeous only gets you so far.)

But I sure as hell would have let Tyrone Power fuck me, given the chance. Same with Errol Flynn, and I wouldn't have thrown John Garfield out of bed. Admittedly, I might have asked Tyrone to wear his Zorro mask and nothng else during.

Etc.

Tallulah Morehead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tallulah Morehead said...

Darlings, I did all of them. That's why they say: "Tallulah Morehead is The Ultimate Hollywood Insider, because she's had most of Hollywood insider."

Cary insisted on being underneath, so he could see the mirror above my bed.

Clark had technique, but darlings, you can't fire a cannonball out of a derringer.

Tyrone just wanted to borrow my outfit. He had a date with Errol Flynn later that evening.

Of the four, I give highest marks to Maggie Hamilton. That broomstick vibrated like crazy! And I speak as someone who once rode William Bendix to Heaven backstage at The Oscars. He - ah - "ran long" (It was The Oscars, after all; they always run long) so I was late for my presenting duties, and in my haste to get onstage, I accidentally put my gown back on upside down. It made a sensation! I received offers left and right, but none for filmwork. Cheers darlings.

(WV: "peaker": The partner of "Booer," a forgotten vaudeville comedy team.)

RCP said...

D. McEwan said:

"I have no idea what that "etc" is supposed to mean in this context. Do you mean you never found any handsome leading man sexy?"

"Etc." in this context means actors who are iconic for being leading men, but who never appealed to me (toss Warren Beatty in there too). Oh, but there are plenty I find attractive - in the interest of time I'll limit it to three off the top of my head: Farley Granger, Dirk Bogarde, Hugh Jackman. That was fun - thanks for asking!

And that's very cool about your grandfather.

D. McEwan said...

I found Warren Beatty hot as all hell 35 years ago. Now, not so much. Much as I loved Sir Dirk Bogarde, he never did a thing for me sexually, so you're welcome to him, if you can find where he's buried. But Hugh Jackman is MINE!

My Grandfather was a hell of a guy. Actually both of them were, but Grandpa McEwan never knew any movie stars, only Grandpa Puett. I have four gorgeous etchings in frames in my living room that were done by Lionel Barrymore. I inherited them from my mother. She inherited them from her father, and he got them directly from Mr. Barrymore, when they worked together on WEST OF ZANZIBAR, also with Lon Chaney, in 1928.

RockGolf said...

Y'know, it's possible that Eric Stonestreet actually got the role of a likeable gay man on Modern Family precisely because network brass thought no one would want to f**k him.

That, and being perfect in the role.

RCP said...

D. McEwan said...

"But Hugh Jackman is MINE!"

We'll see.

As for Barrymore's etchings: Wow!

cadavra said...

Yesterday's goddess is today's cow: Last week I went to a screening of THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, and when Marilyn first appeared in her white dress, the 20-something dude sitting behind me muttered, "Man, is she fat!"

Tallulah Morehead said...

I should be so fat. But, of course, that wasn't Marilyn Monroe. He was calling Michelle Wiliams fat. See if he makes the same comment watching Some Like it Hot.

"RockGolf said...
Y'know, it's possible that Eric Stonestreet actually got the role of a likeable gay man on Modern Family precisely because network brass thought no one would want to f**k him."


You have a very valid point. Both of the gay men on Modern Family are not "Sexually Threatening," i.e., sexy. (Some may disagree about Jesse. Hell, some may disagree about Eric.) They probably would not have cast two highly sexy men, who played it like they just crawled out of bed after a wild night of hot gay sex, and can't wait to crawl back in for more, like most of the hundreds of gay men I know.

The gay characters are as desxualized as possible. I've been trying to figure out which of them is the top for three years now, and they still read like two bottoms to me. We'll never see an episode where Lily walks in on them in flagrante dilecto as they did with Claire and Phil, who are played by sexually attractive actors.

But how cute that you wrote "f**k" instead of "fuck" when Stonestreet uses the actually spelling twice in his letter, and it's been used un-astriked a lot here in the comments. Such adorable self-repression. I imagine you at an orgy, walking about with a floating black bar over your privates while everyone else is naked.

But to reiterate, I think your point is very valid.

Tallulah Morehead said...

The network was probably also adamant that at least one of the men playing the gay couple would be, in real life, "openly straight." The networks love that "I'm not gay but I play one on TV" concept. That they cast an openly-gay actor as one of them is ABC's version of "Courage."

cadavra said...

Tallulah: It was PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, not MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. He was calling the real Marilyn fat.

Tallulah Morehead said...

" cadavra said...
Tallulah: It was PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, not MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. He was calling the real Marilyn fat.


Yikes! My aging eyes. (and what a shrivelled view that teen has) My apologies. Let me make it up to you.

Everyone, buy Cadavra's HILARIOUS movie: The Lost Skelton of Cadavra. Pitch-perfect 1950s low-budget sci-fi parody done from love.

Daniel S. said...

Classy letter from Eric.

RCP said...

I'd also like to recommend "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" - entertaining and very funny. And the special effects - like when the skeleton is descending the rockface - are astonishing!

cadavra said...

Thanks, Tallulah (and RCP)! As they say in "El Grande De Coca-Cola"--Testimonial Unsolicidado!