What I've Learned: Ty Burrell
“Always look people in the eye. If they’re blind, tell them you’re looking them in the eye”. That has to be my favourite ‘Philsosophy’ quote.
I find Phil to be inspirational. I’d love to be as earnest and committed as Phil is as a father. I hope I am. I definitely fall on my face as much as he does.
Nolan Gould (Luke Dunphy) is the cast mate I’d most like to be stranded on a desert island with. He’s smart enough to get us off it.
If Phil was in the worlds of Dawn of the Dead or Black Hawk Down, I think he’d be a cheerleader for the humans. I think if there was a war on zombies, as I assume the combination of these movies implies, he wouldn’t be the nihilist that I played in DOTD and he wouldn’t be capable of being an Air Force medic, as I was in BHD.
I really don’t have a preference between playing good guys and bad guys. It has everything to do with how well something’s written, you know? A well written bad guy and a well written good guy usually have a little of the other in them anyway. That said, it’s pretty great to wake up every day to play Phil Dunphy.
I’ve loved working with so many directors. I feel like I’ve learned so much from each of them.
Everyone does better if the director takes the heat on behalf of those beneath them on the food chain. If that stress trickles down (and their job is stressful) it can poison the well, so to speak. Luckily, most of my working examples have been inspirational.
Working with Nicole Kidman on Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus was one of my favourite experiences. It was an incredible education in grace and professionalism.
The most painful moments are less about being rejected and more about messing up an opportunity. Honestly, rejection becomes the default setting if you’re a working (or trying to work) actor. Messing up an opportunity is something I have done many times.
Working with Twentieth Century Fox has been amazing and humbling. [Burrell signed a deal last November to write, co-create and develop his own comedy projects] We’re working on several writing projects, all comedy, at once. We’ll hope to have some of the fruits of our labour this Fall or shortly thereafter. My writing partners and I are thrilled with the opportunity.
Dubai was so fun and my wife and I are officially smitten with Abu Dhabi. I was so well taken care of in the UAE that it’s going to be hard to follow this trip. We’re planning on bringing our kids back to Abu Dhabi in the future.
There really is no such thing as a ‘typical’ NYU student and that holds true in Abu Dhabi too. I had a blast talking with the kids at New York University Abu Dhabi. There was such a wide cross-section of students and such thoughtful questions – followed, probably, by less thoughtful answers. I was struck by how much the student body looked like the student body in Manhattan. It was very cool.
Dubai has some seriously fun nightlife. The Act was a blast. I’ve been to The Box in New York and this holds up very favourably. The food, drink, and atmosphere were phenomenal.
My wife and I left feeling like Abu Dhabi is going to be one of the great cities of the world, if it already isn’t. Looking through the local paper in Abu Dhabi made me realize just how much is going on there, culturally. I was so impressed by the balance of new and old ideas. To build so much so fast but to remain connected to your roots seems to me a herculean task and, yet, they’re doing it.
There’s so much I wanted to see and visit in the UAE that we didn’t manage to, but we covered so much ground. We’ll be back, for sure.