EXCLUSIVE Q & A: Sofia Vergara Brings Colombian Flavor To ABC's "Modern Family"

Someone at ABC really wants to make me smile! The network that already boasts a Honduran lead actress (America Ferrera on Ugly Betty), a Dominican star (Judy Reyes on Scrubs), and a Mexican lead starlet (Eva Longoria-Parker in Desperate Housewives), is adding Barranquilla, Colombia to its resume with the talented and beautiful Sofia Vergara! Networks always refer to themselves as a family. If that's true, then ABC’s successful attempts at diversification over the last 6 years have successfully turned them into a very modern family. It’s fitting then that the title of Vergara’s show is, er, Modern Family. The show, which will air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. this fall, (and has been picked up for 13 episodes), is a single-camera, mockumentary style comedy (like The Office), that takes a funny look at the lives of three very different families: one is “traditional,” complete with a mom, dad and two kids; another is a gay couple and their adopted Asian baby, and the third is a sexy younger woman from Colombia (Vergara), who is married to a much older man (played by Ed O’Neill). 

The enchanting actress, who is currently touring with Broadway's Chicago and playing the role of Mama Morton in Miami, dished exclusively to me the details of her new, sure-to-be-a-hit show, why her son says she sounds like Tony Montana, and why she doesn't care if America thinks she's funny.

Tell me about your character on Modern Family, Gloria?
She’s in her late 30’s and married to a 60-year-old. She’s from Colombia and has a kid from a previous family. She’s a lot of fun!

Do you like playing a younger, sexy woman who’s involved with an older (much less attractive) man?
Yeah! She’s a lot of fun! They did a great job [of making that relationship funny] in the pilot, so I’m thinking it’s going to be a lot of fun, and very funny. It’s a very real situation that happens nowadays.

What is it like working with Ed "Al Bundy" O’Neill?
It is fantastic! He’s great. He was so professional and so nice. He was helping everybody. He’s very patient.

Were you ever a fan of Married with Children?
I watched it sometimes in Colombia when I used to live there. It was very well known there!

Your show was the first show to be picked up by ABC for the fall even before the upfronts. Are you surprised that it got picked up so early?
No, I’m not surprised. I think that since the beginning they really liked the script, and they liked the
people that were doing it, and they were almost sure (they were going to pick up the show).

Comedy seems to be a major priority for ABC this year, why do you think that is?
Because of what everybody is saying—that people want to be entertained because of the troubled times, and people want to relax, not think too much, and just have a good laugh with their family.

What do you personally like about this show?
I think it’s different because of the very real way they setup the families. It’s a combination of people from different parts of the world, different sexualities. It’s very real, so that’s what I like about it

I heard you say on Chelsea, Lately recently that your son Manolo (who is named after Tony Montana’s sidekick in Scarface) says that you sound like Tony when you talk. Is that true?
When he says that, he means that I have a very strong accent that I haven’t been able to get rid of in many, many years living in the United States.

That makes sense. But you don’t have a hard time acting in English and memorizing scripts in English, right?
No, I don’t have any problems. I just have an accent, but that doesn’t mean I don’t speak English!

When people talk about you, they usually talk about your beauty, but when I saw the clips of Modern Family, I was stunned not only by your beauty, but also by your excellent comic timing. You are funny! Do you think after seeing this show people will think and go “wow, Sofia is also a great comedic actress and talent?”
Well, I really don’t care (laughs). I just hope that the show goes well, because it’s work. And that is what I want to do—I want to work. I think the show is going to have the opportunity to reach a big audience, and of course, that would be good for me. But I don’t go around thinking “They’re gonna see me like this,” or “they’re going to see me like that.” I really don’t care (laughs).

Check out the trailer for Modern Family at ABC.com .