Yesterday, after the five non-Ed O’Neill adults missed the table read and sued 20th Century Fox, things weren’t looking great on the set of Modern Family. Well, things are cooling down and as a sign of good faith, the cast will gather around a table tomorrow at 10:30 AM and do some script readin’. The cast has no ill will towards the studio and they don’t want to harm the show. This doesn’t mean any progress has been made with the negotiations, however, the ModFam5 still feels like they deserve more money, a lot more money.
And maybe they do. It’s hard to say anyone deserves $5 million a year to pretend to be someone and make jokes but frankly the studio and the network is making a ton of money off this show and this cast, and the actors just want what they think is their appropriate cut. In that way it’s extremely similar to when a football player holds out from playing until he gets a bigger contract. It’s rich people vs. super rich people.
For actors, however, there is also the cost of fame. In the Vanity Fair oral history of Friends, Matt LeBlanc talked about why his cast demanded so much money early on:
I remember I was living in an apartment [and] all of the sudden, the people in the building were banging on my door. People knew I lived there.I was like, “I’ve got to get a house. I need a house with a gate, because I need to be able to hide.” It’s funny—nowadays people that are famous get chased by the paparazzi. They have this fame, but they don’t have the money to hide from it. We were really fortunate that we were compensated well enough to be able to turn the switch off, as much as one can. Kind of disappear. Barricade yourself in.
One idea is Eric Stonestreet dresses up as Fizbo at the next negotiation meeting; he’ll scare half the room and delight the other half. Whoever is left in the room will be happy to agree to anything.