Rico Rodriguez: I'm Nothing Like Manny on 'Modern Family'
By Rebecca Macatee Posted Dec 8th 2010 06:00PM
"The one thing that's similar about us is that we're both uncles," he says. "I have five nieces and one nephew on the way. People always say I'm too young to be an uncle, and I'm like wait? There's an age-limit to be an uncle?"
Rico's real-life, "big, happy family" does include an uncle who's "pretty much Phil Dunfy," and an aunt who's just like Clair. "She's the boss," he laughs. "And he's the one goofing around and cracking us up."
Rico says he wasn't always the confident, outgoing young man he is today. "I was probably the shyest boy known to man," he says. "I would never think about doing anything like acting, until three or four years ago, my sister was doing it. And I was like, hmmm, I might could try that."
He dreamed of becoming everything from a cook to an astronaut to a racecar driver. "I thought I'd be a Nascar chef going to the moon," he says.
Until, of course, about a year and a half ago, when he auditioned for the role of Manny. He knew right away he was meant to play the part.
"I went in with different mindsets," he says. "I never thought Manny would be how he is today. Then the producers told me, 'Think Antonio Banderes in a 12-year-old kid's body,' and I said, 'Oh, okay!' I went back, and I rocked it!"
Rico loves every minute of working on 'Modern Family.' "The crew, the cast, the producers, the writers, the director-they're really, truly awesome. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to be on set with," he says.
He describes Nolan Gould, the actor who plays Luke Dunfy, as his partner in crime. "We're best friends. We do everything together. We do all kinds of amateur stunts. We almost got into trouble with the security guards a couple of times... They're wagging their fingers and telling us to be careful," he says. "My mom says, 'Go run off!' It's a safe, kid-friendly environment, and our teacher, Ariel, comes with us most of the time."
Rico also says that Sofia Vergara, who plays Manny's mom, Gloria, on the show, is like another mother to him. "She's a really amazing lady. Sometimes I tend to teach her! She can't pronounce things. Her accent on the show is real," he laughs. "I mean it's a little over the top for the camera, but she'll say, 'Mee-chell' and I'll say, 'Mitchell!' and correct her. There are lots of words like that... And, her son just went off to college, so I think she still gets to feel motherly with me."
Rico might not be as serious and un-childlike as Manny, but we think he's every bit as charming and hilarious!
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