On The Real O’Neals, Noah Galvin plays Kenny, a 16-year-old who just came out as gay to his Irish Catholic family — and the 22-year-old actor says he doesn’t want his character to be like Eric Stonestreet’s Cam on Modern Family.
“I think as wonderful of an actor as Eric Stonestreet is — I’ve never met him, I assume he’s a wonderful guy — he’s playing a caricature of a caricature of a stereotype of stereotype on Modern Family,” Galvin told Vulture. “And he’s a straight man in real life. And as hilarious as that character is, there’s a lack of authenticity.”
“I think people — especially young gay kids — they can laugh at it, and they can see it as a source of comedy, but like, nothing more than that,” he went on. “And I want Kenny to be more than the funny gay kid.”
In 2014, Stonestreet talked to HuffPost Live about how playing a gay man has made him have “more compassion and more empathy.” “Anyone would, just because of the stories and the testimonials people have the opportunity to come up and tell, whether it’s, ‘You made it easier to come out to my mom and dad’ or, ‘My mom and dad accepted me and asked me who I was, was I Mitch or Cam.'”
Galvin also mentioned how gay kids will reach out to him to share their own stories and ask for advice, something he says he’s “learning how to deal with.” “I’m still figuring out my own bulls—,” he said. “I’ve got struggles of my own. I don’t have time to be your f—ing soothsayer.”
He, apparently, is more interested in the character of Kenny being a positive role model. “I’m very excited to get to explore Kenny’s passions,” he says. “As a character, he hasn’t had those opportunities because he’s suppressed his true self. He’s never been able to fully give himself over to anything in terms of an extracurricular. He has a Chicago poster in his room and a record player, but what the f— does that mean in terms of who he is as a person?”
He’ll get to explore those passions when The Real O’Neals returns to ABC for its second season this fall.