Eric Stonestreet really wants to be NYPD Blue's Sipowicz

Eric Stonestreet as Cam in Modern Family." link="/modern-family/show/77270/summary.html" target="_blank" loc="right">

He may be one of comedy's hottest actors right now but this Modern Family guy wants to be a classic TV cop.

He's got an Emmy for his comedy work, and a lengthy list of guest roles as a dramatic actor.

But Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet still hasn't fulfilled a dream he has harboured since his earliest days of acting.

"I just wanted to be a character actor. I just wanted to go to Hollywood and my goal, honestly, was to be Dennis Franz on NYPD Blue. I think he played the greatest character ever on TV," he says.

"It's one of my career regrets -- I never got to be on NYPD Blue. I never got an audition for it. I was in LA for the last few years of the show but didn't have enough traction to get an audition.

"But I've heard through the grapevine that Dennis watches our show. I just admire him as an actor. Sipowicz was just an awesome character.

"When people would always say to me 'What do you want to be?' I want to be Sipowicz, when I'm in my 40s and 50s. That's the character I want to play. I feel like I was born to play a cop at some point."

Sadly for Stonestreet, it doesn't look like he'll be doing that anytime soon. But that's only because he is starring in one of TV's hottest shows. Right now Modern Family seemingly has it all: critical and popular acclaim and industry awards.

As Cameron Tucker, partner to Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), Stonestreet's infectious performances are one of the show's highlights. The show seems assured of a long run and Stonestreet plans on staying for the ride.

"I can't imagine anyone wanting to bail from this show. From my perspective we're going to be around for five, six, seven seasons if people are willing to keep us around," he says.

With a workload shared amongst the comedic ensemble, who can blame him?

"I feel like I'm cheating. The hours that I work should be the hours that a grizzled veteran like Ed O'Neill, who has done 300 episodes of television, should work. He works two days a week, eight hour days typically, which is unheard of. I work three or four days a week, eight-hour days. They try to keep the days short because nothing says comedy like long, exhausting hours," he laughs.

That just leaves one problem, says Stonestreet: equating the swing from busy work to time out.

"People in my personal life will tell you I don't relax very easily. I'm not the guy who can just go and not do anything. I'm teaching myself to do that right now -- letting loose and not doing a thing.

"I can be laying around but my brain is in a thousand places. So I'm trying to teach myself how to shut down a little bit. Just turn the BlackBerry off and know that my life is in pretty good shape," he says.

"It's the curse of success in a way."

Modern Family airs 7:30pm Wednesdays on TEN. Season one is now available on DVD through Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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