Gail Mancuso (‘Modern Family’ director): The series finale ‘was like a reunion, but in reverse’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“It was almost like a reunion, where you haven’t seen people in a long time, but in reverse,” reveals Gail Mancuso about shooting the final episode of “Modern Family.” In our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above), she adds, “It was like we were not going to see these people again. Everybody wanted to have their moments. Everybody was taking pictures. I don’t think I’ll experience anything like that again.”

“Modern Family” was the comedy mockumentary chronicling the Pritchett and Dunphy families, which ran for 11 seasons on ABC. It is one of the most successful series in Emmy history, winning 22 awards, including a record tying five for Best Comedy Series. Mancuso has directed episodes every year and explains, “This is history, in the sense it will be in reruns. I wanted to make sure the pace was good that the comedy was good. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I never want to look at something and go, ‘I should have done a better job on that.’”

For her work on the series, Mancuso was the first women to win consecutive Emmys for Best Comedy Directing. This year she has been nominated for the series’ finale (part 2), making her the most nominated women in the category. On saying goodbye to the show she says, “We scheduled that final hug scene last. I told the cast and crew and everybody, ‘let’s just savor every moment.’ It didn’t matter how long it took to shoot a scene. When it came to say cut, I really wanted to go one more time. I came in and they were all crying, ‘we can’t do it again.’ But they were gracious and did it again because they are such pros. Rather than calling a big wrap like I normally would, I went to the ADs and they went down the cast list. It probably took 45 minutes because every character got really teary. There was not enough Kleenex.”

If Mancuso wins the Emmy this year, she will be the first woman to win the category three times. Her first episode for “Modern Family” was the season one program ‘Dance Dance Revelation.’ Despite her success she confesses, “I walked away from that first episode thinking they would never hire me again. I thought I did a really crap job. Things just didn’t go well. It was terrible. Luckily there were more episodes to come. But I did not do a good job on the first episode. On the rest I did a good job.”

The Emmy winner hopes “Modern Family” will be remembered “as one of the most relatable and comedic shows that have ever been on the air” and reflects, “it’s been tough, it would always be in my calendar that I get to do so many episodes of ‘Modern.’ There isn’t that this year. That’s sad, but time to move on.”

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