The Washington Post

‘1600 Penn’: Yes, it’s just a coincidence that Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman resemble the Romneys

If Josh Gad hadn’t passed on “Modern Family,” NBC’s new White House-set comedy “1600 Penn” may have never existed; and no, it is not intentional that show stars Bill Pullman (the president) and Jenna Elfman (the first lady) resemble Mitt and Ann Romney.

Jenna Elfman as First Lady Emily Gilchirst, Bill Pullman as President Dale Gilchrist, Martha MacIsaac as Becca. (NBC/JORDIN ALTHAUS/NBC)

Gad, perhaps best known for his role in “Book of Mormon” on Broadway, said he first met co-creator Jason Winer, director of “Modern Family,” when the ABC comedy was casting for various roles. Gad ultimately passed on the part (bloggers on the call naturally demanded to know which role, and Gad refused to say, but hinted it was Eric Stonestreet’s character, for which he’s won two Emmy awards).

“My bank account is a lot smaller than it could have been,” Gad noted, sadly.

Josh Gad as Skip Gilchrist, the president’s son, in the “1600 Penn” pilot. (NBC/JORDIN ALTHAUS/NBC)

Later, Gad, who plays the president’s son on the show, also insisted that the family on the show is not at all based on the Obamas — and the show isn’t remotely political. He and the cast also shot down the notion that Pullman and Elfman’s resemblance to the Romneys is intentional.

Elfman pointed out that they were cast back in April, so the Romneys weren’t even in the forefront of the news like they were in the last few months. “That wasn’t part of our mindset,” Elfman said.

Pullman agreed. But, “You’re around a lot of comedians here,” he added. “So people here were saying to me, ‘Has anyone told you how much you look like Obama’?”

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.



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