I am watching Modern family and I am currently on season 3. In Modern family, season 1 Lily is played by Jaden. In season 2 by Ella Hiller and from season 3 Aubrey Anderson-Emmons. What is the reason behind these frequent changes ? Did the creators want to show a much grown up Lily by season 3?

  • 3
    Typically child actors are changed because they want to age the character more rapidly, or the actor (or their parents) no longer wants the job, or the actor doesn't grow up into someone who can do the job well - for example an adorable baby may not become a 5 year old who can memorize lines or "hit their mark" Oct 3, 2014 at 13:50
  • Makes me think (of course! to those around my age) of Becky Conner (Lecy Goranson), and Becky Conner (Sarah Chalke), and... Becky Conner (Lecy Goranson AND Sarah Chalke in the same season!).
    – CGCampbell
    Oct 3, 2014 at 16:14
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    If the character has only been played by three actresses, then the casting has only been changed twice, not three times.
    – jwodder
    Oct 3, 2014 at 21:04

3 Answers 3


Looking up the character on Wikipedia reveals that twin actors Jaden and Ella Hiller were replaced by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons. The reasons cited were the twin actresses' mother claimed they did not enjoy acting anymore, thus they "retired", and the role was recast with Aubrey Anderson-Emmons as Lily, who was old enough to provide speaking lines for Lily for the first time in the show.

Going further as a general film production question, the simple matter is that the actor or actress must be able to meet the demands of the character they've been selected to portray. Should the production team feel they're not able to do that at any point, they have the option to recast the role (barring contractual agreements to the contrary).

These rules apply to child actors just as much as adult actors.

Case in point for an adult role, Eric Stoltz was cast to play Marty McFly in Back to the Future. Initially Zemeckis wanted Michael J. Fox, but Fox was unable to get time off from filming the TV show Family Ties, so they cast Stoltz instead. 4 weeks into filming they realized it wasn't going to work and opted to recast with Fox when he was available, even though reshoots would cost $3 million.

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    Wait, you mean that not all child stars have the innate acting talents of the Olson twins when they get older???
    – Catija
    Aug 11, 2015 at 19:02
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    Another example -- Edward Furlong played John Conner in Terminator 2: Judgement Day at age 13 and won a couple of awards for his work. He was expected to reprise the role in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines twelve years later, but he was having substance abuse problems and the role went to Nick Stahl.
    – tcrosley
    Oct 5, 2015 at 19:01

In most movies young children aren't good actors when they grow older and other actors suit the job better. Usually in shows each character is much older eventually reaching their real life age. So they usually switch the actors especially for young adolescent actors

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    Please only use code text for code. Use quote text for quotes.
    – Catija
    Aug 11, 2015 at 18:59
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    While this may or may not be accurate, it doesn't address the OP's question Aug 11, 2015 at 19:01

Actually, they changed to Aubrey because they felt the original "lily" was a little too dull and didnt have enough life, for lack of better word. I watched the documentary.

  • 11
    Which documentary? Link? Sources/Citation is required.
    – cde
    Oct 4, 2015 at 23:54

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