"We recycle like crazy. We drink a lot of Smart Water and Coca-Cola so there are a lot of bottles and cans in our house. You try to do the small things like turning off lights and unplugging appliances," says Sarah Hyland, who plays Haley Dunphy on ABC's hit sitcom "Modern Family." "She has developed into a character that's more heartfelt. She's not as bitchy as she was when the show first started — a lot nicer," she reflects, but the snark is alive and well in the character she plays in the movie "Struck by Lightning." "Although she's not your average mean cheerleader. There's more to her — she knows she's not the nicest, but she has to remain that way to keep her power at school."

Hyland shot the movie before "Modern Family" started production this season, and it was a great way to end the summer, she says. "We were all around the same age so we hung around outside, we ate, it was really fun to be a part of." She also squeezed in small parts in two indie movies on her series breaks, including "Gay Dude," in which she plays "popular, vapid, slutty high school girl," and "April Apocalypse," in which she becomes a zombie and is eventually slain. "It was fun but a lot of makeup time. It took multiple showers to get it off," she recalls.

Acting since she was four, Hyland never seriously considered doing anything else. "My dad's a theater actor so I grew up in the theater, watching him do Shakespearean plays from birth. I loved it inside and out. I caught the bug really early. It's not just all that I know, it's all that I am," she says. She loves TV and film equally. "I love TV because it feels so comfortable and you get to create a family and if you're lucky it goes on for a while. But I like films because you get to travel and meet new people."


Tune in: Nat Geo Wild’s “Croc Around the Clock” marathon on January 21 will culminate in two premieres: “Croc Invasion,” focusing on Australia’s Crab Island, and “Monster Croc Hunt,” about the search for a giant croc that terrorized a Filipino community.

PBS Nature will present “Attenborough’s Life Stories,” three-part retrospective of natural history filmmaker Sir David Attenborough’s life and work, starting with “Life on Camera” on January 23, continuing with “Understanding the Natural World” on January 30 and concluding with “Our Fragile Planet” on February 6.

In PBS KIDS special “Wild Kratts: Lost at Sea,” premiering January 22, the zoologist brothers explore the natural science of the oceans including life on coral reefs and dolphin communication. The special will simultaneously be available on DVD and online at PBSKIDS.org/video and on the PBS KIDS Video App.

'Modern Family' actress talks about recycling
Sarah Hyland also tells MNN about her burgeoning film career.