Ray Romano: 'Parenthood Made Me Softer'
His TV series still a hit in re-runs, Ray Romano is set to score an even bigger audience as the voice of a curmudgeonly woolly mammoth for the third time in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
Parade.com's Jeanne Wolf found out that even though it's an animated feature, Romano didn't have any trouble connecting with his character.
Relating to mammoth marriage.
"Manny is still struggling with his relationship. That was no problem for me because I just rely on my own lack of understanding about talking to women. Marriage made me harder. Parenthood made me softer. I was kind of like Manny when my first kid was born. I didn't know how I was going to react and then once I had this new daughter, I was amazed at how I became like the overprotective father."
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But not when he left the hospital.
"When I went to pick up my wife and baby and take them home from the hospital, I parked in a tow away zone. We came out and the car was gone and we had to take a taxi home to Queens. So on my daughter's first trip, she heard a lot of Indian music."
Fear of becoming Manny.
"When we did the first one, I thought after every recording session that I was going to get fired. I was going, 'Nah, this is not working, they really don't want me.' I would call my manager and ask, 'Did they can me yet?' Now, I watch the first two films occasionally and go, 'That's the big guy, that's Manny, the guy we relate to.' Actually, even though he has a trunk, his nose is smaller than mine, that's the bad part. Plus they really made his eyes look like mine which is a little scary."
Getting ready to play the big guy again.
"I put on the weight. I stopped shaving. My genitals got much bigger. Actually, I have one line that I say to get into Manny's character and that's from the first Ice Age. He says, 'I'm not going.' So I do that line and his voice kind of comes back."
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Skipping Everybody Loves Raymond re-runs.
"I don't watch them. But now my 10-year-old son, who didn't really grow up with the show, will say, 'I'd like to see some.' So I'll sit down with him and watch a couple of episodes. It's weird because I laugh a little and then, when it's over, I get that odd feeling of emptiness that I had to get over after we wrapped the series. So I'm like, 'Why am I doing this to myself?'"
Fans still love Raymond.
"They come up to me and say they love the show because they just see themselves in the characters. That's a sad commentary that everybody sees somebody in there who they can relate to. I guess there are a lot of dysfunctional families out there."
Why he won't be stepping behind the camera.
"They wanted me to direct Everybody Loves Raymond. My manager said every year, 'You've got to do one. It's easy. The show runs itself.' But I didn't want to have to tell Patty Heaton, 'You're doing it wrong.' I'd rather tell the director to tell Patty, which I did very occasionally. I don't like the thought of telling other actors what to do."
Coping with success.
"It's almost like a blessing and a curse at the same time. I don't ever need to work again, if I don't want to. But, there's something to that Neil Sedaka song 'I Miss the Hunger Years.' That's right. I'm quoting Neil Sedaka. In the beginning, my wife was like, 'Oh, good. You'll be home.' Now she's going, 'You've got to get a job.' The other day I was home and I cried at a Deal Or No Deal. I'm like, 'Holy crap, I've got to get work fast.'"
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His return to the tube.
"I have a new series starting December 8th on TNT called Men of a Certain Age. I made sure the title has the word 'age' in it. It's myself, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher. We're three friends who went to school together, and we're at a point in our lives where everyone's wondering what's next. I play a divorced father with two kids who has a dream of being a pro golfer. I'm just trying to draw on what I know, and all I know is pain and suffering."