In the 12 years since that hit show, “Everybody Loves Raymond” ended, Ray Romano has certainly put in the work to be taken more seriously.
Ray Romano was headed to New York. He had hair and makeup tests for a role as a mob lawyer in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film “The Irishman.” And, yeah, the thought of being in a movie that boasts legendary Oscar-winning actors Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci had him more than a little nervous. Terrified, actually.
“I’m (…) scared,” is how he phrased it in a text earlier in the day to Bobby Cannavale, his former “Vinyl” co-star who also has a part in the picture. (The use of ellipses is our own, standing in for a colorful word that a smartphone might auto-correct to ducking.)
“My anxiety and my OCD have been ramped up for the last month,” he says, cracking pistachios inside a Burbank hotel room. “I’ve been to the dermatologist eight times since I got the role. I swear to God. I’m not kidding. I called him again the other day, but he’s on vacation.”
This from the guy who wondered if the industry, and audiences, would accept him as a character beyond the bumbling persona he perfected for nine seasons on the CBS sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
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In the 12 years since that hit show ended, Romano has certainly put in the work to be taken more seriously.
There was his turn as a neurotic, gambling-addicted, party-supply-shop owner in his first post-”Raymond” project: TNT’s “Men of a Certain Age,” a dramedy he co-created with “Raymond” writer Mike Royce; an arc on NBC’s “Parenthood” as a photographer potentially on the autism spectrum; a run as a depressed record executive in the aforementioned “Vinyl,” which Scorsese executive produced and co-created (hence, their connection); and, earning him critical acclaim this summer, his role as a geeky and endearing dad in the indie romantic comedy “The Big Sick.”
These days, he’s making the dark-comedy rounds as Rick Moreweather, a spiky-haired low-budget movie producer in the Epix television adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s “Get Shorty,” which runs Sundays and was recently renewed for a second season. (It is a separate entity from the 1995 John Travolta film.) Rick, in a nutshell, is desperate to prove himself in Hollywood. That underdog mentality, Romano knows it well.
“As successful as it may appear I…