ICE AGE 4

Ray Ro­mano didn’t in­tend to make a fourth Ice Age but af­ter the suc­cess of the third in­stal­ment, he was per­suaded to re­vise that de­ci­sion, writes Vicky Roach

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Ev­ery­body still loves Ray­mond

RAY Ro­mano’s an­i­mated al­ter ego might have walked the earth more than five mil­lion years ago but, when it comes to par­ent­hood, the pre­his­toric pro­boscidean and the pop­u­lar TV co­me­dian share sur­pris­ingly sim­i­lar con­cerns.

In Ice Age: Con­ti­nen­tal Drift, Manny the Mam­moth strug­gles to ac­com­mo­date his teenage daugh­ter’s grow­ing in­de­pen­dence.

And Ro­mano, shrug­ging him­self into the over­sized role for the fourth time, knows ex­actly how he feels. ‘‘ My wife and I to­gether equal Manny,’’ the down- to- earth co­me­dian says. ‘‘ We are over­pro­tec­tive in dif­fer­ent ways.’’ Now that Alexan­dra, 21, has grad­u­ated from col­lege, it’s the Ev­ery­body Loves Ray­mond star’s three sons ( 19- year- old twins Matthew and Gre­gory and 14- year- old Joseph) who cause him most con­cern.

‘‘ I worry about them more in one re­gard and that is: ‘ What the hell are they go­ing to do with their life?’

‘‘ My daugh­ter is a straight- A stu­dent and kind of am­bi­tious. The boys are just like I was . . . they do the min­i­mum pos­si­ble.’’

Ro­mano counts him­self lucky that he even­tu­ally found some­thing to be pas­sion­ate about. ‘‘ But I kind of wan­dered around till then.’’ Be­fore he worked out what he re­ally wanted to do, the late bloomer ac­tu­ally stud­ied ac­coun­tancy. ‘‘ That’s what I took as a ma­jor,’’ he says. ‘‘ I was great at maths, so it made sense. But I never re­ally wanted to be an ac­coun­tant.’’

Ro­mano started hon­ing his com­edy rou­tine as a child grow­ing up in Queens.

‘‘ There was a group of kids in my neigh­bour­hood, a clique of about five or six. We wrote our own sketches and did com­edy shows for the kids in the neigh­bour­hood.’’

But he didn’t se­ri­ously catch the stand- up bug un­til he dis­cov­ered au­di­tion night at New York’s Im­prov Theatre at the age of 23.

Be­tween film and tele­vi­sion com­mit­ments, he still reg­u­larly per­forms stand- up gigs.

‘‘ I en­joy it. I do it just for fun. It’s part of who I am,’’ he says. ‘‘ It’s funny. I’m ob­sessed with golf. I love golf. But I am not good at it. Just be­cause you love some­thing and have a pas­sion for it, doesn’t mean you can mas­ter it.’’

The strictly am­a­teur golfer says he takes a good deal of com­fort from the fact there is some­thing in life that he can do very well.

‘‘ I know I am a pro at do­ing stand- up. It’s an abil­ity that I have that I don’t want to stop. I like to keep it sharp.’’

More com­plex are Ro­mano’s feel­ings to­wards the early demise of his lat­est TV se­ries Men of a Cer­tain Age, which was canned af­ter two sea­sons de­spite strong re­views.

‘‘ If I am be­ing hon­est, I am still kind of heart­bro­ken that we got taken off the air,’’ he says.

‘‘ But I guess from the busi­ness sense of it, I don’t blame them. It was a kind of ex­pen­sive show and the rat­ings didn’t end up jus­ti­fy­ing what we were do­ing.’’

Next up is a re­cently- an­nounced multi- episode guest ap­pear­ance on Par­ent­hood.

‘‘ It’s re­ally the only show on TV which the­mat­i­cally is kind of close to Men of a Cer­tain Age,’’ he says.

‘‘ We are deal­ing with peo­ple a lit­tle bit younger, but it’s the same style of sto­ry­telling. It’s a good fit.’’ Fans have in­ter­preted the news that his char­ac­ter, a for­mer photo jour­nal­ist, will com­pli­cate the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Sarah ( Lau­ren Gra­ham) and Mark ( Ja­son Rit­ter), as sug­ges­tions of an af­fair sur­face. ‘‘ I don’t think the story is to­tally fleshed out yet,’’ says Ro­mano, on this one sub­ject un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally un­forth­com­ing.

The vet­eran per­former says he

I know I am a pro at do­ing stand- up

didn’t ac­tu­ally in­tend to make a fourth Ice Age movie. ‘‘ Af­ter the third one, I said: we have done three good movies, let’s not ex­ploit it.’’

The pop­u­lar­ity of Dawn of the Di­nosaurs per­suaded him to re­vise that de­ci­sion, es­pe­cially since the fol­low- up story seems to flow on or­gan­i­cally.

‘‘ The theme has been the same through­out, it’s all about fam­ily and friend­ship and loy­alty.’’

Ro­mano, who has been mar­ried to the same woman for quar­ter of a cen­tury, ac­knowl­edges the par­al­lels with his own life ‘‘ It’s 25 years com­ing up in Oc­to­ber. Oh my God! That’s like the Ice Age al­most,’’ he jokes.

‘‘ Ob­vi­ously we work bet­ter watch­ing each other’s back. There are so many hur­dles in life, so many ups and downs, your true herd, your fam­ily, is the only con­stant that you can de­pend on.’’

ICE AGE: CON­TI­NEN­TAL DRIFT

Now Show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

DOWN TO EARTH: Co­me­dian Ray Ro­mano can re­late his Ice Age role’s con­cerns to his own real- life fam­ily cir­cum­stances.

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