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
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.