Ray Romano Acts His ‘Age’6 Nov, 2010 By: John Latchem
If there’s one thing Ray Romano learned from working on “Men of a Certain Age,” it’s that writing an hour-long, single-camera series for cable is a lot different than writing a sitcom.
“I don’t want to say harder than a sitcom because all writing is hard, whether it’s for comedy or drama,” Romano said during a conference call to promote the DVD of the show’s first season. “But it’s much more intense. I never expected how much goes into this. We’re making a 40-minute movie every week.”
Romano co-created the show with executive producer Mike Royce, with whom he previously worked on “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
“Men of a Certain Age” focuses on three fortysomething friends navigating the second act of their lives. Joe (Romano) dreams of being a professional golfer but runs a party store. Owen (Andre Braugher) is an overstressed salesman at his father’s car dealership. And Terry (Scott Bakula) is a struggling actor.
“The cast is great,” Romano said. “I had never met either guy before we started this. Andre is a Juilliard-trained actor, so he intimidates me. And Scott is one of the nicest guys in show business, so he intimidates me too.”
Romano said that casting Braugher required a leap of faith because the part of Owen was written with a different actor in mind: “The Wire” star Wendell Pierce, who took a role on HBO’s “Treme.”
“Someone pitched Andre Braugher,” Romano said. “We didn’t think he was the type, but we met with him and decided to take a shot, and it paid off. Andre had never done comedy, but it was something he was willing to try. He seems like a natural at it.”
Of Bakula, Romano joked about being jealous of his co-star’s eagerness to please those around him.
“I thought I liked to please everyone and be a good guy, but he seems to be the nicest guy in Hollywood,” Romano said. “Plus, he’s 56 years old and in better shape than I ever was, so that really pisses me off!”
Romano said his athletic ability, or lack thereof, comes into play in filming his golf scenes.
“It’s fun, but it’s a little more pressure than real acting because I have to act like I’m a scratch golfer, which I’m not,” Romano said. “But I want it to look real. So usually I just swing at nothing, and we add a CGI ball.”
Warner Home Video releases Men of a Certain Age: The Complete First Season Nov. 9 at $39.98. The two-DVD set includes 10 episodes, plus commentary with Royce and the three stars, deleted scenes, a gag reel and behind-the-scenes footage. The second season of the show starts Dec. 6 on TNT.
Romano has nothing but praise for TNT having faith in the show.
“TNT saw it for what it was,” Romano said. “We just had to find the right network for it, where it would fit.”
Romano said that despite a title and premise that seem to focus on a specific demographic, the show actually has a wide appeal to viewers.
“People identify with it,” Romano said. “You don’t have to be of that age or that sex to enjoy it. We just write what we know and how we live.”