It’s been a while since we’ve seen Ray Romano on television. Well, unless you count his role on Parenthood (and we totally do), but it certainly seems as though most people actually remember the actor from his days as the lead on Everybody Loves Raymond.
We’d reckon it’s those fans who will be shocked to see the actor in his latest role, as a 70s music executive on the upcoming Martin Scorsese-directed series Vinyl. The HBO project, which stars Bobby Cannavale in the leading role, is a hardcore look at the sex, drugs and rock and roll scene during that time period, and comes with plenty of cred thanks to Mick Jagger being on board as an executive producer.
And while Romano is a notable supporting character (he plays a friend and business partner to Cannavale’s quickly disintegrating character) we barely recognized him when he first popped up on screen. In fact we only knew it was him by that distinctive voice. We’ve been promised that if we stick with the show when it premieres on Feb. 14 we’re going to know a whole lot more of Romano.
“People who just know me from Everybody Loves Raymond should avoid episode 7 because I’m naked,” Romano joked recently during the 2016 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California. “They should go bowling for episode 7. It is different than what they will remember me, but that’s great. I love that.”
For those who aren’t sure whether they’ll buy Romano in a dramatic role, we’d suggest revisiting Parenthood. But another — perhaps stronger — vote of confidence comes from Scorsese himself, who supposedly never saw Everybody Loves Raymond and had no knowledge of Romano’s comedic chops before helping to cast him. Add to that Romano’s love of the music that was coming out during that period of his own life, and we’re pretty confident in him. Naked or otherwise.
“I was a teenager during this era so the music is connected to a very important time in my life. I reached puberty. I reached manhood. I fell in love. I fell out of love. And all of the music is connected,” he said. “Now, to be going back in time and seeing the performers, talking to them, it’s surreal. It’s unimaginable to me.”