By Alice O’Neill
In Rob The Mob, Ray Romano, still beloved by fans of Everybody Loves Raymond, plays a good guy newspaper reporter, Jerry Cardozo, who fights to save a young couple who are marked for extinction by the mob and by the feds.
I questioned Romano about his always playing an honest guy and if he deliberately chooses such roles. “Well, if you mean I play the character honestly, yeah. I mean, I always look to bring out the real person,” he told me. “My character has been covering the mob beat – John Gotti–for a long time. As a reporter the fascination is gone.”
Romano told me he worked on the honesty of the scene with the young couple, the moment. “I felt what Jerry was feeling. You say you felt the poignancy of me trying to give them tickets to get away—to safety—out of the mob’s reach. Yeah, I felt it.”
Director Raymond De Felitta told me, “Ray’s right. When the actor thinks the thought, the camera records it.”
A beat went by. “But would I play a bad guy?” Brown eyes opened wide. “Sure. I’d love to!”
Romano’s role is a plume one, small but deeply significant. The “moment” he described is haunting.
When someone apparently in charge called time and told the reporters, “We’ll take two more questions then we have to go.”
‘What?!” Romano called out. “We’re not in a hurry. Let them ask their questions.” They posed for photos and some of us kept up the questioning even as we snapped pictures.
Both Garcia and Romano looked great. Garcia was in a suit and Romano wore what looked like a knit work shirt and sported what looked like the beginnings of a beard. I didn’t get a chance to ask if he had just come from a set.
I did ask about his ethnicity. He was happy to explain. “I was born in the U.S. and both my parents were born in the U.S. But my wife is Sicilian. So we go to visit her relatives in Siciy. Beautiful place.”
A Millennium Entertainment release. The cast:
Michael Pitt, Nina Arianda, Ray Romano, Andy Garcia, Burt Young, Frank Whaley, Michael Rispoli, Yul Vasquez, Cathy Moriarity, and Griffin Dunne, and Luke Fobb, Big Al’s grandson.