*Epix’s new scripted mobster comedy series “Get Shorty” was originally a New York Times best-selling novel turned 1995 comedy film based on Elmore Leonard’s novel of the same name.
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring John Travolta, the plot remained true to the book except for a few minor details. A sequel, titled “Be Cool,” was released in 2005.
Fast forward to 2017 and Davey Holmes has adapted Leonard’s novel for a series starring Ray Romano. “Get Shorty” premiered on Epix last week and the dark adventure “follows former mobster Miles Daly (Chris O’Dowd), who has dreams of becoming a Hollywood movie producer. As Daly makes attempts at living a normal life away from the crime ring, he ends up carrying that baggage with him.”
“I was told not to watch the movie by Allen Coulter, the director of the first episode. And I went ahead and watched it. I re-watched it anyway. But he basically told me the tone is much different,” Romano said about preparing for the role during the 2017 Summer TCA Press Tour at The Beverly Hills Hilton on July 25.
“And I hadn’t read the book, only because I don’t read much. But I knew — when I spoke to Davey, I knew that this was based on the book, but it was also going to have its own tone to it. So I just trusted that, and I didn’t need to know any more,” he adds.
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Ray Romano is best known for his role on the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” for which he received an Emmy Award. It premiered on CBS on September 13, 1996, and concluded on May 16, 2005, after nine seasons.
“After “Raymond,” I didn’t want to do a sitcom again,” the comedian confessed during TCA. “I always wanted to keep comedy in my work, but I was more attracted to maybe — maybe something dramatic. But it was small. It was little baby steps. Because it’s very hard to get people to forget that character they’ve seen for nine years.”
When asked if he’s surprised by his success as a serious actor following his comedic work on “Raymond,” Romano replies: “Am I surprised? I guess the answer is yes, because I’m surprised I can do anything. I’m very insecure about all of this, and it’s a learning process. And with each job I get, with each role I take, I kind of discover that I can do something, you know, a little more dramatic.”
Continuing, “When I did “Vinyl” last year, or two years ago, I was delving into something very dark, and I had no idea whether I could pull it off or whether I did pull it off. So, yeah, every time I do something that people consider good or successful, it is a surprise to me, but, you know, it’s fun. It’s fun to try it. And whether or not I can do it is still yet to be seen. I still feel like I’m learning and growing in this non-comedic area.”
On “Get Shorty” Romano plays sleazy film producer Rick Moreweather, a character he describes as “kind of washed-up and B-level.”
“I’ve met a lot of producers. It’s fun to play a guy who’s a little desperate, you know, and trying to prove himself. And by the way, I borrowed the hair from Brian Grazer who is an A-level producer. I don’t want him to be offended by this. That’s all I have of his, is the hair. The character is something different.”
Epix not part of your cable provider? You can watch the “Get Shorty” pilot for free via the Epix website.