Romano Brings Laughs To Film

Each week, 20 million viewers tune in to Ray Romano's hit CBS series "Everybody Loves Raymond."

This weekend, he hopes they follow him to movie theaters where he is making his big screen debut as a plumber turned mayoral candidate in "Welcome to Mooseport."

On Tuesday's The Early Show, the comedian talked about his first major motion picture.

In the movie, Romano plays Handy Harrison of a small Maine community, who finds himself in competition to become mayor of Mooseport. His opposition is two-term President of the United States, Monroe "Eagle" Cole (Gene Hackman).

Cole and Harrison are also in competition to win the love of Sally, who is frustrated by Harrison's inattentiveness.

Romano says he was offered numerous scripts but didn't want to do a film unless he felt it was right for him at the correct time.

"I was being very careful about what would be the first film, live action film, because the audience is used to my [television] character," says Romano. "You can't go too far away from that. Then again, you don't want to play the same guy on TV. [Welcome to Mooseport] seemed like a good mix, a good compromise between the two."

But initially, "Welcome to Mooseport" wasn't a must-do film to make.

"This script, they saw about two years ago, and it came and went away and came back again," he explains. "It all worked -- the cast, everything. It all fit."

Some Facts About Ray Romano

  • Ray Romano was born on Dec. 21, 1957 in Queens, N.Y.
  • David Letterman offered Romano a development deal with his production company, Worldwide Pants – leading to the CBS hit, "Everybody Loves Raymond."
  • Romano made his big screen debut as the voice of "Manny," the wooly mammoth in the Twentieth Century Fox hit movie "Ice Age."
  • For his role in "Everybody Loves Raymond," Romano won the 2002 Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. He was nominated in the same category in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003
  • Romano's next 2004 movie, "Eulogy" will be with Zooey Deschanel, Debra Winger, Kelly Preston, Piper Laurie, Hank Azaria and Rip Torn.
  • Romano's comedy album "Live at Carnegie Hall," was nominated for Best Spoken Comedy Album at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards (2002).
  • Romano is the author of The New York Times best-selling book based on his comedy, "Everything and a Kite."
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