Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ray Romano and Lauren Graham Talk Family Dynamics on Parenthood

Photo by Danny Feld/NBC
We come from a big family. So growing up when it came time for holiday gatherings or birthday dinners, our house was always buzzing with laughter and singing and tons of chatter. That’s why we love watching the big group scenes on Parenthood — it brings us back to our childhood.

But we always think back to an Easter Sunday when we were in college when we brought a close friend home. She had grown up with a single mom and one brother and she wasn’t used to the calamity of a big clan like ours. We remember her describing us zipping from room to room as the day unfolded as a being like a cage full of birds flitting from here to there in a frenzy.

So when we talked to Ray Romano and Lauren Graham during a recent conference call interview about filming those big group scenes on Parenthood, we weren’t terribly surprised by Ray’s accounting of those shoots.

As the Everybody Loves Raymond star recounted, “The third day was I had a scene with the whole cast and it was a weird feeling… First of all I was just like a viewer. I was like, ‘Wait a minute.’ You really get wrapped up in [the fact] that this is the Braverman family. I’m like, ‘Well wait a minute. I know it’s not. I know that guy and him. I’ve worked with him and whatever.’ But yes I was a little bit, I don’t know if star struck is the word, but it was a little surreal that I’m in this world that I’ve just been watching and been wrapped up in.”

But although she’s been on the show since it’s inception four season’s ago, Graham conceded, “Even if you’re in that group, they’re so loud and there’s so many of us… Those scenes are always really daunting.”

Besides the chaos of the faux-family dynamic, and despite the fact that he’s one of TV’s greatest success stories, Ray confessed that he can still get flabbergasted in some situations. He admitted, “I do still get intimidated by certain things. And I was slightly intimidated on that day because, also, just on a regular level of this is the first time they’re seeing me I want to not screw up. I want to do well and I want to fit in.”

He added that it isn’t always easy to blend into an existing ensemble cast, saying, “They’ve been together and they’ve got their rhythms and the tone and everything. And I want to make sure my character fits into the show and the universe that they’re in.”

Luckily for him, he was embraced by the Bravermans. He joked, “Everybody was nice except for a few. No I’m kidding. No everybody was great and it was fun.”

Lauren couldn’t agree more about the caliber of her co-stars. Already an iconic TV mom from her portrayal of Lorelai on The Gilmore Girls, she talked about her good fortune in clicking with her on-screen kids.

She noted, “I don’t know how I have been so lucky with [Alexis Bledel and Mae Whitman]. They are both really exceptional actors, really sweet people. “

Lauren continued, “I worried when I started this show that it was going to feel similar either to me or to people who watched the other show. And the relationships have been so different. But I just really love them both so much.”

She also spoke highly of her TV son, Drew, played by Miles Heizer. “Both my kids on Parenthood are really, really special actors. And we have great friendship.”

And to top it off, Lauren acknowledged that she feels a special bond with her Parenthood daughter. “I see a lot, more so maybe than in Alexis, I see a lot of myself in Mae in who she is. And been a very rewarding thing.”

Still she pointed out there was one drawback to both her on-screen daughters, “They’re both so short though. Mae is so tiny and I’ve gone into these scenes where I’m like looking way down. It’s my only issue.”

Height aside, Ray couldn’t agree more about the talent level of their young Parenthood co-stars. “That’s one thing that blew me away when I was just a viewer was how good the kids were, how good as actors. They just were unbelievably just so strong.”

Another thing that’s strong on the show is the attraction between their characters, Sarah and Hank. But as she moves in with her fiancée Mark this week, Hank’s prospects with his employee seem to be in jeopardy – isolated dark room kiss aside.

Graham addressed what’s to come for TV’s newest potential duo. “I don’t know what the future for her is but I try take it as I get the information. And to me this Hank story is compelling and given the issues she’s had in the relationship with Mark and being in very different life places, it makes sense.”

See how it all unfolds when 
Parenthood airs on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. Central on NBC.

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