“Eulogy” Stars Famke Janssen and Ray Romano Discuss Their Roles in the Comedy

By Rebecca Murray | About.com

Eulogy follows a dysfunctional family who reunite to bury the family’s patriarch. Romano plays Skip, a divorced father of two obnoxious teenage boys who is almost as immature as his sons. Janssen co-stars as Judy, the life partner of Lucy (Kelly Preston), a couple who are trying to figure out the best way to announce their upcoming nuptials.


Was this a different type of comedy for you?
RAY ROMANO: Yeah. Well, it was the first film I did and it was very much more edgy and dark than my TV fans are going to be used to. But that’s what appealed to me. The script was good and the character was nutty.

Was that character the one you originally wanted to play?
RAY ROMANO: That’s the one I wanted to play. The script came to me for the other [character played by Hank Azaria]. Uh, what the hell is his name? Daniel! It’s been a year and a half. Yeah, that was when the script came to me. And then I just said, “You know, I could do this character, but I’m more interested in the other one.” And they said okay.

Why were you more interested in this other role?
RAY ROMANO: Well, just for that reason. He had a little twisted side to him. A little sad, a little funny, and I get to wear a little moustache glued to my face, which was annoying.

With the ensemble, did you guys have to fight for screen time?
RAY ROMANO: No, on this movie the script was there. I mean, we all had our adlibbing moments and stuff like that, but ultimately what got in the film was what [helped] the film.

FAMKE JANSSEN: I think the only thing that happened at times, that tends to happen in these little movies with no money and no time, is that you have to consolidate shots. All of a sudden, instead of doing close-ups, people end up in three-shots. And if there’s no room to go to one more angle, then sorry, we’re going to have to skip that angle and just move onto the next thing. So I think in that respect, maybe people could have tried to get more screen time or something but I wasn’t really aware that people were doing that around me.

Would you be open to doing more character roles rather than leads?
RAY ROMANO: You know, yeah, if the character was interesting and I thought I could pull it off and do it I would love to, yeah. I mean, I don’t have a good experience with having a lead in a movie. I’m 0-1 I think as far as that goes. I like the whole process of getting into a different skin for the most part and I would do it again. I just don’t want to play the same guy again over and over.

Do have a lax approach to parenting?
RAY ROMANO: I’m bad. Bad meaning I am like him a little bit. I’m a softy, my wife’s a hard ass in the family and she gets on my case. I give ’em stuff. I bet stuff. I owe my kids a trampoline now.

What did you have to do to create the character, since the disciplinary approach was not a stretch?
No. What I did with this guy, it wasn’t a crazy character stretch, but he reminded me of this guy in my neighborhood. I won’t say who, of course, so I tried to channel that guy. I remember driving to the set in the morning and that guy has this certain thing he says. He has like a signature line that he always says so I would say it in the car on the way to the lot to try to kind of click in to this guy. So I used him.

I was lucky to have this guy to kind of imitate almost. I tried to just know who the guy was and where he came from and the whole father issue and being the forgotten son and all that. That helped.

What was the energy level on the set?
Energy was good. A lot of different personalities. Everybody was fun.

Did you have a lot of freedom to elevate the irreverent tone?
FAMKE JANSSEN: It was a comedy. It was always a comedy, written as a comedy. They ad-libbed a lot more – you and Hank did most of the time.

RAY ROMANO: Yeah, we adlibbed, but the tone was there. When we adlibbed it was just to try to get a laugh.