“He’s a bit tragic. He’s a bit damaged and flawed,” reveals Ray Romano as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his role as record company executive Zak Yankovich on HBO’s rookie drama series “Vinyl.” With regards to sizing up the character in the initial pilot script, he reveals, “I could just see that this guy was struggling to be something and make something of himself, and that appeals to me. Anytime there’s a guy who has some inner angst, I identify with it.”
The show –a behind-the-scenes look at the 1970s music industry — is executive produced by two showbiz legends: Oscar and Emmy winner Martin Scorsese and Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. Zak and label honcho Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale) struggle with business choices, artist egos, financial problems and substance abuse. On working opposite Cannavale, a two-time Emmy champ, Romano says, “He’s like a stud, he’s got the looks, he’s got the voice, he’s got the bravado. I keep waiting for him to somehow disappoint me as a person, and he never does. He’s the nicest guy. It’s a great combination of a tough guy who’s a great person to be around.”
Romano is a three-time Emmy winner for his work on the CBS series “Everybody Loves Raymond.” He took home the Best Comedy Actor trophy in 2002 and two producing prizes for Best Comedy Series (2003, 2005). He is also a two-time Golden Globe nominee and shared in a SAG Award as part of the Best TV Comedy Ensemble (2003).
He will be on the Emmy ballot this summer as Best Drama Supporting Actor and is considering the penultimate episode “The King and I” as his submission to voters. It features a trip to Las Vegas to poach Elvis Presley as a potential client that ends in devastation for Zak when Richie falsely accuses him of losing $90,000 of the company’s money. Zak has an emotional meltdown when he realizes that he may be no better a man than Richie.
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