Doris Roberts is probably best known for her role as Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond, but her career has spanned decades. The 79-year-old actress now stars as Nana Rose in Aliens in the Attic, a grandmother who is taken over by a alien mind-control device, giving her super human powers and martial arts expertise.

You do some really outrageous physical stuff in this movie, how was that to shoot?

Aliens in the Attic
Nana Rose (Doris Roberts) in the middle of the group © Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises

I had a great time. I approached it as it I was a kid. When we were kids we’d make believe that we were going to be a character and you never censored it or questioned it, you just did it. When I was given the script I wasn’t sure what to do with it. It’s not anything that I’ve ever been offered before. I have two wonderful grandsons and I spoke to them about it, I said, ‘What do you think about this role?’ And they were like, ‘Oh yeah, Nannie, do it.’ They said, ‘And what about the fight scene?’ I said, ‘What fight scene?’ I didn’t even know there was a fight scene.

How much of the fight scene did you actually do?

One of the multi-limbed Aliens
One of the multi-limbed aliens © Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises

I didn’t do the jumps, I wanted to but they said, ‘I’m not sure that the wires can hold you.’ For insurance reasons, I couldn’t do those, which is smart when you think about it, because if I had fallen I would have broken my neck or my back. I did all the other stuff, which is insane. We were trained, and we did it at a fast pace, so that if the other actor went to sock me, if I didn’t get down fast enough I would have gotten hit. And I had a cane that was a lethal weapon, it has a big curve on the edge of it, and when I put that between his legs and pulled back I really could have made him sing high C.  But I didn’t, they were all worried about us hurting each other. I just approached it like a kid, just do it, don’t question it, just go for it. When that door fell and I made those growling sounds, I thought, ‘Who the hell is that?’ I didn’t know that it came out of me. I didn’t know I had that in me, which is just as well I guess.

Do you miss doing TV?

No, but only because I’ve done four films since Everybody Loves Raymond, and I just finished doing a new play in La Jolla by Terrence McNally. So I’ve been working constantly, I need to take a rest. I’m hoping to go back into sitcom work, I think we need it, we need to laugh.

Ray Romano has a new show, has he asked you to be on it?

No, he would never have me on his show. I’m too identified as Marie and that would immediately have the audience going, ‘Oh there’s his mother from the other show.’ Success can be a failure for you, I’m so identified as Marie Barone, people would push for me, and the (network) people would say, “Oh I love her, she’s wonderful, but she’s Marie Barone.’ Well, I’m not. I’ve got all these movie’s that I’ve done coming out soon and they are all totally different. I did one with Ernest Borgnine which is great called Another Harvest Moon, he’s 92 years old and he’s just fabulous and outrageous. It’s dramatic. I did one with Andy Griffith called Play the Game, I did a movie for Hallmark where I play an angel, but a funny angel, she’s a fabulous character. The kid’s working!

Are you going to rest now?

No, I’ll take a break when I’m dead. I love what I do, why wouldn’t I continue to do it?


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.