Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Coverage of Entourage

Adrian & Jeremy: Is there life after Entourage?
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) 


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Two scenes from the hit comedy series: (Top) Adrian Grenier, center, with Kevin Dillon, left, and Scott Caan. (Above) Jeremy Piven, right, with Rex Lee.
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MANILA, Philippines - In 2004, a young sexy newcomer arrived in Hollywood and set the town on fire. His good looks landed him many parts and, at the height of his career, he even did a superhero movie! His is the most quintessential career — one that’s riddled with gossips, failed relationships, sensational paparazzi scandals, porn star girlfriends, etc. The actor also had a group of hangers-on called enablers in extreme cases but otherwise an actor’s entourage when described affectionately.

The actor could be any person working in Hollywood. Name anyone and in some measure he could perfectly fit the bill but, nope, the actor in our story is no real actor. We are talking about Vince Chase, the alter ego of green-eyed and equally good-looking actor Adrian Grenier in the hit showbiz satire Entourage, whose eighth and final season started airing last Nov. 9 on the HBO Signature channel.

In the series, Vince Chase started as an up-and-coming actor who, over seven seasons of the show, saw his career go up in Hollywood. The whole series evolved around Vince’s misadventures with fame along with his three buddies and his odd love-hate relationship with his foul-mouthed agent, Ari Gold, brilliantly portrayed in the series by veteran actor Jeremy Piven, who already received three Emmy awards for his role.

When Entourage premiered more than seven years ago, the comedy series instantly became a hit and the cast became enormously popular that some writers were calling them the male version of the Sex and the City girls. Thankfully, the actors’ real-life fame did not go into their heads and they did not mirror their characters’ shenanigans in the series.

In late July this year, the two lead stars of the series, Adrian and Jeremy, did separate interviews with The Philippine STAR during the Los Angeles junket of Entourageto talk about the final season of the series and to share their thoughts on their characters, their post-Entourage plans, and whether a movie version of the series is ever going to get made.

Adrian sat at the roundtable first and below are excerpts of the interview with the 35-year-old star who described his character as “maybe more lazy than he is dumb” and who is “actually quite savvy.”


This is going to be one of your last interviews for Entourage, how do you feel about it?
“Whoa! Don’t be so sure.”


Do people mistake you for Vince when you are out?
“At times. And they are often disappointed that I am not. I am only partly as cool as Vince but not quite.”


How is your relationship with your own agent compared to Vince and Ari’s?
“It’s different. It’s very different. I sometimes feel like maybe I need to be a little more aggressive like Vince and then I find myself saying some of the same lines that Vince does and then I think, ‘Are they gonna take me seriously?...’ It’s hard because on one hand, Vince empowers me but on the other hand, he doesn’t allow me because he has already taken all the good lines.”


The Hollywood life that you portray on the show, how close is that to reality?
“It’s definitely sort of “reality-heightened” but some things are downplayed. A lot of times we have to underplay a situation because people wouldn’t believe it even though it actually happened in real life.”


Can you cite an example?
“You take Vince dating a porn star and doing one of his drug benders, who does that remind you of?”


Does Vince’s story reflect your own reality?
“My reality? I have six porn star girlfriends!” (He joked.) “Sometimes I go to a club and people are a little bit disappointed that I am not a big superstar and I am right there hanging with my friends who are a little nerdier. My friends would say that I am more of, sort of, down-to-earth.”


Are you going to continue making documentary movies as a director after the series is over? (Adrian did a popular documentary called Shot in the Dark, which chronicled his search for his estranged biological father in 2002.)
“Actually, Teenage Paparazzo (his current film that premiered earlier this year) is still alive and well. We just launched what we call the Teenage Paparazzo Experienceand it’s a college tour, a non-traditional venue tour for the film coupled with an educational curriculum, an art exhibit and guest speakers. We are going from town-to-town partly to recoup some of our investments but more importantly as an educational tool to share the ideas with young people, students…”


How do you feel about doing a movie version of Entourage?
“Oh yeah, don’t you guys wanna see it? I mean, we must do our duty and make a movie. Yes, sir! We all have the task to make the film as explosive and as epic as possible.”

After the interview with Adrian, Jeremy joined the roundtable and the forty-something actor talked lengthily about his character and his immediate plans now that the series is over. Below are excerpts from that interview.


Do you miss Ari?
“I don’t. I am incredibly fulfilled. I got to play this wildly abrasive, aggressive character and then, this year, the wife leaves him and he is completely emotionally gutted so I get to reveal his humanity, show this transformation from the shark into being human. As an actor, you can’t ask for anything more and if you want anything more, you are too greedy. I am wildly fulfilled so I don’t want to ask for too much.”

How is your blood pressure now after playing him with all that anger? Did it affect you in any way?
“I guess it did. It did affect me. I had some health problems at one point. I don’t know any other way but to give everything I have in every single take. I have never ‘phoned in,’ as they say, a moment as an actor. When you are playing rage or fear, or now, sadness, for 14 hours a day, it takes its toll but that’s the game you’re in and I think that my quest now is to find balance in my life. Actors want to act and I’ve gotten a chance for eight years to do that and I am very grateful.”


While shooting, are you able to disconnect yourself from your character at all?
“I am able very much to disconnect because it is such a release. It is so cathartic to be able to do these things: to yell and fire people, to hurl insults and to what-not — I am a stage actor from Chicago and I have been doing yoga for 20 years and to inhabit a character — whom I do not necessarily want to be in the same room with — to be honest with you, is pretty fun.”


Is that why you don’t miss him?
“I don’t miss him because I don’t have any regrets. There’s a great cliché about sports: You want to leave it all on the field. I’ve left it all on the field. There’s nothing left.”


Are there anything left for the movie?
“Yes! The movie could be great. It could be wonderful. We’ll just take a moment and see how all these settles in and how we end up and maybe people will miss us a little bit and we come back.”


Are you going back to the theater? (Jeremy famously left a Broadway play three months into the engagement in 2008.)
“Sure, I am going back to the theater as soon as I find a great play.”
Entourage airs every Wednesday at 10 p.m. on the HBO Signature channel. Now, go fix your schedule and track the last days of Vince and his gang.  — (With reports from Anselmo Manosca)

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