By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—Adrian Grenier reprises his role as playboy movie star Vincent Chase for the big screen adaptation of the award-winning hit HBO series “Entourage.”
Also returning are most of the show’s original cast, including Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara and Jeremy Piven. The inside Hollywood comedy is likely to satisfy fans of the series, which wrapped in 2011 after eight seasons.
Vincent and his boys, Eric (Connolly), Turtle (Ferrara) and Johnny (Dillon), are back in business with super agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold (Piven). Some of their ambitions have changed, but the bond between them remains strong as they navigate the capricious and often cutthroat world of Hollywood.
The film also stars Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment as father and son, Larsen and Travis McCredle, who bring something new to the proceedings.
Returning cast from the series includes Perrey Reeves as Ari Gold’s wife; Emmanuelle Chriqui as Sloan; Rhys Coiro as Billy Walsh; Debi Mazar as Vince’s publicist, Shauna; Rex Lee as Lloyd; Constance Zimmer as Dana Gordon; and Nora Dunn as Dr. Marcus. Emily Ratajkowski appears as herself. Rounding out the cast are Alan Dale, who appeared in the series, rapper Scott Mescudi, and mixed martial arts expert Rhonda Rousey.
“Entourage” creator Doug Ellin directed the feature film from his own screenplay, from a story by Ellin and Rob Weiss, based on characters created by Ellin. Mark Wahlberg (who does a cameo), Stephen Levinson and Ellin are producing, with Wayne Carmona serving as executive producer.
During production here last year, Grenier, 38, took a few moments to speak with reporters between scenes about the making of the long-awaited big screen adaptation of the series. Though he was outgoing and charismatic like his onscreen character, the still boyishly handsome actor was careful not to give away any big spoilers.
Q: How different is the film from the TV series?
Grenier: We, obviously, wanted to build off what we got right, and so we kept the team the same and kept the cast the same, so it’s the same crew, many of the same faces. There are a couple of new ones. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Q: Tell us what’s happening with Vince in this movie version.
Grenier: So Vince has decided that anything he acts in next he also wants to direct. It’s to be seen whether or not he can actually pull it off, especially considering he’s been given quite a hefty budget. It’s a lot on the line because Ari is the head of studio that greenlit the project.
Q: On his personal life?
Grenier: Personal life?
Q: Because you were getting married…
Grenier: Well, you know, c’mon.
Q: What happened?
Grenier: (shrugs) It’s Vince.
Q: What happened to that relationship?
Grenier: Some things work out and some things don’t.
Q: Is it explained in the movie?
Grenier: Vince doesn’t have any enemies, and all of his ex-girlfriends are still his friends.
Q: How does he do that?
Grenier: How does he get away with anything he gets away with? I don’t know. He’s blessed.
Q: There’s quite a big gap between the end of the series and the start of shooting (the movie). Have you been in touch with the guys? Do you hang out? What do you do?
Grenier: Yeah, I see those guys every once in a while. I live in New York, so not as often as we might like. But we’ve stayed in touch a lot, actually.
Q: What would you do if you had a day out with all of the characters?
Grenier: I don’t know if we’d go out on day outings. We don’t go to Disneyland. It’s more like nighttime dinners and sports bar stuff.
Q: When people see you all in a restaurant booth somewhere, what reaction do you get from fans of the show?
Grenier: It’s almost like the gamification of life. It’s like when people see one of us, it’s like 10 points. If they see two of us, it’s more. If they can get us all together, it’s like bonus bonus.
Q: If you could put together your entourage and people could send in a resume, what sort of skills would you want them to have?
Grenier: Skills? I don’t know. Do you have to have skills to be on an entourage? I think you get supported by default. That’s sort of part of the entourage is there’s no requirement except friendship and loyalty.
Q: You’ve been in the business for quite a while now. Is there something you know now that you wished you knew when you started?
Grenier: I’m just happy that it keeps going on and we have an opportunity to build on the lessons we’ve learned. I’m happy the way it turned out.
Q: Is there a movie or genre that Vince has done that you’d like to do?
Grenier: I like the Aquaman character. I’m actually a big supporter of environmental causes and trying to protect the oceans. I think the oceans are in a dire place right now, so I am Aquaman in real life. I do a lot of work with Oceana. There are a lot of issues surrounding the oceans that I’d love to protect. And James Cameron is also an environmentalist. He has this new show coming out called “The Years of Living Dangerously,” which looks fantastic, so I think James Cameron and I could team up and do a really cool action film, superhero film, that had an environmental message.
Q: Is there a TV show you’re passionate about that you’d like to see in a movie?
Grenier: Hmmm. “Friends.”
Q: “Breaking Bad?”
Grenier: “Breaking Bad” would be good. “The Walking Dead,” the movie.
Q: Can you talk about your relationship with Ari in this movie? You’ve had your moments with him in the series. How’s your relationship with him in this? Are there any heated moments in the film?
Grenier: Of course, now that the dynamic has changed slightly, there is added pressure to the relationship because there’s a lot at stake. It’s not that Vince is lost but it potentially can be detrimental to Ari as well. But Ari’s looking out for Vince and has made a gamble over and over on him. And I suspect he’s never going to lose that bet.
Q: Of all the girls Vince has been with, who is his favorite?
Grenier: That’s the thing about Vince, he doesn’t play favorites. He loves everybody equally. It’s like, how do you choose one of the entourage? E, Turtle, Drama—they’re all equal.
Q: How do you relate to your character? Is there any of you in him? Have you learned anything from him?
Grenier: I’m still aspiring. I think the great thing about playing the role is that I actually get to play the role. But, at the end of the day, I go back to my normal life. I’m like every other fan. I, too, fantasize about having that lifestyle that I don’t actually have. It’s a fantasy. It’s our job to make it as larger than life as possible.
Q: Vince starts out as just a beautiful face, but he matures during the series. How much is this (movie) like the next level for him?
Grenier: Well, I think it’s the next stage in his evolution as a person in the entertainment business, to transition from acting to directing. You learn by default; you’re on set so much. You basically have a master’s degree, an education in film sets work. If you have a vision, if you have a creative spark, then it’s just the logical next progression.
Q: Did you have any hesitation about making the “Entourage” film because people loved the series, and I’m sure you didn’t want to spoil it?
Grenier: No. I think we’re up to the challenge to make sure people are satisfied. I’m not nervous. I think they’re going to be quite happy.
Q: Working in L.A., have you thought about moving here?
Grenier: I’m here all the time enough. But I grew up in New York and my mom is there. It’s my home. I’ll never leave.
Q: Does it help you get away from the movie business craziness?
Grenier: There’s definitely more dynamic and perspective in New York. Here it’s just sort of even-keeled. The weather’s always the same. Everybody gets the same boob job. All the lawns are manicured in their dimensions.
Q: Talk about the new characters in this. Was there someone you really enjoyed getting to know either in this movie or in the shooting of the series?
Grenier: I’m really getting to know Haley Joel (Osment). He’s a really stand up guy. I’m glad to be working with him.
Q: Do you see yourself going back to TV?
Grenier: Absolutely. I’m working on a couple of things that you may be hearing about soon.
Q: You recently did a documentary about drug dealers…
Grenier: “How to Make Money Selling Drugs.”
Q: Right. Fantastic. Are you doing anything like that again?
Grenier: Thank you. I am. I’m working on a couple other follow up projects with the same director and new one as well that we’re not announcing quite yet.
Q: If you could kill off one of the character in “Entourage” who would it be and why?
Grenier: I’m a lover, not a fighter. I’m definitely not a murderer.