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December 18th, 2017

Entourage Movie, Cast Interview

“Entourage,” the much-anticipated big-screen version of the award-winning hit HBO series directed by series creator Doug Ellin, reunites the show’s original cast, led by Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara and Jeremy Piven. Movie star Vincent Chase (Grenier), together with his boys, Eric (Connolly), Turtle (Ferrara) and Johnny (Dillon), are back…and 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, Haley Joel Osment and Emmanuelle Chriqui.

At the film’s recent press day, Ellin, Connolly, Grenier, Dillon, Ferrara, Osment and Chriqui talked about how their characters have evolved over the years, Osment’s experience being the newcomer to the group, Drama’s journey to happiness in Hollywood, how the film like the series is about friendship and loyalty, why it’s a love letter to L.A., setting the Guinness record for the most cameos in a feature film, what it was like returning to the characters, getting in the ring with Ronda Rousey, what Piven brought to the feature, and the pivotal role Mark Wahlberg played in getting the movie made.

Here’s what they had to say:

QUESTION: Can you talk about how you think the essence of your character has changed over the 15 years that you’ve been together? Has there been a transformation or have you remained pretty much the same as the first time you met each other?

KEVIN DILLON: My character has probably changed the least amount. He’s still striving for the same thing. He wants fame, not really fortune so much. He’s all about fame. He’s still striving for that. That’s what I love about him. I don’t want him to change too much because he’s a lot of fun.

ADRIAN GRENIER: I think one thing about this crew that is so special is that despite all the changes, despite all the ups and downs, there’s still something that remains steadfast, which is their loyalty to each other. Vince has certainly inspired a generosity amongst them and now in the movie they get to give back a little bit and support Vince in his attempt to take the next step in his career as a director.

JERRY FERRERA: I feel like Turtle is maybe the last to even start the evolution process. I like to go back to the early, early years of the character where he was telling girls to make out with him and he’ll show them where Vince eats breakfast in the morning, to dating Jamie-Lynn who was out of his league, to then becoming basically a millionaire. I used to joke around with Doug (Ellin) all the time like, “When’s Turtle going to grow up a little more?” and he’d always say, “Season 8.” This was in Season 2 and I don’t think he ever thought we’d get to Season 8 when he said that to me. But when it was Season 8, I said, “Doug, it’s time.” I love the evolution of how this guy has changed and it’s a lot of fun to play. I kind of grew up with him a little bit along the way. I’ve matured as he’s matured. I still say I’m a little more mature though.

KEVIN CONNOLLY: I think all the characters have evolved. When you look at Season 1 compared to Season 8 that’s at a different pace, all the characters have certainly evolved. Obviously, Jerry and even Johnny Drama have evolved a little bit more than I expected, and I think Drama has done a pretty good job of becoming more of his own man and he’s taking on a little more. I think Drama has evolved and certainly he and Sloan are taking the big jump in this movie and adding a new, tiny member to the entourage. There’ll be a new character in the “Entourage” sequel. It’s a big step for anybody in real life, so certainly for my character. For he and Sloan to be having a baby is a big deal.

EMMANUELLE CHRIQUI: As they’re all saying, it’s been an incredible journey for the characters over the years. For me, it was 6 seasons. I would say Sloan in the beginning was a little more naïve maybe. As E and Sloan’s relationship evolved so did so many conflicts and things that we worked through. We’ve been through a lot. It’s just really nice to, come the movie, be like two real adults, like no more BS, this is what’s on the table and another journey ahead. As Kevin said, it’s scary for anybody in real life let alone movie characters. It’ll be exciting.

Doug, this did go through eight seasons of episodic television successfully, and then suddenly to go to long form, there were some rocky times trying to develop it and get it into production, and here we are four years after the last season. I’m curious what the compulsion was to keep at it? What were the challenges of taking an ensemble that worked so well in shorter verse and then stretching it into a full feature?

DOUG ELLIN: The rocky road to the production was kind of overstated by people. The rockiest road was getting the script right. The biggest tragedy and the reason I love doing this at the same time is that these are my close friends so they all have input. When you have this whole group, you want everybody to be serviced in a movie. In a half-hour television show, one week it can focus on Vince and another week it can focus on Turtle and you can switch around. When you’re doing a movie for 90 minutes, again you want to service everybody and it’s a challenge to do that and keep it moving and keep it paced. The reason to do it is honestly because we love it. We get to be with our friends. We get to be in great locations and meet really interesting people. As you guys all know, the cameos that come on the show are everything from friends of ours to idols of ours that we admire and respect. The whole process of doing it is like when you get back together with your best friends from high school. It’s just something you do because you enjoy it. Just like your friends, I don’t think we’ve run out of anything to say because it really is just these guys and what their journeys are in life together. So, we’ll keep doing it as long as people are interested.

Q: Haley, as the newcomer to the group, I’d love to hear from you what it was like swimming with these sharks when you jumped into this pond?

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: As Doug said, it isn’t just a group of people who had a professional relationship making the show. There’s a really great sense of people who enjoy working together on set and people who have a really close connection. It was a lot of fun to come in and play a character who is just a total asshole and antagonist too. Doug created a really fun character in Travis McCredle, my character, who comes in and tries to assert himself in a world where he doesn’t really belong. It was a really fun project to work on. It was very enjoyable.

CONNOLLY: And this guy, Haley, has obviously accomplished a lot in his career. This is a special actor with a special talent and we’re going to see big things from him after this movie comes out.

Q: Kevin, do you have a particularly bad audition that you bring to all the Johnny Dramas? When you do the Victory thing, how do you work yourself up to that?

DILLON: Usually it’s in the script so you can find it throughout the script, but I haven’t been to many bad auditions. I did one with Rhea Perlman and it was so bad. I smoked cigarettes back then. It was like 5 flights down so I ran downstairs to have a cigarette and someone said, “Hey, they’re calling you.” So I ran to the top of the stairs. I went in there and I was huffing and puffing and I was sweating. It just looked like I was a nervous wreck. It was just awful.

Q: What do you think about Drama’s journey? Do you think he’ll ever find happiness in Hollywood?

DILLON: I think he will. In the end, he’s all about the fellows, the guys. He’s got a big heart and he’d do anything for the guys. That’s not all he’s about but that is his main goal.

ELLIN: That’s the truth. Drama, as much as he’s on the surface about his fame and success, the truth is he’s about his brother as much as him, if not more, and the guys. I think that’s why people love him so much.

DILLON: He’s got a heart.

ELLIN: There’ve been times when we’ve been shooting and a high school bus full of kids drive by and see Dillon and just start screaming, “Victory!”

FERRARA: Shaking the bus. They almost flipped the bus over shaking it.

CONNOLLY: Also, if Johnny Drama had an IMDb page, he’d be pretty impressive.

ELLIN: By the way, we should all have his career.

GRENIER: He’s got a nice resume.

CONNOLLY: That guy, he’s done a shit ton of work. Let’s face it, he’s worked more than I have. That’s for sure.

ELLIN: He’s got 20-something TV shows. He’s got some bad ones in there, but…

CONNOLLY: But he’s been pretty successful by most standards.

GRENIER: Johnny Drama auditions are must watch. It’s event watching. I always get excited if I read an audition scene because I can’t wait to see what Kevin is going to do with it because he never lets down.

ELLIN: And why we know the movie is bigger and better than the TV show is I used to be in most of Johnny Drama’s auditions on the TV show, but we decided to get real actors for the movie. We got Richard Schiff and Judy Greer in that scene instead of me. I was terrible, so I just left.

DILLON: I’ve had a lot of actors come up to me and say, “You’re carrying the torch for actors” because I stand up to these producers who are texting in the middle of an audition and that’s rude. And they say, “Oh, I’ve had that happen to me. But you stood up to them and I love you for that.”

ELLIN: This is actually one of my favorite scenes in the movie, which was a last minute add-in with Chad Lowe and David Faustino. It really is. It’s so realistic. I was an actor for 30 seconds when I first got out here. I had really bad auditions. It’s a really realistic scene to what goes on when you’re going on these things.

Q: Adrian, I’m sure you’ve heard there’s going to be a real “Aquaman” movie. They’ve cast Jason Momoa. He’s got a bit of a different look than you. I assume it’s going to be a reboot of the James Cameron “Aquaman.” I was just wondering if you had any advice for Jason?

GRENIER: He should slim down a bit because the friction in the water is going to be problematic for him. I glide.

FERRARA: I would like to quote James Cameron. He wanted a more fluid swimmer. They’re going against what James Cameron said so I wish them well.

ELLIN: It’s amazing though that they’re making that movie. It really is. I look forward to it. But when Lev and I first came up with that idea for “Aquaman,” it was like what is the one superhero that seems like there’s no way to make it a good movie. And then, James Cameron makes it and it sounds like a great movie. I’m still dying to see James Cameron’s “Aquaman.” Maybe some day.

CONNOLLY: Yeah, I’ll hold out for James.

Q: At its core, this movie is about loyalty and love. Despite all the antics, the ill-conceived concepts, and everything that happens, you guys remain loyal and you are so lucky. In real life, who’s the most lucky and who’s the most loyal of you?

DILLON: I think we’re all lucky. We’re all lucky to have this show. It’s just been so much fun. But I am by far the most loyal.

GRENIER: Yeah, if he’d pick up his phone every once and a while.

ELLIN: It’s interesting. In two weeks, we’re going to have a friends and family screening in New York. Anyone who’s there will know how loyal and lucky this group is because all of us will have our friends. I mean, the amount of names and characters that are named after my friends and their friends from elementary school on. Between all of us, we’ll probably have 150 people that we’ve known since kindergarten, elementary school, high school. That’s kind of what’s reflected in the show. It’s interesting with the casting process for this, I did. I searched for guys that were like the guys that I grew up with. They all grew up in similar ways that I did.

Q: Will it be like what almost happens on the lawn in the movie?

ELLIN: Unfortunately, it won’t be all those beautiful women. It’ll be a lot of meatheads from Long Island probably, but it’ll be a good, loving group.

CONNOLLY: We’re going to have kind of the Jersey Shore.

CHRIQUI: On the loyalty side, I’ve got to say that I feel like with everyone here at this table, the nature of the beast in our business is we get busy. We get on different projects and we do different things. But I could swear without a doubt that if I ever needed anything – advice, to hang out, friendship, whatever – I can call on anybody here and I mean that. It’s definitely a family.

ELLIN: You’ve got that right. Kevin Dillon doesn’t have a cell phone so it would be hard to call him.

Q: You made a TV show and a movie about Hollywood, but it has this different kind of feel than a lot of other programs that have come out before it that feel like they’re very inside, whereas this feels pretty palatable. What did you guys do to maintain that to make sure that somebody who lives in Wisconsin would actually feel that they could be a part of it as much as someone who lives on Sunset?

ELLIN: The show from the get-go, when we started, was seen through E’s eyes who was supposed to be the everyman that we can all relate to. To me, I’ve said this a lot, but the show is just about friendship. If they were firemen in Chicago or if they were baseball players in Wisconsin, it doesn’t matter. It’s really about the guys. The backdrop obviously gives us a lot of amazing material and beautiful scenery, but at the end of the day, it’s really about friends who grew up together and are fish out of water and taking this ride together.

FERRARA: I did always find it interesting though. I used to not worry but wondered if some of the jokes or storylines would get lost maybe with people who didn’t live in L.A. and didn’t have any experience, but you’d be surprised too how many people were obsessed with some of the inner workings of the business. I just didn’t know. You wonder if they’re getting it. Is it translating? And it definitely was more than I even thought it was.

CONNOLLY: I also think people learned a lot about the ins and outs of the business watching the show. I can remember after we did the Sundance episode getting calls from ten of my friends from Long Island going, “We’re going to Sundance!” I’m like, “No, you’re not going to Sundance. You’re not going to get in anywhere. You’re going to be standing out in the cold. Don’t do it.” We opened a lot of people’s eyes to lots of different aspects of the business.

GRENIER: It’s also a testament to how layered the show is. There’s something for everyone. Even if you don’t get the jokes, you can still enjoy it. But for those who are in the industry, they get a lot more of the subtle inside jabs and pokes.

DILLON: I remember saying to you, Doug, “I don’t know if anyone’s going to get this outside of Hollywood.” You were like, “We don’t care. We’re putting it in and they’ll figure it out.”

ELLIN: I think it’s like anything else. If you’re authentic and real, then people will get into it and then they’ll find out the things that they’re looking for.

CHRIQUI: And it’s a love letter to L.A. There’s a fascination with Los Angeles and Doug and our crew did such a spectacular job of portraying L.A. in such a way. In the film, it’s even more heightened.

CONNOLLY: We’ve made the traffic worse in L.A. We’re responsible. Countless times people come up to me and say, “Me and my friends moved out here because of you guys.” And I’m like, “Are you carpooling? You guys don’t all have your own cars, right?” Lots of people have looked at us and I think they look at us as a group and go, “Hey, listen, if these guys can do it, then why not us? Let’s move out to California together and give it a run.”

OSMENT: As the only person up here who wasn’t a participant in the original series, it was amazing to see and to understand a little bit more once I got on the set how influential it had been with people who weren’t working in Hollywood, just friends of mine who were working in tech companies and everything. The whole attitude and this feeling of “Entourage” was so influential in how people who were trying to achieve their dreams behaved and spoke to one another. That was kind of cool to come and be a part of it after seeing that be such a big influence in other places that weren’t Hollywood.

Q: Obviously, you guys stopped filming the show a couple years ago. How far into making the movie did you feel like you shook the dust off and you were back in it?

CONNOLLY: Pretty quick.

DILLON: One take. I felt like after the first take, the second one was better. We started with the walk and talk, which is one of the toughest things we have to do. We’re walking down the steps into the yard. It was probably about 2-1/2 to 3 pages of dialogue. It’s one take. There’s no cut in there. So Doug started us out tough and we rose to it.

CONNOLLY: It didn’t take very long.

ELLIN: It’s great though. That is somewhere we have evolved from, because the first year, I’d tell Kevin he’d be doing 3 pages of dialogue with no cuts, no talking. He’d have to pick up this, he’d have to go here, and he hated it. Now he’s grown to like it because he knows he can get home to his kids earlier if he does it sooner.

DILLON: But I was also afraid, because you’re not getting the close-up. I kind of wanted the close-ups because I thought you’re going to lose maybe the joke there somewhere if you don’t see the facial expressions.

ELLIN: I swear it sounds ridiculous but if everyone didn’t remind me that it’s been 3 years, whatever it is, the day we got there it was like nothing had changed. It was the exact same thing. I don’t really go back and look at the show very often. Until I actually went to look at Season 1, I was like, “We haven’t really aged at all, have we?” Then you look and in Season 1, Jerry looks like 12 and you see that there is a difference. But immediately, it was the same kind of chemistry that we always had.

CONNOLLY: Also too, we started to shoot the movie a year and a half ago so it’s 4 years, but for us it was 3 years. Before that, it was table readings and getting ready. So, really for us, it wasn’t much more than an extended hiatus between seasons of the show. There was no real getting to know each other again.

FERRERA: It wasn’t like we’d gone 4 years without seeing each other.

CONNOLLY: Jerry and I played 8 Fantasy Football games so we definitely see each other.

FERRERA: He calls me out publicly on Twitter.

Q: I would guess that you guys set the Guinness record for the number of cameos in a feature film. How does the process work? Did you make a wish list and send it out? How did it happen?

ELLIN: The process works in such amazing ways, everything from Kevin Connolly’s friends with the Los Angeles Kings who says they want to come down and I figure out some way to get them in to literally I get a call on the set that Clay Matthews is supposed to be at a wedding but he swears he’ll miss it if we put him in the movie. So I said, “Come on down.” With Mike Tyson, Jim Gray was on the set and said, “How is Mike Tyson not in the movie?” and I said, “Oh my God, I can’t believe it.” I called Mike and he was on set six hours later and we put him in. One of the things I used to get defensive about was when people would go, “Why are there so many cameos?” None of it is done for stunts or to get extra people to come in. It’s absolutely done in the most authentic way that it would be. Like when I went to screen the movie at Mark Wahlberg’s house, Mark called me up and said, “I want to see the movie” so I said, “I’ll bring it up to your house.” I get there and Kevin Durand answers the door. I’m like, “You didn’t really tell me that Kevin was going to watch the movie. It’s not totally done.” This one’s over here and this one’s over there. So everything is really done authentically to the life out here and certainly to the life of a movie star.

FERRERA: I don’t know if Doug ever got enough credit because it’s not easy when you say, “Well what can Mike Tyson do?” and he shows up in 6 hours and we didn’t know he was going to be there. What can we do with Mike Tyson that doesn’t just seem like “Well here’s Mike Tyson.” In some way, he’s always done it, and I don’t think he’s gotten the proper credit for just working these cameos in and it’s part of the story. It’s part of the world.

DILLON: Sometimes he’ll pan it off on the actor though. “Hey, Dillon. We’ve got Jon Favreau coming in. You guys got to figure something out.”

ELLIN: We have made stuff up on the spot. Again, it is crazy. You’ve got giant Rob Gronkowski waiting around to do his scene and Mike’s over here. I spoke to him on the phone and he didn’t tell me he was bringing his daughter. When Mike shows up, he brings his little daughter. And so, we try to figure all of that stuff out. But honestly, it’s like a party. Gronkowski, who I love, even though Jerry and I and Dillon and Haley are diehard Giant fans. I said, “Rob, do you mind waiting a little bit” and he said, “I’ll hang out all day.” At the end of the night, we’ve got Rob Gronkowski serving soup to the extras just because he was having a great time. And that’s kind of how it always is.

Q: What about Liam Neeson?

ELLIN: Liam Neeson is different because he was on one of those wish lists. How do we go get him? I called Jon Berg and Greg Silverman and said, “Is there any way we can get Liam Neeson in this movie?” It was kind of like when we tried to get U2 on the show. It was a joke, like, “Can someone go get U2?” and somehow we got them. So Jon called me and said, “Liam’s in.” Either his son loved the show or I don’t even know, but Liam came and again he was just great. These cameos come and they’re not doing it for money because we’re not really paying them. I mean, union rates obviously. Liam showed up and he had a great time. We’ve always had people that want to be there, so it’s a pleasure.

CHRIQUI: Like Thierry Henry, Doug. He’s like the most amazing soccer player in the world. He was going to do anything to be in the movie. I’m calling Doug and Doug is like, “I don’t know where I’m going to put him. Would he mind walking his dog passing Ari in the park?”

ELLIN: That’s how I got a little extra money. I cast my German Shepherd so I get a little extra cash. It’s a very funny scene. When you see the scene, it’s exactly how life would be in Beverly Hills. It’s Ari coming out of his house and there’s Thierry Henry walking out of his house. There’s nothing fake about it and nothing weird. I tell everybody I once had pneumonia about 6 years ago and there was a knock on my door and they kept knocking and knocking. I’m thinking, “What’s going on here?” and I go to open up my door. I look like I’m dead and no one else is in my house and I open my door and Kurt Russell is at my door. I’m like, “Hey, how you doing?” He was looking for Lawrence Kasdan’s house who lived down the block from me, but I’m standing there and there’s Kurt Russell standing on my doorstep. These things really do happen.

FERRARA: What’s funny is when the show first started in the first season, in the pilot, it was near impossible to get anybody to do it.

ELLIN: Couldn’t get Wahlberg!

FERRARA: We were literally sitting around going, “Who do we know? Who can we call? Who will do this?” People are afraid of what they don’t know. At that point, nobody knew what the show was so people were a little confused. I believe our first visit was Ali Larter.

ELLIN: Adrian saved the day because we had another actor who will remain nameless literally didn’t show up for the pilot because they didn’t realize they were playing themselves even though the script said their name all over it. As I remember, we were standing on set. We didn’t know what to do.

FERRARA: We were without an actress and Ali Larter was the first one to step in and do it. We have to give her a shout out as the first person to do it.

DILLON: And then, Val Kilmer was probably our first big one.

FERRARA: But that wasn’t really a cameo because he was playing in that episode.

ELLIN: Well Mark was in the pilot. So it was Mark Wahlberg.

FERRARA: Once a show goes to series, it’s a different thing, but to get a cameo in a pilot is a tricky thing.

Q: What was it like to be back on set with Jeremy Piven and acting with him as Ari after he did “Mr. Selfridge”?

ELLIN: It was weird because he had this British accent the whole time. Jeremy is just great. He brought his A game and brought what he learned in England the last three years. Again, I’ve always believed that we have the best cast on TV, and I think this cast is as good as anybody, and all of them are so immersed in their roles that they feel exactly like the guys.

CONNOLLY: I think Jeremy still would probably have been as good without his “Mr. Selfridge” experience, and there’s nothing against that, but Jeremy is just great. He’s going to be great no matter what he’s doing.

ELLIN: He won three Emmys for this.

FERRARA: He won three Emmys so I don’t think “Mr. Selfridge” gave him any new acting tics.

Q: Jerry, what was it like getting in the ring with Ronda Rousey and did she take it easy on you?

FERRARA: First of all, a few things on that. It was very humbling. It’s this very weird thing. I know even a lot of my friends will walk around and they just think if they got in the ring with her because maybe she’s a woman that they could handle her. I would like to say that is incorrect. She would dispose of all my friends and me and probably everyone up at this panel very quickly. She’s a professional fighter. She’s great at what she does. It was just a treat for me to get in the octagon with an athlete who’s at the top of their game in their prime. I just don’t know of anyone else who’s gotten to do that who’s not a fighter. It was very cool for me and she definitely took it easy. I don’t know if I’m giving away too much but there is stuff in the trailer. There is a part where she has to flip me and she did advise that I let the stuntman do it because she’s broken ribs before. I wanted to do all my own stuff but I said, “You’re the pro here. I’m going to listen to you.” But yeah, she’s just amazing. She’s brilliant at what she does.

ELLIN: It’s an amazing thing to watch since I think Jerry and I actually came up with this storyline before. Ronda is enormous now and things were great for her 18 months ago or 20 months ago, but she really wasn’t even close to being known as she is now. So, when we came up with this idea, we had to sell it to Warner Bros. And now, to watch her grow, I think she’s had 3 fights since the movie. She was great. But we all at some point had those conversations about “How long would you last?” It’s crazy but once you’re really there at the ring and Mark was on the set that day, nobody wants to mess with her.

FERRARA: She does it every single day of her life. That’s the easiest way to describe it. She wakes up every day and she fights.

ELLIN: She’s also obviously just gifted on a level that’s awesome.

FERRARA: I never thought for one second that I could last in the ring with her.

CONNOLLY: There were some discussions without mentioning any names. The room was kind of split, but I was always on the side of the room that knew I would get killed in fights.

Q: With all this cast of characters and cameos, was there a lot of improv involved?

CONNOLLY: Adrian doesn’t improv.

GRENIER: Doug kills it in the script and it’s really a matter of us just trying to make it feel as natural as possible. In fact, he gets mad if we go off book sometimes because he’s taken such great care in making sure that our lines are the best. So, I’ve learned to stay in my place over the years.

ELLIN: There’s not a lot of improv. There never really has been. There are scenes that we do. My most favorite memory of improv is Larry David just didn’t want a script. He was like, “I don’t want a script.” So I had to call Kevin up the night before Season 1 or 2 and he’s like, “Say, there’s no sides for tomorrow.” I said, “I know. Larry just wants to do it,” and Kevin says, “What do you mean, do it? What are we going to do? What are we going to say?” So he was a real mess. Actually I think Kevin loved it when he did it.

DILLON: I loved it. I never wanted to see a script again. I don’t have to study the night before? This is great!

ELLIN: So, there’s very little improv.

Q: Ari always seems to be the one that would be improvising.

ELLIN: People think that but he’s really not. Again, I’ve written speeches for Jeremy that are ¾ of a page which are very rare in television shows and even in movies, especially comedies. It would be tricky for him to start plugging things in there. Again, there’s not a lot of improv from anybody. Usually, if there’s anything, all of them will call me up the night before and be like, “Can we try something different?” They’ll either come up with something or I will, but very little do we do on the set of let’s just see what happens.

Q: Haley, how do you see the concept of “Entourage”?

OSMENT: I was listening to Jerry’s podcast with Doug on it a couple months ago. I liked how he said there is this understanding in the show that because you like these characters so much you feel like everything is always going great for them. There are quite a lot of rises and falls for Vince’s career that were really entertaining throughout the show. The show is about friendship and that’s why they can’t help but be usually living together and around each other.

ELLIN: The premise of an entourage, the reason you see it with so many athletes and movie stars, which is why they really relate to this, is when someone makes it like a Vincent Chase makes it, the bottom feeders just come out. They just reach for him and they try to take everything for him. I think especially for men or women who have come from humble beginnings, they want to surround themselves with the people that were there for them when they had nothing because they know they can count on them and they know they can trust them. That’s I think why it resonates in that community and why when you talk to guys, certainly at least around this country, they go, “That’s my crew. This is who I would bring out with me.” When I met LeBron James, Kevin and I actually went to dinner with him when he did the show 7 years ago, and he said, “This is my E, this is my Drama, and this is my Turtle.” So it is about surrounding yourself with people you can trust.

FERRERA: Also, he was saying he never quite got how we do everything together. I think that’s also part of the wish fulfillment. Obviously, the bigger part of the wish fulfillment is the fame and fortune and cars, but I always think it would be so great if my friends from childhood in my 30’s were just around every single day to hang out with me when I wanted to hang out. For men and women, I think that’s a big wish fulfillment. You wish that life would allow you to just wake up every single day and be like, “Alright, where are my four friends that I grew up with? What do you guys want to do? Do you want to go get lunch?” I wish that could be the case. I think that’s also a big part of the wish fulfillment that Doug did such a good job, which was also so much fun to play, because ultimately I would trade places with that part of the show in a second.

CONNOLLY: But we’re also a team. We literally work together. I mean, I work for Vince. We’re one unit, so to spend that time together, we’re basically like a giant corporation with different positions.

DILLON: We actually have kind of separated a little bit more than we were. During the pilot, we all lived together. But now, Jerry’s got his own place.

FERRARA: That’s right. I moved out.

DILLON: We all have our own place but we still like to hang out together. We don’t have 9 to 5 jobs so it’s like what else are we going to do. It’s like, “Let’s go see. What are you guys up to? Maybe I’ll come join you.” I actually do that with my friends.

ELLIN: Also, it’s getting to say to these guys that you grew up with, you want to see this through their eyes. We’re going to go show the movie to the Seattle Seahawks in a couple of weeks. I just call up my friends from high school and say, “You want to come out?” because I know they will just appreciate how special something like that is. And it’s fun to see it through their eyes as well.

CONNOLLY: In the later seasons of the show, we actually spent less and less time together in the scenes and we had our own storylines. So it was really refreshing actually to go back to that in the movie. I missed it. I missed showing up and seeing these guys and then knowing that we were going to have this walk and talk because there’s such an ease to being able to act off of them. So it was nice when Doug announced that we were going back to an earlier vibe and try to get back to some of the group antics.

FERRARA: I may be mistaken, Doug. I’m not sure exactly how many months it was, but when we started Season 5 of the show, E and Drama haven’t seen Vince and Turtle for like 5 months, right?

ELLIN: Yeah, it’s the longest they’ve gone in their lives…

CONNOLLY: …without seeing each other. So there was some space there. The movie goes back to Seasons 1 and 2 where we’re together every second.

Q: Doug, for the legions of fans of the TV series, how important was it for you to make this a standalone film?

ELLIN: Hugely important. Hopefully, we’ve achieved that. A lot of thought went into imagining no one’s ever seen this movie and there are obviously some inside jokes that people will get if they know the show, but I think you can very quickly pick up. We did hopefully something interesting with Piers Morgan who does a piece on Vince and the guys that really sets us up. I think at the end of day you quickly get in that these are friends from childhood and they’re living this fantasy life and you go along for the ride.

Q: How much of these characters were originally based, if at all, on the guys in Mark Wahlberg’s life? What kind of input did they give and what did they think of it, and how much input did Mark have along the way?

ELLIN: Initially, it started out to be Mark. Let’s find who the next Mark Wahlberg is. When Adrian was cast, it went very different. They’re very different types of guys. They’re very different types of actors. So it went differently. Mark has a Johnny Drama who I would say is probably the closest in the group to the guys in our group. There is an E in Mark’s crew but really has almost nothing to do with this E except name. There was a Donkey in Mark’s crew that I didn’t even really know, but again name-wise. So quickly, it went away from that. It was important to me to make it New York because I don’t know anything about Boston and I can bring in the stuff from my friends and family. And also, Mark’s rise, he really never struggled. He probably wouldn’t agree with that but he’s kind of gone straight up, and we wouldn’t have had a show if Vince didn’t have his ups and downs. It’s funny, again on the Bad for Business podcast, we found out this guy had done an evaluation of Vince and thought he was completely broke. He really hasn’t done that great in his career.

CONNOLLY: He did a financial analysis of Vince’s career.

FERRARA: He found out he was no financial wizard.

ELLIN: We had to keep it as low as possible. Steve Levinson, who was my partner on it when we started, most of any of the stories through Mark were filtered through him. And Mark’s biggest contribution was to allow us to use what we wanted of his life and not use what we wanted of his life and come in anytime that we really needed a big favor. How did we get Martin Scorsese on the show? When Eli Manning decided not to show up, Mark called Tom Brady and got him to show up. And Mark has obviously been a great proponent to get the word out for us. But Steve Levinson, Mark and him are partners. It was really him and I who channeled that type of information and stuff and bring it into the story.

CONNOLLY: Also, to Mark’s credit, he lit the fire under Doug’s ass to get going on the movie because I think we all weren’t really sure if there was a market for it or an appetite for it. Mark was the one that was really instrumental in motivating Doug and finding people that wanted to make the movie. Mark has been real smart about when to get involved and when to let Doug do his thing and when he needed to come in and kind of be our closer. I don’t think without Mark we’d be doing this movie.

ELLIN: Definitely not. And then, the last thing about Mark and the group and how they really responded, it’s really funny because again there are pieces of them and not pieces of them so whatever. But when we first screened the pilot at Mark’s house, it was like 30 guys and I’m nervous and I have no idea. They’re a tougher group than our group, no offense. I remember when Adrian came on, one of Mark’s buddies at the time said, “Mark would kick the shit out of that guy!” We definitely went with a more vulnerable, more sensitive entourage than that.

“Entourage” opens in theaters on June 3rd.




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