Adrian Grenier was a little-known actor working his way through bit parts and small supporting roles in movies until he was cast, in 2003, as Queens-born actor Vincent Chase in the HBO series Entourage. The show revolves around Vincent and his three close friends – his manager Eric “E” Murphy (Kevin Connolly), his brother Johnny “Drama” (Kevin Dillon) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) – as they ride the roller coaster that is life in Hollywood, with Vincent trying to make a name for himself as not just a handsome star but a serious filmmaker, aided by E and his no-holds-barred agent Ari (Jeremy Piven).
A movie based on the series – which ended in 2011 – has been long-awaited by fans, and as Screen Rant visits the Warner Bros. Pictures lot – which is doubling as a set for the movie – in March 2014, we learn that Vincent is embarking on his most ambitious and risky venture yet: directing and starring in a $100 million movie based on the Jekyll & Hyde story, financed through the studio that Ari now runs since leaving behind the agency world. Will this be Vincent’s moment of triumph or final crash?
Grenier didn’t get into plot specific when we spoke with him during a break in filming, but he did discuss coming back to the world of Entourage, getting into Vincent’s skin again, and “full frontal Johnny Drama.”
How does it feel to be surrounded by reporters?
It’s a little intimidating. I can’t explain. No comment (laughs).
What’s the movie that Vince is screening?
A ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ movie that Vince is directing. Quite an expensive and daunting undertaking but I think he’s up to the task, but I’m biased.
Is he starring in it to or is he just directing?
He is (starring in it) of course.
How does it feel to be back and playing this character and back with all the guys?
It’s a joy man. It’s a real treat to be able to come back and get the gang back together. It’s like a big family reunion not only with the entourage but also with the whole crew. Many of the same faces for the past eight years are back and it’s just a lot of fun.
What’s the weirdest aspect of being back with everybody?
I don’t know. Every day is another strange experience with these guys and it’s just a lot of fun. A lot of weird things happen but it’s all just good fun. These guys are making me laugh right before each take that I could barely hold it together before they said action.
Things ended kind of on a high note with the show, so where are we at the beginning of the movie?
Always climbing and always aspiring. That’s part of the joy of the show. We always managed to one up ourselves. We have to because the audience really demands a fantasy ride so everything has to be very heightened and we have to live vicariously through these guys who have the best lives in the world.
Speaking of the audience, how has the fan fervor been about this movie?
There is so much movement on social media right now. It’s buzzing. People are chomping at the bit and very excited and relieved that it’s finally getting done. We all are. We’re just going to stay the course until the premiere.
Did you have any doubts that the movie would happen once the series ended?
I’m a pretty optimistic guy to a fault maybe sometimes. I knew it was going to happen so I was just waiting for the dates.
Did the shooting of the film day-to-day feel different or the same as when you were shooting the series?
The spirit is the same. The faces are sort of the same. We’ve perfected the production over the years so it’s quite efficient. Everybody sort of knows what they need to do to accomplish a day or a scene, so it doesn’t feel different in that. What is slightly different and which is really exciting particularly is to watch Steve Fierberg step outside the limitations of the show. Because of the budgets and the time constraints, we couldn’t get a lot of extra shots. But now that we’re making the film we can take the time to expand and indulge the cinematic aspects of the show.
Do you still feel like you are learning more about Vince even after all these years?
You have to. The relationship between the guys just deepens and becomes more complex, but for me the focus is really about how do I bring the story arc of the film to life and really challenge Vince to have to overcome the obstacles. So that’s different and that’s new, but at the fundamental core of this show it’s about the bonding of the guys and of friendship and that will never change.
Is Vince heartbroken?
No. Vince, I don’t know how he does it, lives a charmed life and somehow the women in his life always leave happy. There is a mutual respect and understanding between Vince and Alice, so no. No broken hearts, just goodwill. It didn’t work out, see you next time.
Is this movie going to be PG-13 or is it going to be R? Are you shooting takes that could end up on an unrated edition?
I’m not part of the MPAA. I’m like everybody in modern times in that I’ve seen it all and it takes a lot to offend me. So I’d be surprised if this got a rating more than PG-13 although there certainly will be some language and nudity and some Johnny Drama full frontal. Actually you know what? It should be banned. We should ban this movie because nobody wants to see Johnny Drama’s anything nude.
Are you shooting anything that could be on an unrated cut or a little different than just the theatrical version?
There’s some risqué stuff here certainly. We were making an adult show movie (laughs). I mean its Entourage. It’s for people who can handle the topic. It’s not for the faint of heart. The one thing that I’ve always loved about the show is people who you never would think would love the show are the biggest fans, so I have grandmas coming up to me saying, “I love your show! It is so great! It’s the only time that I get to spend any quality time with my 12-year-old granddaughter.” And you’re just like, “Okay first of all there are so many layers of inappropriate that I fucking love it!” The show, despite all the language and the nudity and the sex and all of that, is about friendship and bonding and what really makes family community important.
How far along in time does the movie take place in? Does it take place a few years after the show?
(It takes place) moments, days after.
Can you tell us about some of the cameos we’ll be seeing?
Emily Ratajkowski is in the house, Russell Wilson was there, Mike Tyson dropped in and some of the old faces like Gary Busey and Bob Saget. It’s chock full of cameos. There must be at some point an extras reel of just cameos. There’s just so many. I think we set a record for most cameos in a film.
Entourage is in theaters June 3, 2015.