Entourage: Season 8: Secrets and inspirations revealed
Story by Jack Foley
AS Entourage prepares to embark on its final season, the show’s senior writers Leslie Bruce and Lacey Rose have let slip some of the long-held secrets behind the show’s inspiration.
Speaking exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter, they’ve revealed such gems as who Vincent Chase is really based on, which stars turned down the opportunity to appear in the series, and why success wasn’t always guaranteed.
Oh, and plans for a movie version are well in the works, with producer Mark Wahlberg determined to “fight to the end to get the movie made”.
Here’s our favourite ‘reveals’ from Bruce and Rose.
1) Vincent Chase is named after Vince Vaughn: When Doug Ellin began writing the script nearly a decade ago, Vaughn was the person he had in mind. “It was done completely as an homage to him,” said Ellin.
2) Vincent’s other inspirations: Aside from Vince Vaughn, Vincent Chase also has touches of Tobey Maguire (in storyline), Leonardo DiCaprio (in personality) and Wahlberg (in lifestyle).
3) Jeremy Piven was always first choice for Ari Gold: Initially conceived as creator Doug Ellin’s former CAA agent, Jeff Jacobs, Ari Gold was only ever going to be played by Jeremy Piven… so much so that the real Avi [Emanuel, executive producer Mark Wahlberg’s agent] called HBO from a plane en route to China to ensure a deal could be arranged.
4) Piven thinks he’s sometimes Ari Gold: Unsurprisingly, given the cool, God-like status of Ari Gold [and his propensity for re-inventing the swearing dictionary], Piven sometimes blurs the line between reality and fiction. A story the actor recalls involves helping to land Kate Beckinsale in a film after he “picked up the phone and started going as if someone yelled, ‘Action’.” The deal was reached!
5) Dream cameos that never materialised: Ellin reveals that among the big names who turned down Entourage cameos were Russell Crowe and President Obama. Charlie Sheen had also been a target at one point but despite promising to call back and giving a vague assurance, the phone call never got returned.
6) The wrath of Harvey Weinstein: Harvey Weinstein reportedly didn’t like the ‘imitation’ of him that came in the form of foul-mouthed producer Harvey Weingard during season two. Connolly reveals that he got an earful from the producer at a party. Although he later called Ellin to say he’d enjoyed the episode.
7) HBO rejected the show initially: HBO reportedly hated the first pitch for Entourage, which initially started in a much darker place (eventually realised during later episodes). Similarly, stars Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly and Piven were reportedly not keen on being a part of it. But once the writers turned it into a more comic, wish-fulfilment kind of vehicle, the pieces started to fall into place.
8) Finding the right Vincent Chase: It wasn’t easy. After the Vaughn association never materialised, the emphasis was on finding an actor who could make you believe that “Vince is a movie star”. HBO even kept insisiting that the show’s focus should be less on Vince. But once Grenier came on board, the writing went more smoothly.
Entourage: Season 8 airs in the US from Sunday (July 24, 2011) and on Sky Atlantic on Monday (July 25, 2011) from 10.40pm.
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