Posted on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 by Germain Lussier
When you’re as a big a fan of Entourage as I am, 20 minutes with the show’s creator isn’t enough time. I could spend weeks picking the brain of Doug Ellin, who wrote and directed the Entourage movie in addition to creating and running the show for eight seasons, but 20 minutes would have to do.
Some of our talk you’ve already seen in my comprehensive look back at the career of faux-movie star Vincent Chase, but below we have the rest of it. We talked about a huge number of topics such as the way fake movies in Entourage have now become reality, the timeline between the movie and the show, Sex and the City comparisons, the new opening credits, favorite episodes, best cameos and nods to the show, how the film changed during the screenwriting process, the legendary Aquaman Variety ad and even a super meta joke in the film he didn’t notice until I asked him about it.
If you like Entourage, I think you’ll really like this interview. I know I loved conducting it.
/Film: So Warner Bros. is making an Aquaman movie, they did The great Gatsby, there’s also a Ferrari movie in development and there are always Pablo Escobar movies in development. Are you vindicated or worried that Hollywood has caught up to Entourage with so many of these movies that you sort of created?
Doug Ellin: Not even vindicated, I just love it. The Aquaman thing is crazy to me. And I’m sure they’re gonna turn it into a good movie. And that’s why I’m not meant to make movies like that, ’cause it just sounded so ridiculous to me when we came up with it that. Everything was played into that only James Cameron can make this movie valuable. But I love it. I love that, I saw a quote that Ari Gold told him to do the Pablo Escobar movie, even though Oliver didn’t ultimately do it.
So I think it’s cool that we’ve had, you know, Peter Jackson. I get on the show and Peter’s like “Do you mind if I like shoot this here with my bluescreen guys and all this shit?” And like I’m like “Yes, please.” Like “Come direct all of them,” you know? “Direct the movie.” We’ve had some of the greatest filmmakers in the history of the business in this show and in this movie. Gus Van Sant, you know, is central. So to me, people go “Why do you wanna keep making this?” Because I get to hang around with the most interesting people on Earth. And the people I aspire to be.
Now The movie is coming out four years after we saw sort of the last episode. But the movie takes place like eight months later.
Was there ever a version of the script that took place more in real time? Or did you worry about that jump?
No. I didn’t worry about it. I just thought, like the show, we come up running and just go. I try to keep moving as fast as possible. And by the time people start to think about what it is or where it is, they’re already into the movie or they’re checked out, you know what I mean? I think people will be along for the ride and I don’t think they’ll be spending a lot of time thinking about what happened before, you know.
Since the movie was first conceived, because of the HBO connection, there have been a lot of comparisons to Sex and the City. And obviously the success of that movie was huge and that would be something to aspire to. But on a different level, did that movie or anything else inspire your transition from a TV show to a movie?
I didn’t think about that at all. Honestly I always thought the show was a movie. I always thought the show was a half hour movie. I made two independent movies in my life. I shot the show exactly the same way. I shot the movie like I shot the show. And, you know, we were a very cinematic show. A very ambitious show given the time and the budgets we had to shoot with. Shooting live at Cannes and Yankee Stadium and U2 concerts. So it was always one of the biggest shows on TV. And certainly for a half hour, I don’t think there was anything ever like it on television.
So every year we’d show it at a premiere at like a Ziegfeld Theater or something and people would go, “God, it looks like a movie.” And that was the goal, to get a chance to do that. And I think the movie, obviously it’s a comedy, but at the end of the day, I think it’s a very visual, good looking movie. I think Los Angeles looks incredible in it.
I mean, as a fan of the show, speaking of incredible, the opening credits sequence is so beautiful. And it’s so rewarding and nice to see the new version with the same song.
That was really one of the most stressful things about this entire movie. Because I love our credits for the show. But how do you make it more cinematic? How do you make it different, but not again, like you said, I don’t wanna get away from what the show is. ‘Cause I think that was kind of what happened with Sex and the City 2. They went in a different direction that I’m not sure the fans wanted. And again, you can only dream of us being as successful as them and getting to that second movie. But I think, you know, we had… I don’t like to call it a formula, but we had a world that people were interested in.
Absolutely. Now again, like I said, I literally re-watched the entire series both as a fan and research leading up to the movie. You definitely feel a difference between the first five, six seasons and that last two. And you took a little criticism for the fact it’s sort of a little darker. So when you wrote the movie what was the mandate in your head?
Go back to the early seasons.
To the fantasy, yeah.
Yeah, I mean, these guys were together all the time. And it used to be like ‘God, I can’t have another scene with these four guys together.’ Now after three years apart, I wanted them to be together. And I looked at my favorite episodes. I looked at my least favorite episodes. And I tried to put in all of the things that I loved about the show in and get rid of anything that I thought was less successful. So…