Posted on Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 by Germain Lussier
A large red bow sits besides a space-age looking black Cadillac Ciel in the driveway of a Palos Verdes, CA beach house. Seating inside this elaborate and expensive gift are four friends, once again united by the powers that be. A camera hanging out of a large matte black Mercedes SUV is fixed on the wheel of the car, then slowly pulls back as the group speeds up the driveway. In our head, we might imagine Superhero by Jane’s Addiction playing. But on March 17, 2014, the 18th day out of 35 in the filming of Entourage, things are as quiet as a pin drop.
The four friends in the car are Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier), Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara). Four years have passed since the conclusion of the HBO show of the same name. Now creator Doug Ellin is finally bringing Entourage to the big screen. That in itself might be a feat, but being on set, the bigger feat is the atmosphere, which is incredibly loose, friendly and collaborative. This isn’t like any film set I’ve ever been on. It’s way more laid back, way more funny and very much in the familial spirit of a group of people – both in front of and behind the camera – coming back to a world they love.
Below, read about our Entourage movie set visit.
To recap, Entourage is about four friends from Queens who live the good life in Los Angeles. One of them, Vince, is a massive movie star. From 2004-2011, eight seasons of the show chronicled the ups and downs of these characters as they conquered Hollywood and lost control. It’s basically a male-driven fantasy complete with beautiful women, cars, scenery, and lots of awesome insider Hollywood movie stuff.
“We have such a well-oiled rapport after all these years that there’s a lot of fun and playfulness,” says Adrien Grenier, who plays the movie star Vincent Chase.
Not only is the cast back, but many of the crew that filmed eight seasons of the show have returned. “Even the crew. It’s the same crew. Everyone knows each other, knows the style, knows how to work together well. So we don’t have to try very hard to work the actual technical aspects, we just get to go on and play, which is what you would always want from an acting experience.”
That level of comfort is evident at every turn. From the crew joking about getting an apple box to prop up the 5’4” Ferrara in the Cadillac, to the director playing ping-pong, or laughing so hard at one of Dillon’s lines that the actors get distracted.
Now It’s a Movie
So how do you pick up the story of Entourage and please the fans of the show, but also bring in people who’ve never seen the series, and also make the story worthy of a movie? Well, for Doug Ellin, who wrote and directed the movie, that wasn’t even a big deal.
“There are a lot of stories with these guys,” Ellin said between takes. “I think what the show is really about is camaraderie and the chemistry between the guys. I think there’s a million stories we could have told. Hopefully this one will entertain.”
Four years have passed in real time, but the Entourage movie picks up about seven months after the show’s finale. The finale saw Vince and his friends flying to Paris as his agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven, who wasn’t on set this day) takes over a movie studio. For his first big movie, Gold has bet on Chase again, letting him star in and direct a $100 million movie called Hyde. It’s a modern retelling of the Jekyll and Hyde story set in a psychedelic, drug infused Los Angeles with Vince playing a Tony Stark-inspired chemist.
It’s a huge gamble not only for Ari, but for Vince, his manager Eric, and his brother Johnny, who has a large part in the movie. In fact, the person least worried is Turtle, the former driver of the group who made it huge in the Tequila business. Now, the beach house we’re at is supposedly owned by him.
‘There’s a lot at stake for the guys,” says Kevin Connolly. “Drama’s in the movie. The guys have a lot riding on this new movie and because it’s Ari’s first movie at the studio. The stakes are very high for all the characters.”
In addition to that, Eric is trying to figure out deals with his wife Sloane, Turtle is dealing with his wealth, and Drama, well, is being Drama. The trailer for the film shows significant storylines for a ton of the other supporting characters, too. “It’s basically an episode on steroids,” says Connolly.
The scene we saw filmed in March 2014 takes place after a major party thrown to premiere Hyde to friends. However, Vince gets cold feet, doesn’t screen the movie and instead gives Ari a DVD. At the party, one of the film’s producers, Travis (Haley Joel Osment), gets jealous of Vince’s ways with the ladies and creates problems. (Osment plays the son of an investor played by Billy Bob Thorton, who helps Ari fund Hyde.)
But on day 18, most of that party hadn’t yet been filmed. We saw the aftermath: beer bottles, general messiness, the whole nine yards. As he does, Drama is making an elaborate breakfast for his friends as they anxiously await Ari’s thoughts on the film that could end their lives. (The photo below is of the specific scene).
To film this scene, Ellin shot the action in a classic Entourage way that Kevin Dillon calls a “One-er.” “We do a lot of stuff where we walk and shoot three pages of dialogue and just do it all in one shot. Kind of like a play, everything’s live,” Dillon said. The acting vet says the biggest difference between shooting TV and this movie is now they have less to do. “We do maybe three and a half pages [for the movie] but when we did the TV series it was eight pages,” Dillon said. “So we have more time to get it right. “ He doesn’t know it at the time, but he in particular is going to need that time.