'Entourage' Set Visit: The Boys Are Back, Flubbing Lines At The Beach House

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.

Everyone's Back

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.

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'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.

Party Aftermath

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).

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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.

Action, Drama!

The shot begins from the kitchen of this picturesque beach house with Turtle, Eric and Drama bringing some food outside for breakfast. The conversation starts about Travis leaving with some hot girl and Drama comments that rich guys always bat out of there league. "Like Turtle with Rhonda?" Eric asks. Mixed martial artists Ronda Rossey (recently seen in Furious 7) has a significant roe in the film and the party scene is where she and Turtle will connect. ("There will be fighting," Ferrara tells us after. "And there will be blood.") Drama says, "She's more likely to break his wind pipe than bang his malnourished ass." Or, at least, tries to say that.

Dillon struggles mightily with the line, and needs at least a dozen takes for the whole group to get everything right. The trio joke a bit more about the Ronda and Turtle before Vince wakes up and comes down for breakfast. He immediately asks Eric about Ari's reaction to the movie, but they haven't heard back yet. This is not a good sign. Drama tries to ease Vince's mind with "All your favorites, bro: Eggs Benedict, freshly baked croissants, a champaign infused sherry and freshly squeezed guava juice." It's Dillon's delivery of this line in particular that really cracks up Ellin. Vince isn't hungry though so Turtle says not to worry. The guys agree. Whether he likes the movie or not, "Fuck Ari." Just then the phone rings. It's Ari. "Do you think he heard us?" Drama asks. End of scene.

The Entourage Shooting Process

This is a long scene with lots of dialogue and besides Dillon's consistent struggle with the words "wind pipe " and "malnourished" the way the scene evolves is quite interesting. They start with a rehearsal, where a stedicam operator follows the three guys from the kitchen backwards out the door to the table. Two other cameras are filming too, which will be the master. After a really basic run through, the guys – including Ellin – decide to shoot the rehearsal. And it's bad. "That's as clumsy as it's gonna get," Ferrara exclaims as he walks back to the beginning of the shot. He and Ellin also try and figure out a funny way for Turtle to do a toast with the guava juice but, after one or two takes, it's abandoned.

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When Dillon blows a line, sometimes Ellin calls cut, other times they quickly run back to the beginning of the shot and keep shooting. Ellin is making Entourage on film so it exhibits a huge trust in his actors that the director sometimes let them pick up without yelling "Cut." (Dillon regularly, but not always, lets out a huge grunt before the scene, much like his character).

Dillon gets close, then fumbles his line, again and again. Connolly offers some advice of how to make the words work easier (by slowing them down) and even when it looks like they finally nail it, Ellin isn't satisfied. If this was the TV show, he might be fine with it, but this is Entourage the movie and they have more time. At one point, Ellin even calls cut right in the middle of the scene and Connolly and Ferrara yell at him. "That had that feeling," they say.

Good Vibes All Around

That feeling – the feeling of comfort, ease and playfulness – is everywhere on the Entourage set. Even after almost 15 total takes on this one small scene, the energy is still high. People are joking and laughing. Like fans, the people making Entourage are just glad Entourage is back. If the film is a success, it could come back again too. "It's funny, when the show ended, it was like, 'Well, you know, hopefully we do the movie, see you on the movie set.' And now it's like, 'Hope to see you for the sequel,' Connolly joked. Ellin, however, is a little more pessimistic ."I'm not even thinking about it," he said. "We have to make a good movie. HBO has a big audience, but the world is bigger so we'll see if there's an audience for it. I mean, we love working together, we love doing it, if the people want it, that'd be great but I'm really just focused on making this one good."

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Entourage opens June 3.

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