Entourage Medellin

Chapter 4: Medellin

For the first time in his career, Vincent Chase let the world see him work on the set of Medellin, and there was plenty of drama. While on set, director Billy Walsh fired his director of photography. He wanted to change the ending. He fell in love with an extra. They even fought to get Steven Gaigan to fly in to re-write the ending of the film. Then, not only did he fly in, at the cost of $275,000, but when Gaigan was on the flight in, Walsh himself finally cracked the idea. It was the kind of waste which would later hurt Medellin.

Back in Los Angeles after the shoot, Chase and Murphy asked to see an early cut of the film. Walsh was reluctant but eventually agreed. After a first view, Chase loved the film but Murphy didn’t. Walsh wouldn’t accept this, refused to take Murphy’s notes and suggested they fire him. Knowing the film was in shambles, Murphy took a meeting with Harvey Weingard. Weingard was still sore after the Sundance debacle of the previous year but agreed to buy the film sight unseen for $25 million. Murphy saw this as a win because he believed the film stunk but, unfortunately, Walsh went behind his back and got the film accepted into the Cannes Film Festival. This put Murphy in the unfortunately position to, once again, have to tell Weinberg he was backing out of a deal just as the town got excited for the film thanks to a leaked trailer on YouTube.

Hot off the news of the trailer and the Cannes acceptance, it was time to get Chase his next film. He loved a mountain climbing script called Lost in the Clouds which had Curtis Hanson and Heath Ledger attached. This could have been a roadblock but those two left the project and Ari Gold decided he could sell Lost in the Clouds as the next film from Vincent Chase and Billy Walsh, the team behind Medellin and Queens Boulevard. Murphy was incredibly reluctant about working with Walsh for a third time, but when he found out it was the editor’s jealous girlfriend, and not Walsh, who leaked the Medellin trailer, they decided to bury the hatchet.

At this time, rumors swirled about Chase possibly working with Peter Jackson and there were talks, but it was more for Jackson’s ventures into video games than anything else. Nothing would come of it. The same can be said for Lost in the Clouds. Somehow, Gold got a young executive named Dana Gordon to commit to the project but when Walsh turned in his script, there was a huge problem. However, he turned the mountain climbing drama into a futuristic sci-fi film set on a farm called Silo. The executives, Gold, Murphy and Chase all freaked out at Walsh’s betrayal until they read the script. They all loved it, minus Murphy.

Murphy didn’t feel like Silo worked and even told his new client, Anna Faris, she should pass on it despite his best friend and #1 client Chase being attached. Pretty much that’s the last anyone heard of Silo because Chase and his crew hopped on a jet – Kanye West’s to be specific – to go to Cannes and sell Medellin.

At Cannes, Medellin was the talk of the festival. A Sheik, who almost helped finance the film before production, was about to start a distribution company and offered the boys $35 million to buy the movie without having seen it. Because the other company is unproven though, Gold used that $35 million leverage to get Dana Gordon to buy the film for $29.5 million. They were just about to agree until the Sheik went behind everyone’s back and purchased the film from the producer for $75 million.

That, however, wouldn’t stick. The world premiere of Medellin is widely considered one of the biggest failures in the history of the Cannes Film Festival. A “Hindenburg of a screening,” according to Roeper and Phillips. The boos could be heard all over France and the Sheik told everyone since they never signed any papers, he wouldn’t be buying the film. Harvey Weingard, however, was still interested. He bought it for $1.

“On Medellin, I think Chase learned don’t put your own money into movies,” said Doug Ellin. “It’s just not smart, but it doesn’t mean he won’t do it again.”

Entourage Smoke Jumpers

Chapter 5: Smoke Jumpers

After the disaster of Medellin, Chase disappeared to a Mexican beach for six months. No one wanted to make a movie with him. Everyone though his career as over, and maybe they were right. However, things begin to take a turn when B-Movie producer Carl Ertz offered Chase a role in a smart horror film called Danger Beach. Despite the terrible title, Murphy and Gold though this could be a great comeback movie for Chase. They flew to Mexico to try and convince him to do it, and Chase agreed. However, they’d all been played. Ertz was just using Chase as a pawn to get Emile Hirsch to take less money for the role. On the plus side, that betrayal lit a fire under Chase and he came back to Los Angeles, ready to make his way back to the top.

Upon Chase’s return, Gold explained to him that Hollywood’s current perception is he doesn’t give a crap. No one wanted to work with an actor who didn’t seem to care about their career and Chase said he was determined to change that. He began working hard, reading scripts and finally found one he liked. It was called Nine Brave Souls written by two unknown writers. The film told the story of heroic firefighters and Gold floated it out to the town. One person bit, Edward Norton, who loved it but wanted to up the budget to a studio film and call it Smoke Jumpers. The writers were totally on board. Plus, in order to get them the quote they want, ($500,000 each), Chase agreed to step back and take a supporting role in the film. All seemed well until Norton took the film to Warner Bros. who stilled hated chase because of Aquaman 2.

With even a supporting role in Smoke Jumpers now in question because of the studio, Chase was presented with a new option: $3 million to star in a Benji movie. In this moment, Chase had to make a decision that would basically again define his career. Take the money or do it for the art. Chase took his friends, as well as Eric Roberts and Gold, to Joshua Tree to do drugs and decide.”I don’t think Vince is a money guy,” Doug Ellin said. “I think he’s a guy who really wants to do good work.” Ellin was right. While at Joshua Tree, Chase had a vision – he has to do the supporting role in Smoke Jumpers no matter what.

As the details of Smoke Jumpers were still being worked out, Chase had an awkward, but fortuitous, meeting. Josh Weinstein – the agent that first gave Chase the script the Queens Boulevard – set up a meeting between Chase and Frank Darabont. Everyone was very excited about the meeting until they realized Weinstein pulled a fast one. Darabont didn’t want Chase for his new movie. His new movie was all cast and ready to go. He thought, maybe, Chase could start in a new TV show he was working on. Chase and Darabont parted ways amicably and Weinstein explained he thought Vince was done with movies. That was not the case.

It was around this time that Alan Gray, the head of Warner Bros., tragically died at the golf course and CEO John Ellis offered Ari Gold the job. He declined but instead positioned long term ally Dana Gordon in the role. Her first deed at studio head was casting Chase in Smoke Jumpers, and production began.

The first day on set of Smoke Jumpers was Chase’s first day on a set in over a year. He was very nervous, especially with a very difficult director named Verner Vollstedt (think Werner Herzog) at the helm. Things only got worse when the film’s star, Jason Patric, started stealing Chase’s lines. Chase and Murphy confronted Patric about it and Patric said Vollstedt specifically gave him the lines. The director then told Chase he thought Chase had some major problems as an actor. Later, after doing over 50 takes on a pivotal scene, the actor and director clashed. It was revealed the studio forced Vollstedt to cast Chase, he doesn’t like him, and was systematically cutting him from the movie. He fired Chase on the spot.

“Listen, it’s never good to be fired off of a movie,” Murphy told /Film. “If a big time director on a big time movie like that fires you off a movie, you’re in big trouble. You know, that was not a good moment in the career of Vinnie Chase.”

To attempt a last minute save, Gold flew to the Smoke Jumpers set on Jerry Bruckheimer’s helicopter. He clashed with Vollstedt and Vollstedt flew back to the studio to fight for his movie. Eventually the plug was pulled entirely. Smoke Jumpers was to be Vincent Chase’s big comeback, but he ended up setting it on flames.

Still considered damaged goods, Chase and his friends flew back to their home in Queens, New York. Chase’s mother revealed she heard Gus Van Sant was shooting a movie there and Joaquin Phoenix broke his arm on set. Apparently, the director was in need of an actor, and fast. Murphy got on the case, going so far as to wait in Van Sant’s office even after the director told him he didn’t want Chase in the movie. Van Sant explained he’d seen all Chase’s films and just didn’t think he’s good enough. Murphy begged and pleaded for the director to look at some of the dailies from Smoke Jumpers and, reluctantly, Van Sant agreed.

It was tense day in the Chase household waiting for Gun Van Sant to call Murphy but he finally did. The director loved the scenes, they really made him look at Chase in a new light, but he still didn’t think he was right for the movie. It had only been a few years since Murphy took over as Chase’s manager and so far almost nothing has worked. Chase fired Murphy.

Weeks passed and Ari Gold flew into New York to check on his star. He’s also had someone on the phone for him. It was Martin Scorsese. Van Sant showed Scorsese the Smoke Jumper dailies and the director wanted to know if Chase would like to play Nick Carroway in a modern, New York retelling of The Great Gatsby. Smoke Jumpers may have been a disaster, but the brief work on that finally ignited Chase’s comeback.

Continue Reading A History of Entourage: The Movies of Vincent Chase

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