Behind the scenes of ''Entourage'' -- We talk to the stars of HBO's show about Las Vegas, broken arms and the new season
The Las Vegas sun is still in its teething hours. Bleary-eyed gamblers are picking over egg-and-pancake buffets. Luggage is zipped up sadly. But in the bowels of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, hedonism is on full display. Adrian Grenier bobs his head to a pulsating beat, cocktail in hand, while watching hot women — technical name: strippers — writhe on metallic poles. Suddenly, Grenier detects a disturbance in the force and wheels around. ”What are you writing down?” he snaps, pointing menacingly at this apparently unsubtle reporter. ”You don’t see nothin’!”
No image-obsessed star, of course, wants their debauchery chronicled in the pages of a national magazine. But Grenier’s seemingly harsh outburst is about as real as these strippers’ assets. Here in this swanky den of iniquity, the actor is preparing to shoot a key scene for a very special episode of the HBO comedy series Entourage, in which his alter ego, It Boy actor Vincent Chase, and his airtight group of friends/ hangers-on have come to Sin City to throw down thousand-dollar bets, judge an exotic-dancer contest, and consume copious amounts of Cristal. Also, to swear a lot. (”I’ve never said f— so much in my life,” quips Jeremy Piven, who plays Vince’s a-hole agent, Ari. ”I feel like a David Mamet play on the road.”)
A better description for this morning’s action might be a rumble out of West Side Story — minus the jazz hands. The scene calls for Vince’s crew to have a run-in with Seth Green’s posse (led by…guest star Seth Green). When the situation can’t be ”hugged out” — Ari’s term for conflict resolution — fisticuffs ensue. But as the beautiful people scatter in panic on cue, Kevin Dillon (Vince’s deluded half brother, Johnny Drama) hurts his arm, which he broke on the job earlier this season (more on that injury in a moment). The room falls quiet while a medic applies ice. ”The show must go on,” Dillon bravely mutters, rubbing his arm and heading back into frame.
When filming resumes, insults and bodies fly again. This time, everyone escapes unscathed. There’s relieved applause. Piven, who’s sitting out of harm’s way on the bar counter, triumphantly bellows: ”Can we take a victory lap?”
Take two if you’d like — we’ll keep the Cristal on ice. Entourage, which returns June 11 at 10 p.m. for its third season, has emerged as one of those deceptive pop-culture phenomena: a zeitgeist cult hit that can’t truly be measured by the size of its small but enamored audience (about 2 million viewers for each week’s first-run episode). Frat boys and bankers crowd around their flat-screens to watch it on Sundays. SportsCenter anchors reference it in home run calls. And the biggest coup? Babes like Jessica Alba and Mandy Moore line up for guest spots. If this isn’t Sex and the City for dudes, it’s at least Lifestyles of the Young, Hot, Rich, and Famous. ”Sometimes there’s a moment for a show,” says HBO Entertainment president Carolyn Strauss, ”and this is Entourage‘s moment.”