Hollywood is still stealing Vincent Chase's career: An EW investigation
It’s been almost 10 years since Entourage signed off after eight seasons, countless cameos, hundreds of Jeremy Piven one-liners, and losing half of Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) — yet the show has never resonated more than now as Hollywood has decided to keep stealing Vincent Chase’s (Adrian Grenier) career.
The film and TV industry has more than proven its fondness for recycling existing IP (a gender-flipped She's All That remake with a Tik-Tok "star," really?). But they’ve taken it to another level with their step-by-step plan to bring to life the fictional projects of the biggest fictional movie star. I’ve long been onto this conspiracy, and while this crucial EW investigation was first conducted in 2017, this thievery needed to be readdressed after the internet-baiting news of Pete Davidson being cast as punk rock icon Joey Ramone, a role that once earmarked for Chase, who, like Ramone, was born in Queens.
From the moment we met Chase on the HBO comedy’s 2004 series premiere, it was clear that he was on the path to superstardom. Why? Because everyone, especially Ari Gold (Piven), told us so. Film legends, up-and-coming indie directors, and fellow A-listers all wanted a piece of Chase, who in a span of four years starred in the highest-grossing film of all time, an epic Cannes disaster, a Martin Scorsese adaptation, and an Enzo Ferrari biopic. Forget the McConaissance; this was the Chasevolution.
It was such an unbelievable run that Hollywood is doing its best to emulate it. Let’s examine the evidence.
Long before James Cameron was criticizing Wonder Woman, he was turning a different member of the Justice League into a box office superhero. Serving as the main arc of Entourage season 2 is Chase’s decision to star as Arthur Curry alongside his ex-girlfriend Mandy Moore in Cameron’s Aquaman. Fresh off filming the low-budget indie Queens Boulevard, the actor was initially resistant to the idea, but he’s right to ultimately come aboard the project, as Aquaman would topple Spider-Man‘s opening weekend box office record. Now, more than a decade later, the superhero, who’s often the butt of the joke, has successfully swam onto the real big screen: After making his full debut in 2017’s Justice League, Game of Thrones alum Jason Momoa channeled the character for Aquaman, director James Wan’s billion-dollar entry into the DC Extended Universe. And don't think we're not having Vinnie/Jake Gyllenhaal flashbacks when hearing some fans call for Amber Heard to be recast in the sequel.
Further proving that EW has been owning this beat, read our interview with Entourage creator Doug Ellin about everything Aquaman, both Chase's and Momoa's.
Riding high from the success of Aquaman, Chase looked to cash in his newfound star power for an ambitious passion project. And he was determined to make Medellin, even if it meant being recast in Aquaman 2, putting his own money into the production, and donning the worst fat-suit Hollywood has seen since Big Momma’s House. The Pablo Escobar biopic was a catastrophic failure that ended up going direct to DVD. In reality, the Colombian drug kingpin’s story has been told in many forms, but most recently in Netflix’s Golden Globe-nominated series Narcos. For many reasons, non-A-lister Wagner Moura proved to be a much better fit in the role — even though Medellin did introduce the world to future TV star Sofia Vergara.
Only the Brave
The failure of Medellin left Chase in need of a hit after he had spent the last few months living on a remote island with only Turtle and who knows how many beautiful models (rock bottom still manages to be glamorous on Entourage). It’s not easy — and it’s quite a fall from Aquaman — but Ari and E (Kevin Connolly) are able to land him a supporting role in the Jason Patric-led Smoke Jumpers, which tells the story of nine firefighters battling a mammoth forest fire in Oregon. This one was doomed from the start, considering a $100 million film was banking on the star power of Speed 2: Cruise Control‘s leading man. Bickering between Chase and the director led to production being halted and never completed. While Smoke Jumpers wouldn’t become a reality, Only the Brave did: the Josh Brolin and Miles Teller film chronicled an elite crew of firefighters battling a deadly Arizona wildfire. Sound familiar? Also, let’s not ignore the fact that Brolin and Patric share some resemblance. Oh, and don’t get me started on the Chase and Teller parallels because we’d be here all day (you know Vinnie would have been campaigning for the Teller spot in Top Gun: Maverick!).
The Great Gatsby
In a season 2 episode of Entourage, Chase said he wanted to model his career after Johnny Depp. Well, with Medellin and Smoke Jumpers, he’d done a good job of copying The Tourist and The Rum Diary-era Depp. Chase’s career was in a tailspin (thankfully not a Depp-like tailspin), but it was soon saved by a call from Martin Scorsese. The Goodfellas director was helming a modern-day take on The Great Gatsby and he wanted Chase to play Nick Carraway. Then, in 2013, Baz Luhrmann adapted F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel into his own film. And guess who he got for the title role? Leonardo DiCaprio, Scorsese’s go-to star. And guess who played Carraway? Tobey Maguire, the star of Spider-Man, which was surpassed at the box office by Chase’s Aquaman. Case closed. That one was almost too easy.
Gatsby served as a big comeback for Chase (or as I call it: the Chaseback), who went on to star as Enzo Ferrari in Frank Darabont’s Ferrari… because biopics of foreign entrepreneurs had worked out so well for him. Credit to Chase for doing what many other stars have been unable to: bring the Ferrari founder’s story to the screen. After Christian Bale dropped out — and coincidentally starred in Ford v Ferrari as neither Ford or Ferrari — Michael Mann has enlisted Hugh Jackman to portray Ferrari in the Heat director's long-gestating biopic.
It's unlikely that Russell Crowe’s Dr. Henry Jekyll is based on Chase’s futuristic DJ in Hyde — yes, the Golden Globe-nominated, sci-fi spin on Jekyll/Hyde that he directed in the Entourage movie — but, considering how The Mummy effectively killed the beat of the Dark Universe, maybe it should have been.
I Slept With Joey Ramone
If Pete Davidson's Joey Ramone biopic actually gets made, then he'll always have that over Chase. Late in the first half of season 3, our boy had gone from trying to manage the competing schedules of Medellin and Aquaman 2 to not having either project. So when E's long day with over the hill producer Bob Ryan (Martin Landau) resulted in the discovery of the Ramone script I Wanna Be Sedated, it was in fact something that Vinnie
might would be interested in. Unfortunately, Ari fumbled the bag, mistreating Bob, who then sold the promising vehicle to vengeful exec Alan, a.k.a. Vinnie's anti-No. 1 fan. Hopefully for Davidson's agent this new one ends up working out, because the loss of I Wanna Be Sedated led to Vinnie firing Ari. While not even hugging it out could salvage things, Ari eventually making Medellin happen did (yikes, is Ari maybe actually a bad agent?).
Prediction: The trend of borrowing from Entourage climaxes with Entourage being revived since the two things Hollywood loves most are revivals and Entourage story lines. What a true victory that would be.