The fictional 'Entourage' projects are coincidentally (or not) becoming a reality
It’s been six 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 steal Vincent Chase’s (Adrian Grenier) career.
The film and TV industry has more than proven its fondness for recycling existing IP (a Flatliners reboot, really?). But they’ve taken it to another level with their recent step-by-step plan to bring to life the fictional projects of the biggest fictional movie star (I’ve long been onto this conspiracy).
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, is swimming onto the real big screen: After making his full debut in November’s Justice League, Game of Thrones alum Jason Momoa is channeling the character for Aquaman, director James Wan’s entry into the DC Extended Universe.
Riding high from the success of Aquaman, Chase looked to cash in his newfound star power for an ambitious passion project. Chase 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 (even rock bottom is 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 upcoming Josh Brolin and Miles Teller film chronicles 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.
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, 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, Michael Mann has enlisted Hugh Jackman to portray Ferrari in his long-gestating biopic.
Admittedly, I (and many others) haven’t seen The Mummy, so I can’t confirm or deny 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.
Prediction: The trend to borrow from Entourage continues when the fictional Chase is somehow named the director of Star Wars: Episode IX.