Interview with Actor Jeremy Piven

The final season of Entourage is about to roll onto your TV screen. Ready to hug it out with Ari one last time, bitches?

The final season of Entourage is about to roll onto your TV screen. Ready to hug it out with Ari one last time, bitches?

So we’re heading into the last season of Entourage. How do you feel about it all being over?

This year I’m getting into stuff with my character that I haven’t explored yet. We are con­tinuing with the theme of the wife who has had enough of him. It’s breaking him up, because his family means everything to him. I definitely feel like there is more to do. We are positioned well for a movie.

People seem to think that you and Ari are one and the same. Is that annoying?

If people equate me with my character, I would take it as a compliment, because maybe what I’m doing seems real. Yet the reality is that I’m a stage actor from the Midwest—probably the opposite of a shark agent. It’s always fun when people meet me and

go, “Wait, where’s Ari?” and they’re confused.

Speaking of the public’s perception of you, how weird was it when you dropped out of Speed-the-Plow due to mercury poisoning and then had talk show hosts joking about what you eat for dinner?

Thanks very much for bringing that up. You’re a mensch. Do you know what a mensch is?

Is it a good guy?

Yeah, you’re a good guy.

Are you being sarcastic?

Well, it’ll hit you later. It’s a little odd. I’m a theater actor. To get to work with David Mamet, who is one of my heroes, and open a play and have it get great reviews and sell out, and then I’m not able to finish the run because I was ill—and I was genuinely sick. So to go through all that and then have people question something I have been doing my entire life…It’s one of those things where you know the truth and you have to live your life and continue to work and let it speak for itself.

Do you have a physical scar that tells a story?

Wow—what is this, the male Cosmo? You’re, like, otherworldly. You’re, fuck, you’re incredible. “Dear Diary…” I was in a play directed by my father, and I was doing a fight scene, and the choreography went haywire, and I flew backward over a chair and ripped my thumb all the way to my wrist and had to have surgery to sew up all the tendons in there. It’s a nice scar on my hand. My father passed away, and every time I look at my hand, I get to see my father and the stage, so it’s pretty cool.

Besides Entourage you’ve been in a shit-ton of movies we love. You were in Old School, a bona fide classic.

That was a blast. It was a tough one because my father was in the hospital passing away as I was shooting a big comedy. But what greater distraction could you have than comedic geniuses like Todd Phillips and the great Will Ferrell?

What do you like to do when you’re not on the set?

Sitting in my lap right now is the script. I’ll just sit there and stare at it. And people probably think I’m insane because I do walk in circles mumbling to myself, running lines. I don’t know what I look like. Probably like Rain Man.

So you’re not the type with an Xbox hookup in your trailer?

I’m not a video game guy. I would rather throw around a football. It’s probably because I don’t trust myself. I don’t want to be that guy stuck behind a joystick until a million o’clock every night.

What do you do for fun?

I like to box. It’s a great release.

You have a place in Malibu near Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson. What’s up with that place that makes people crazy?

You know, I’m from Chicago. So the first time I went to Malibu, I felt like I was on another planet. There’s so much beauty there. It doesn’t make me crazy; it makes me feel the opposite, so I don’t know what to tell you.

Ever get in a street fight on the mean streets of Chicago?

I remember going to a Public Enemy concert, and the cops were outside, poised and waiting for a riot—and there was no riot. It was a peaceful gathering, but the cops started pushing people around, and one thing led to another, and billy clubs came out. I didn’t get cracked in the head or anything; I probably fled like a jackrabbit.

Would you suggest that to someone in the same situation? To run like hell?

You’ll never beat a billy club.

You’ve got a bunch of movies coming out this year: the drama I Melt With You, Spy Kids 4, and So Undercover, with Miley Cyrus. That’s quite a mix!

It’s like a festival of “one of these things is unlike the others.” I starred opposite Miley Cyrus. I mean, talk about entering into things you would never have thought you’d be in. I’m just trying to really impress my nieces. They think I work for the bus company, because they saw me on a bus one time.

Are they Miley Cyrus fans?

I told Pearl, who is six, that at the wrap party I played some music with Miley, and without missing a beat, she told me, “Miley is a much better singer than you are drummer.”

You’re Adam McKay’s brother-in-law, so is that Pearl of “The Landlord” fame?

Yeah, she did her thing at two and a half and retired. She’s taking a victory lap at this point, her and Michael Jordan.

Where are you right now?

I’m sitting in a cafe getting some brown rice. I’m really fucking boring. If you were to take a look at my life, you’d say, “Are you kidding me? You’re ridiculous.”

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