Reading the press coverage for Entourage, you could be forgiven for thinking the 5 men who star in the series-turned-movie were as wild as their characters.
On The Ellen DeGeneres Show, they were recently asked about everything from having sex in their trailers to hooking up with a friend’s mother. It’s as if it’s become part of the branding to perpetrate urban myths for the audience.
But Kevin Dillon, who plays ‘Johnny Drama,’ says the reality is much different.
“I guess people feel like we live the lives these Entourage guys live. But that’s really not the case,” he tells TV Tonight.
“I’m kind of a homebody. I go home after work, I don’t go out to nightclubs all that much. So it’s a totally different thing.
“But at times it (does) get like that. Right now I’m doing a lot of press for the movie, so they fly us around on private jets from state to state. So it feels a little Entourage, lately.
“Maybe Kevin Connolly and Adrian (Grenier) party a little bit more than the others!”
The film written and directed by creator Doug Ellin follows 8 seasons of the HBO series that centres around movie star Vince (Adrian Grenier) and his pals in Hollywood. Also starring Jerry Ferrara and Jeremy Piven, it was said to be inspired by the experiences of Mark Wahlberg (also its co-producer).
Dillon’s (pictured far right) character was Vince’s personal chef, trainer and bodyguard and a less-succesful actor. Reportedly based on Wahlberg’s cousin Johnny “Drama” Alves, there were also suggestions his own brother actor Matt Dillon may have served as inspiration.
Dillon has his own movie career prior to Entourage including Platoon, A Midnight Clear and The Doors. Most of his partying is behind him, he insists.
“I’m older than the other guys, I’ve been in the business longer. I made about 25 movies before Entourage so I was already kind of known and people recognise me. I had my days of partying. When I was doing The Doors I was an animal, absolutely out of control.”
Such was the success of Entourage across its 8 seasons that each new season attracted the red carpet treatment in the US. A feature film was almost inevitable.
“I always felt like we shot the show like a movie to begin with. We would have premieres for every season, in big, old theatres in New York and LA,” says Dillon.
“They’d show 2 or 3 episodes of each season and people would flip out. They’d say ‘You should make a movie!’ So we started hearing that early on, and then the Sex and the City movie came out and made a bunch of money. So we all went ‘Hmm. Maybe we could do this!’”
After nearly 4 years it was finally time to ‘get the band back together.’
“I was thinking ‘It’s about time!’ because I was really sick of answering the question, ‘When are you guys going to make a movie?’ Time passed and I was sort of wondering if it was going to happen,” he continues.
“So it was really a relief. Mark Wahlberg was really the one had a lot to do with getting it going. He’d say to Doug ‘Now’s the time if you’re going to do it. Don’t wait any longer on the script, you gotta write it.’”
But isn’t there also a risk in adapting a successful series to the big screen? Could it damage the brand if it flops?
“There is some risk. The show has a nice legacy to it and we didn’t want to make anything that would ruin that. There is some danger in that. If we didn’t make a good movie it would hurt the show,” he agrees.
“But I think we made a good movie so we’ll maybe enhance the show and get more viewers to go back and look at the 98 episodes we have sitting there waiting for them.
“The good thing is if you never saw the show you can still enjoy the movie.”
Entourage Was not without its share of criticism, frequently attracting comment for its testosterone-fuelled storylines, where decorative females appear to be cast for the pleasure of its male fan-base. Perhaps that makes it targetted movie fare for young males. The film also upkeeps its reputation for guest stars including Billy Bob Thornton, Haley Joel Osment, Martin Landau, Jessica Alba, Jon Favreau, Kelsey Grammer, Piers Morgan, Liam Neeson, Ed O’Neill, Mark Wahlberg and Pharrell Williams.
For the most part Dillon says performances stick to the script by Doug Ellin, but on the series there was the occasional improvisation.
“People feel like it’s improv but most of the stuff is scripted. If I want to make a change or add something I’ll call Doug the night before, and tell him.
“Larry David came on the show and said ‘I’ll come on but I don’t want to have to study lines,'” he recalls.
“So I did some scenes with him that we improvised and that was pretty cool.
“It’s a fun way of doing it because you keep what you like and discard what you don’t. After about 5 takes you figure it all out.”
Since being released last week Entourage last week, accompanied by the poster tag-line “The Ride Ain’t Over,” has grossed $17m. That puts it at some distance behind the first Sex and the City movie’s $57m on its first weekend.
But Dillon is pragmatic, comfortable that the film is a good yarn for those missing Vince, Johnny, Turtle, Eric & Ari.
“I don’t know if we can match those numbers or even worry about that, but I feel like we made a good movie. It’s out of our hands, so we’ll see what happens!”
Entourage (movie) is now screening in cinemas.
Entourage (series) is currently available on Presto.