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21st Jun 2015

JOE meets the cast of Entourage the movie – in cinemas June 19

Lia Nicholls

Entourage might begin and end with Piers Morgan, but try not to let that put you off.

Like the hit HBO series, which ran from 2004 to 2011, the film is packed with cameos, cars, women and plenty of in-jokes. 

Jeremy Piven plays Ari gold, a bolshy, highly-strung film agent who’s basically a flashier, perma-tanned American Basil Fawlty… and not by accident. 

“British comedy has always been a big thing for me,” says Entourage writer and director Doug Ellin. “Monty Python, John Cleese in Fawlty Towers fan, Benny Hill, I love all that.”

Were there many angry Basil episodes on set? 

“There always are,” says 47-year-old Ellin. “I always have a little Basil moment, and of course with Ari, I’m like ‘this is a Basil moment’. Jeremy does it well. It’s all acting though.”

It wouldn’t be Entourage without a list of high-profile cameos as long as your arm, and Mark Wahlberg, Pharrell Williams, Kelsey Grammar, Mike Tyson, Jessica Alba, Calvin Harris, Billy Bob Thornton, David Arquette and Emily Ratajkowski all feature.

Ratajkowski, who plays the muse, is one of the few women in the film who gets to keep her clothes on, but when I quizzed the cast about filming with one of the world’s hottest women, they didn’t give me the ‘phwoar’ I expected.

All I got was: “Emily? Yes, it was nice having her on set.”

The film has faced accusations of being misogynistic, however, with bikini-clad babes playing a central role. What does Ellin think of criticism?

“Guys will be guys and girls will be girls and I don’t think these guys are being disrespectful to anyone,” he says. “I think they are just being men who just speak how they speak. I don’t think that is a culture that was here and now no longer here, it doesn’t make sense to me.”

Living the high life in Hollywood, driving fast cars and sleeping with hot women may be a familiar premise, but that’s where Entourage has always delivered.

It’s four friends striving for the impossible – and getting it. It’s unrealistic excess of epic proportions – like Vince landing Ratajkowski as his girlfriend with a few lame chat-up lines – but this is supposed to be a dream world every guy supposedly aspires to.

“It is wishful film on comedy, of course it is unrealistic,” says Kevin Connolly, whose character Eric is described as ‘the moral compass of the group’ but sleeps with his girlfriend’s stepmum. “It is a TV show and it is entertainment, you push the boundaries.”

Adrian Grenier, who plays Vincent Chase, is the one who gets the sweetest deal. Failing at nothing, he directs his first movie resulting in a box office smash, drives a Ferrari and ends up with Ratajkowski. 

Grenier, 38, champions Entourage’s positive themes: “What keeps people coming back is the brotherhood and bonding,” he says.

Ellin adds: “It’s four guys from working class beginnings that get to live in this fantasy land and we get to experience that with them. And I think anyone who has a group of friends they grew up with knows what that is like and wish they could be successful.”

But do you need to have watched the series to enjoy the film?

“That is the most important thing we’ve tried to convey,” says Connolly. “That you do not have to have seen or know nothing about the show and in the first two minutes, you’ll know exactly what’s going on.”

Jerry Ferrara, who plays Turtle, a tequila franchise owner, (and JOE’s favourite character) says: “I think knowing the series helps a little bit.

“To me it’s all fun but these guys are all riding it out before they turn into pumpkins. And they will at some point.”

Entourage is in cinemas from Friday, June 19