Adrian Grenier wants the record to show his TV alter ego, Vincent Chase would have made a better Aquaman than brawn-buster, Jason Momoa.
As fans of cult classic, Entourage – the almost mockumentary comedy on a Hollywood superstar and his crew – Grenier’s Chase was always meant to be the one to star in the DC Comics movie, or so the script said, when the series first aired back in 2004.
But when it came time for real studio bosses to cast the underwater warrior, the role would go to Momoa, an awesome-looking, long-haired lothario with pecs for days.
In a Zoom call with The BINGE Guide, Grenier has his tongue firmly in his cheek when he says: “well, you know, I’m definitely a more graceful swimmer. But hey, however they wanted to [cast] it, that’s fine,” he laughs.
Egged on to get lippy with his movie rival, Grenier is good-humoured enough to add: “I’m down to getting into that fight. But, you know, what I do like about Jason is that he is also doing a lot of ocean work, environmental work, off camera, which I am as well. And,” the actor and activist says, “in real conservation work, there is no competition. We have to all work together.”
That’s the cool, calm and collected way about Grenier, who has used his long-running fame from eight seasons on Entourage as a positive platform for his eco passions.
His enthusiasm for the issues surrounding climate change and conservation has seen him launch Lonely Whale, an ocean care organisation; as well as attempt to develop an app which would help consumers check the green credentials of various products.
It mirrors his most famous TV character, who cruised through life with a peaceable attitude and an instinct for doing the right thing by those around him.
For Grenier, his focus on goodwill work sustains him as much as his acting does.
“I’ve been doing environmental work for about 20 years at this point and in different ways. And the one thing that I can says is I always find renewed enthusiasm and excitement for the work and always finding new ways to approach how I show up and how I can better serve the environment,” he explains.
The 44-year-old has found much to do and kindred spirits on that front during his many trips to Australia, for business and pleasure.
Right now, he’s filming a Netflix drama, Clickbait in Melbourne, but has, in previous years, made regular visits to Sydney and Queensland when he was dating former Home & Away starlet Isabel Lucas.
His face erupts with a big-lipped smile and his green eyes sparkle when he says: “I kind of like it here,” and “everything’s going great, besides a global pandemic.”
His fan base from Entourage – enjoying a spike in streaming during lockdown around the world – has grown stronger as the years pass since the series wrapped.
Asked if he’d noted the renewed interest in his social media exchanges, he remarks: “have they ever stopped is my question. I feel like Entourage is that age-old, timeless, just classic cult show that will always be part of the collective conscience.”
Its legacy makes Grenier proud, even if he’ll always be Vinnie Chase and only Vinnie Chase to millions of viewers.
“How many people can say they played the iconic character on an era-defining show? So, yes, I mean, as far as life experience goes, that’s way up there.”
While he struggled to find offers of work that was just Chase 2.0, he is philosophical.
“I think that would to assume that somehow you can control any of it really. I’m alot like Vince in that I have a healthy amount of zen to my personality. I could easily just have never done anything like this. So I’m really happy with the opportunities I’ve been given.”
One of the show’s unexpected impacts was to be early in blowing the whistle on some of the pretty poor behaviour in Hollywood, which writers drew from the real-life experiences of producer, Mark Wahlberg and others.
It pre-dated #MeToo but helped start the conversation about what passed as acceptable celebrity culture.
Grenier says: “I do think that this show was a reflection of a culture. As any good art will do, it will reflect reality so that we have a chance as the audience to see ourselves and hopefully do something about it. As Hamlet said, ‘the play’s the thing.’ The question is, ‘are we going to see ourselves and double down? Or are we going to see ourselves and say, ‘hey, wait a minute, you know, maybe we want to rethink how we want to be?’
His co-star Jeremy Piven, who played his outrageous agent, Ari Gold, was accused of sexual abuse by an Entourage extra, among allegations by several women, but has long denied any wrongdoing.
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Piven would claim he was “collatoral damage in #MeToo” arguing people confused him with his badly behaved character.
Grenier reminds viewers while there was plenty of truth to their storytelling on Entourage, “at the same time, this is a fantasy world and it certainly does have its roots in a boyhood fantasy in that there’s no consequences. These characters don’t ever have to pay a price for their misbehaving. They get away with everything and Vince always gets the movie.”
He adds: “so I think you have to look at it for what it is … not necessarily high art, and it’s not necessarily designed to be a very serious show. It’s a cautionary tale, but escapism at its best.”
The bromance between the cast – which also included Kevin Dillon [playing Chase’s half-brother, Johnny], Kevin Connolly [as childhood friend, Eric], and Jerry Ferrara [as fan favourite, Turtle] – continues to this day, Grenier says.
“When you spend that much time with guys, they become your brothers. So it’s like family.”
That said, the show’s creator Doug Ellin got the band back together earlier this year for Victory the Podcast, a weekly podcast which takes listeners through an episode each week – sharing insider commentary and friendly banter between Ellin, Dillon and Connolly.
Asked if he would be making an appearance on season 2, Grenier quips: “I haven’t got my offer yet. I don’t think they can afford me.”
* Entourage, s1-8 streaming on BINGE.