HBO’s “Entourage” is in its 8th and final season, and coincidentally, the TCA press tour in Los Angeles was their farewell party. In fact, Michael Lombardo, pres of HBO programming, confirmed it was the last time that the crew would appear together formally, for the purposes of promoting the show. Ever. No tears were shed, despite the assertion from lead actor Adrian Grenier that they are “all choked up.” “We’ve been together for 8 years, creating something that we’re all very, very proud of. It’s not only sad to say goodbye to each other but also what we’ve created.” Jerry Ferrara (who plays the character of Turtle on the series) vacillates between excitement and nostalgia when he thinks of the end. “It changes daily, actually. Some days it’s the excitement of starting new things…You just wonder if it’s ever going to be like that again.” Kevin Connolly (Eric, Vince’s manager) agrees: “It’s still bittersweet. It’s been a Hell of a run… I don’t want to start crying.”
To the tough TCA crowd (“I feel like we were just arrested,” said creator/producer Doug Ellin when he first took the stage), the cast revealed a bit about the final season and their post-Entourage futures. Rather than story-based, said Ellin, the final episodes are more about creating a certain mood. “What was important to me more than any kind of story was…hopefully the audience goes, ‘we loved hanging with these guys, and we’ll miss them.’ It wasn’t about closing anything.”
The final episode in particular was quite a challenge to shoot, the cast agreed. “It was like the last day of high school,” said Grenier. “We had senioritis. And there were probably 1,000 set visits, with everyone and their mother coming to say goodbye.” Jeremy Piven, who plays Vince’s high-powered agent Ari Gold, seconded that. Filming the last scene, after 8 years of working together, was like “trying to act in the middle of a riot. We were like a ride in Universal.” But Piven is pleased with how the final eps turned out. “This season feels like our best.” “There was probably more to tell, but it’s been a great run,” said Ellin. “It went much longer than anyone anticipated.” “HBO was the reason why the show lasted as long as it did,” said executive producer Mark Wahlberg.
It appears that the boy posse’s adventures will indeed live on, in cinematic form. On making “Entourage” the movie, Wahlberg remarked, “I said if I had to finance it myself I’d do it.” Prior to the panel, HBO ran a teaser clip of the final season that looked pretty darn similar to a trailer. “I was looking at that clip on the big screen, and it looks like a movie to me,” Wahlberg said. But that might just be HBO’s production value. “You have to take into consideration that anytime HBO cuts a promo reel together, it’s the f@#king greatest thing you’ve ever seen.” Ellin confirmed that he hopes a movie will be made, someday: “We’re going to do it, it’s a question of when and how quick.”
So what’s up next for the boys? Grenier joked, “I’m trying to package “Head On” over at New Line. I’m just going to start from the beginning and eventually work up to Aquaman.” (For the uninitiated, those are Vince’s actual career goals in the show.) Piven is currently busy impressing his nieces, who, after seeing his picture on a bus, now believe he works for the bus company. “I’m basically just trying to get some respect from my family,” he said. Wahlberg is involved in two projects: a film called “Contraband,” which is a remake of an Icelandic film, and Seth MacFarlane’s directorial debut, called “Ted,” about a boy whose teddy bear comes to life. “I played the guy opposite the teddy bear,” he said.
Interestingly, Wahlberg and Ellin claim they never got an accurate measurement of their ratings, since viewers tend to watch the eps in large groups. “Because of all these f@#king kids—excuse my language—that watch the show get together with like 30 or 40 people at a time,” Wahlberg said. Point taken. But a show about an entourage is unlikely to inspire solo viewings. Perhaps they’ll get a more accurate read on their fan base with the movie version, when 30 guys will have no choice but to buy 30 tickets.