From 2004-2011, Entourage found success on HBO. The show was recognized by the Emmys, the Golden Globes, and the Peabody Awards. It also spawned a film and helped make its stars some of the most recognizable in the business. In the early days of the show, critics were pleased, fans were enamored, and HBO called it «the future of the network» (via The New York Times). But the years passed, certain cultural norms shifted dramatically, and think-piece writers started questioning the legitimacy of the show, including Merrill Barr of Forbes who posed the question: «Does HBO’s Entourage Have A Legacy 10 Years Later?»
It’s now been more than 15 years since the show started. The main actors, some who were once considered rising stars, haven’t been nearly as visible. Some have all but vanished from the spotlight. Why? Well, the show has received plenty of bad press and the cast has been embroiled in scandal and controversy, but those aren’t the only reasons they’ve fallen off the radar. This story involves a number of twists and turns, some voluntary and some forced upon them.
Here are the reasons why you don’t see much of the Entourage cast anymore.
Outside of acting, Adrian Grenier is a bit of a superstar. He co-founded Lonely Whale, an organization dedicated to improving ocean health through impact campaigns, industry collaborations, and educational programs. He championed the «Stop Sucking» campaign to eliminate single-use plastic straws. He was also named the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador in 2017. Oh, and he helped open an NYC bar and developed an artist-friendly record label in that time.
On camera, however, the actor has been less productive. Since the Entourage film in 2015, Grenier has appeared in a number of movies. In 2016, he starred in Trash Fire, a film that received middling reviews. The following year, he starred in another trash fire, this one called Arsenal. He also popped up in a few TV movies, including Hallmark films Love at First Glance and Christmas at Graceland.
But don’t Grenier out just yet. In late 2019, Deadline announced that the actor would be making a return to television for Netflix’s miniseries, Clickbait. In 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic led to production shutdowns and delays, which have put the miniseries’ release date into some murky waters, as of this writing. Could this triller be the vehicle to get Grenier and his seemingly flagging base of fans and critics to finally hug it out?
This Entourage star was accused of some very bad things
Jeremy Piven was the biggest star going in, and he was the biggest star leaving Entourage. That also means that he had the biggest collapse. In October 2017, model Ariane Bellamar accused him of groping her on the set of Entourage. Over the next few months, more allegations piled up. According to Buzzfeed News, eight women accused Piven of incredibly inappropriate behavior and conduct. Initially, Piven said the stories were fabricated. Soon after, he took a lie detector test and issued another statement. «As evidenced by the lie detector test I took and passed, I have never forced myself on anyone, nor have I ever exposed myself or restrained anyone against their will,» he wrote (via Variety). «To the contrary, if any woman ever said no, I stopped.»
Thanks to the Me Too movement, the allegations against Piven were taken seriously. CBS dropped his show already poorly-performing show, Wisdom of the Crowd, and there is a noticeable gap in his credits thereafter. Compare that to early 2016, when an article in The Sun highlighted first-hand stories of Piven being «creepy» and «relentless» in his pursuits of women, and it was business as usual. It does seem that Piven may be crawling his way out of the rubble. He’s been performing stand-up comedy and, as of this writing, has five film projects in the can for 2020.
Kevin Connolly’s fall from grace
Despite having one of the better acting resumes on the show, appearing in The Notebook and Unhappily Ever After, Kevin Connolly began to shift his interests to directing while still on Entourage. In 2007, he made his directorial debut with the film, The Gardener of Eden. He even directed two episodes of Entourage.
After the show ended, Connolly continued his work behind the camera and directed a few episodes of Snatch, the TV adaptation of the hit 2000 Guy Ritchie film. But Connolly’s career seemed to hit a roadblock when Gotti was released. According to the 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the many scathing reviews, Gotti was an unmitigated disaster, particularly for the up-and-coming director behind the lens. Then came likely the biggest blow, though the fallout has yet to truly hit, as of this writing.
In July 2020, costume designer Gracie Cox accused Connolly of assaulting her during the Gardener of Eden wrap party in 2005. Cox’s story was confirmed by her boss, Amy Westcott, who was there and allegedly confronted Connolly afterward. Connolly denied the allegations. A statement from Connolly’s lawyer to the Daily Beast read: «Kevin acknowledges the lack of professionalism on his part, but he adamantly denies that it was anything other than a mutual consensual encounter.» As for why Cox decided to go public with allegation after 15 years, she told the same outlet, «I want it to be known that he is dangerous, and I want him to not get away with it any longer.
Was Turtle the only breakout star of Entourage?
Jerry Ferrara might have come into Entourage as the inexperienced one, but he’s probably had the most successful post-Entourage career out of the whole cast. He certainly landed some of the biggest roles of the bunch, including a big part in Clint Eastwood’s Sully and a recurring role in Power. The latter part would continue for years and see Ferrara grow into one of the more beloved characters on the show.
On screen, Ferrara doesn’t have much on the horizon, as of this writing, aside from a co-starring spot in Dating in New York and participating in the 2020 Alienware Games competition. Off screen, the actor probably has his hands full as the proud father of a baby boy. Ferrara and his wife welcomed their son in May 2019, so it’s possible that he’s leaving his schedule open so that he can dedicate more time to be with his family. When he appeared at the Season 6 premiere of Power, he told People that leaving the little one to attend the event was a challenge. «Bringing it up though, I instantly miss him,» he said, adding, «Fatherhood’s the greatest role I’ll ever have.»
No more drama for Johnny
Kevin Dillon came into Entourage with plenty of cachet. He is, after all, Matt Dillon’s younger brother. The veteran actor would also make his own mark in the industry, known for playing memorable roles in Platoon, The Doors, and The Blob. According to Jerry Ferrara, it seemed that the Entourage creators had only one actor in mind for Dillon’s part on the show.
«You see everybody who’s reading for which role — there was only one Johnny Drama,» he told Complex. «Kevin Dillon was the only person. It’s almost like they were trying to lock the network in. ‘We’re not even going to give you another option, that’s how much we love Kevin Dillon as Johnny Drama.'» The pairing worked. Dillon went on to earn nominations for a Golden Globe and three Emmys.
Since Entourage ended, however, Dillon’s opportunities have dried up a little. TMZ reported that the actor was living off savings in 2017, incapable of paying for his daughter’s private school education. He had a starring role in the independent film, Dirt, and a small part in Blue Bloods but not much else. If it ever finds a release date, he will also appear in the continuously delayed Josh Duhamel film, Buddy Games. While you may not be able to see Dillon in much, but you can hear him on Victory The Podcast. The future of the podcast might be at risk, though, as it also features Entourage creator Doug Ellin and former co-star Kevin Connolly.
The bro culture at the core of Entourage got old
It’s hard to say what could have been for the Entourage cast if the show finished stronger. Would the actors have enjoyed more opportunities if the show didn’t fizzle? Because fizzle it did. Around the time the sixth season started, fans and critics had already lost interest. The «bro culture» that Entourage celebrated and glamorized had fallen out of favor and the cyclical nature of the show was mock-worthy. It’s possible even, that stars had fallen victim to their character portrayals.
According to The Washington Post, «The public starts to tire of the entitled bro archetype, which is what the Entourage guys had been before there was such a label, and now they were caught in the backlash.» Vulture also «renounce[d]» the show and few reviews came out positive. «The critics, all of a sudden, seem to have turned on us and forgotten that we were actually critically acclaimed in the past,» series creator Doug Ellin told TV Guide. «Last season, we had our highest ratings ever, so I kind of ignore the critics.»
As for the cyclical nature of the show, Ellin felt that it was a symptom of the characters and setting. «It became difficult to raise stakes on Entourage,» he said, adding, «Because, at the end of the day, [Vince is] a rich, great-looking movie star.»
The Entourage movie got stuck in development hell
Rumors about an Entourage film began even before the show ended in 2010. The next year, executive producer Mark Wahlberg told People they were «working on [a movie] as we speak.» In late 2012, ex-HBO boss Michael Lombardo told the Television Critics Association (via Huffington Post) that Doug Ellin was «on page 65» of the script. According to Deadline, the movie finally got the green light in January 2013. By September of that year, however, Ellin tweeted that the film was «less and less likely every day.»
Soon after, Page Six revealed that there were contract issues with the main cast. «Jeremy finally signed his contract two weeks ago. His deal closed Aug. 29,» a source stated. «But there are other members of the cast, including Adrian Grenier and Jerry Ferrara, who are still holding out.» A month later, when TMZ asked Wahlberg when the film would start, he said, «As soon as them guys stop being so greedy.» In response, Grenier posted a statement to Instagram that read: «I will sign any deal that gives ALL the boys an opportunity to share in the upside of success EQUALLY.»
Eventually, the deals were signed and a filming start date in early 2014 was solidified. The film’s release wouldn’t be for another year, but that gave them time to overcome issues, like Channing Tatum backing out of a cameo, Kevin Connolly breaking his leg on set, and reshoots.
The film flopped
If there was any ever hope of an Entourage show spin off or film sequel, that died with the release of the first film. The early reviews were ugly. Variety suggested it should have been titled «Boobs and Famous People: The Movie,» and The Guardian called it «hatefully unfunny.» The film flopped fantastically, reportedly bringing in just over $10 million in its opening weekend — half of what the studio hoped for.
Aside from the gratuitous cameos and minimal female clothing, the major complaint from critics and fans was that the film added nothing new. It was a tired retread of an already-exhausted concept. To make matters worse, times had changed considerably since Entourage first broke onto the scene, according to the Reed Tucker of the New York Post. «Entourage had a wealth-centric worldview that seemed left over from the early 2000,» he wrote, adding «After the market crash of ’08 and the subsequent recession, obsessing over big-ticket items feels a little gross and dated.» If Entourage no longer fit the world in 2015, it’s chances of fitting in these days are virtually nonexistent, except maybe as satire.
The whole premise of Entourage aged like milk
The Me Too era has redefined plenty of films and TV shows. Look not further than Molly Ringwald’s piece in The New Yorker to see how even stars of cinema classics have re-examined their iconic work of the past. Entourage exists in a pre-Me Too Hollywood, and critics suggest it highlights so many of the reasons why the movement was so desperately needed. According to The Washington Post, «Entourage is an obscene portrait of white male entitlement, lifestyle porn for gross bros everywhere … because Hollywood is, for a certain class of men, precisely this sort of wonderland.»
For some, like John Semley of Salon, the only way to watch or re-watch Entourage is to «hate-watch» it. There is, however, a chance for viewers to learn something from the show. Zoe Cheng of the Daily Trojan suggests that the way that Entourage portrays women provides insight into how «Hollywood looks at women and the way Hollywood likes to look at itself.» She adds that women «exist only as sexual objects — and so the tools they are given by the show’s writers to wield power, in the rare cases that the women on Entourage are powerful, tend to be sexual in nature.» Cheng concludes that «it is paramount, amid today’s climate, for television and film to demonstrate that it is possible for a woman to gain success and wield her own authority … by portraying strong female characters who open that possibility to everyone else, in audience’s minds.»