You would think life in Hollywood could be a bit awkward when you're best known for playing one the biggest (fictional) movie stars in the world, but Adrian Grenier insists his "Entourage" character, Vincent Chase, hasn't cast a shadow over his own career. "I mean, I think it's a failure of imagination if you start to let your successes bog you down," Grenier says. "If I have to work harder to convince people that I'm more than the character or I have other things up my sleeve, then so be it."
In fact, Grenier made peace with his fictional alter ego a long time ago — for self-preservation means if nothing else. "We're sort of living vicariously through each other, comfortably sharing the same space," he says. "When people call me Vince, I answer. I don't try to correct people. Because I am Vince to many people. I mean, even blurring the lines as much as the fact that Vince was Aquaman and in real life I do a lot of ocean work. I am Aquaman in real life, in a way."
Of course, there really is an Aquaman coming — to be directed by "Furious 7" helmer James Wan, from the same studio that released "Entourage" — but that one will star Jason Momoa, not Vincent Chase. Or Adrian Grenier. And just in case you were wondering, Grenier made no effort at all to get a shot at the superhero role that was such a success for Vinny Chase. "I think that would've been too silly," he says. "I mean, if James Cameron was directing it I might be into it."
The "Entourage" film finds Vince a few years removed from the series' triumphant finale, a hugely successful and newly divorced movie star who now wants to direct his first feature — a plot point Grenier, a director himself, had a hand in crafting. "Vince wanting to direct was part of what I was pushing for. I wanted to step up the character and allow him to evolve into that next stage of his career," Grenier says. "But for the most part Doug [Ellin] borrows from a lot of our real lives and also from what's happening out there in the zeitgeist."
Of course, Grenier has earned a unique view of the entertainment industry thanks to eight seasons and a movie spent playing Vince, and he insists the show's depiction of Hollywood is not as exaggerated as some make it out to be. "It's pretty realistic. It reflects a truth, a reality in Hollywood, certainly, but also in a culture that puts fame and fortune and conspicuous consumption at the front," he says. "It's wish-fulfillment fantasy, but at the same time it has something that's special about friendship and loyalty. And really it gives all the tools and guidelines on how to survive that world."
That loyalty bit — Vince's lifelong pals that make up his entourage — is key, he explains. "I don't think it would be as popular of a show if it was only just the indulgence. That sounds like it would be a gossip show or something. This is so much more," Grenier says. "It's about the characters."
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick