Who knows if Jeremy Piven will ever live down sushi-gate of 2008. He was, after all, found innocent of violating his contract for backing out of the theatrical production of “Speed the Plow” due to mercury poisoning. His name should be cleared. The actor’s confidence does not seem to have been diminished since that little chestnut of a public relations disaster, at least.
But Piven seems to be trying to round out his reputation, which might be unfairly confused with that of his smarmy character on “Entourage,” Ari Gold. His recent role choice — in “Angel’s Crest,” a drama that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday night — is decidedly against type. This dark, small-town tale centers on a young child’s death and his father’s possible conviction for neglect. Piven’s character, the district attorney, is a sad, introverted soul who mourns the loss of his own family while gathering evidence to prosecute.
“I loved playing a character that I’ve never played before, [one that] is actually closer to me than other stuff I’ve played, ironically,” Piven says. “I’m known for playing people that I can’t be in the same room with. But apparently, that’s me. It took a woman from the U.K. [director Gaby Dellal] to see how wonderfully sensitive I am.”
While over the course of our interview Piven repeatedly mentioned that he only earned about $11 for acting in this film, he was in full-on Hollywood heavyweight mode when offering advice to up-and-coming actors.
“We’re all hams and we want to have more to do. There’s nothing wrong with being a greedy actor,” he says. “I probably did 40 movies before I even started ‘Entourage,’ and every role I played like it was the lead in the movie, even though I only may’ve had one scene. That’s just how you do it.”
Follow Heidi Patalano on Twitter at @HeidiatMetro.