Jeremy Piven talks to Kavita Daswani about Ari Gold, artificial intelligence and the weight of a well-placed “F” word.
IT’S BEEN SIX YEARS since Entourage went off the air, but Jeremy Piven still can’t quite shake off the association of uber-agent Ari Gold.
That series - despite its somewhat ill-conceived, feature-film follow-up in 2015 - became a pop-culture phenomenon, charting the travails of a movie star – Adrian Grenier’s Vincent Chase – and his flawed, fractious yet ultimately redeeming relationship with his hotshot agent, Gold. Piven was transcendent as the profligate, debauched agent with the penchant for the “F” word.
“It was so fun to play him,” Gold says at an event at the CBS Studios lot in Burbank, California. “I played a beautiful character who beautifully lived at a lower level and was very reactive and didn’t think before he spoke. Yet he was so fun to play because he was so emotional, and I did it like a commedia dell’arte (15th-century Italian stage comedy), and it was just a ball of madness.”
Today, while not necessarily wanting to distance himself from his Entourage days, Piven would rather talk about what he did after that – Mr Selfridge – which ended its four-season run last year. Or his recently premiered show, Wisdom of the Crowd, in which he plays a billionaire tech genius reeling from the death of his daughter.
Piven is seated on the sound stage where Wisdom was shot, where TV magic had turned the cavernous space into a meticulous modern office, its Silicon Valley setting implied by a backdrop of San Francisco in the windows behind him. He seems at ease and confident, happy to be working on a new show that has pedigree talent behind it – show runner Ted Humphrey served as a producer on The Good Wife – and on camera; Monica Potter of Parenthood plays his ex-wife and Richard T Jones from Judging Amy has a co-starring role.
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