BRASH, loud-mouthed and at times misogynistic: Entourage’s Ari Gold was a wrecking ball of Hollywood agent in a time before wokeness turned Tinseltown on its head.
Jeremy Piven, 56, won three Emmys and a Golden Globe for his portrayal as the fast-talking fixer and would relish bringing him back – but with a major twist.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, the actor says watching Ari adapt to the modern world would be comedy gold.
He says: “We’re definitely living in different times. What’s really fun and exciting about that is how would this group navigate those times? And I think that in itself is a great comedic premise.
“I think what would be really fun with him [Ari] would be to watch him try to tone it down. That exercise in itself to me is funny, just to think about. Because how long would he last? 11 seconds, 11 days, 11 months? We don’t know. As an actor I would love to play that.”
Over the course of seven seasons of the hit HBO show, workaholic Ari was responsible for guiding the career of A-list actor Vincent Chase – loosely based on a young Mark Wahlberg.
Clashes with rival agents, shady deals and career-threatening scandals were all par for the course as the duo navigated the murkier side of Hollywood to land megabucks deals and blockbuster roles.
But in a time when even super-shagger spy James Bond is ditching some of his more macho tendencies to showcase a more sensitive side, is there still a clamour for a group of alpha lads letting loose in the heart of America’s film industry?
If the reaction to Jeremy’s new podcast How You Livin J Piven is anything to go by then it’s a resounding yes.
He has been joined by show creator Doug Ellin and co-stars Rex Lee and Malcolm McDowell to relive hilarious anecdotes and unheard tales of their time on set, and it’s gone down a storm.
He says: “People are definitely missing the show.
“I think Doug is kind of the glue with everyone in the cast; he’s the creator. It all starts with Doug. It’s great to be back with everyone in the podcast form.
“We have a lot of content and options, and I think people gravitate to things that move them and entertain them, and if they’re not finding it, they’re going back to something different from the past.”
We’re definitely living in different times
Next Friday Jeremy will bring his stand-up comedy show to London’s Leicester Square Theatre.
Nothing will be off limits when he performs, with the star a believer that stand-up comedy is the last defence against a crackdown on freedom of speech.
He says: “I just explore things that are fascinating to me and that I want to share with people, whether it be an insight, a shared kind of experience or something from my life.
“I don’t think any subject is off the table if you can bring something new to it.
“And that’s what is so great about someone like Ricky Gervais or Dave Chappelle or Bill Burr. Guys like that, if they want to explore something they just kind of dive into it.
“Our country here was founded on freedom of speech, you know, I do believe that stand-up comedy is kind of the last lane where people are really still thriving in it, so we sincerely hope that’s not taken away.”
In fact Gervais, who so brilliantly eviscerated the Hollywood elite with a cutting monologue at last year’s Golden Globes, is a comedy hero for Jeremy.
He says: “Ricky Gervais is someone that is insanely inspiring to me because he’s known nothing else but doing it his way. He’s fearless and that just feels like a superpower to me. I was a fan of his starting from the UK Office and Extras and everything that he’s done since.
“Even guys like Billy Connolly and then going back to Monty Python. I’ve been lucky enough to become friends with John Cleese so I’ve been influenced by British comedy my whole life.”
Jeremy has plenty of material to draw upon from the four years he spent living in the UK while filming ITV hit Mr Selfridge.
The drama saw him portray suave department store founder Harry Selfridge as he built up his dream only to lose it all in a family coup.
The upbeat series ending was a departure from the grim reality of the real Mr Selfridge, with Harry making plans to travel with love interest Lady Mae rather than succumbing to a gambling addiction and losing his wealth.
But Jeremy revealed there is a treasure trove of unaired Mr Selfridge scenes that he would love to revisit.
He’s fearless and that just feels like a superpower to me
Jeremy Piven on Ricky Gervais
“We did four beautiful seasons of Mr Selfridge, and I’m really really proud of that show,” he says. “I was so lucky to work with those writers, directors, producers and that cast.
“We did try to explore as many aspects of Harry Selfridge’s life as possible, but there’s a lot more there. There’s some stuff we shot of him in his later life that we didn’t end up showing. It would be great to explore it again.”
Unlike many actors, Jeremy doesn’t have any hang ups when it comes to revisiting his major roles.
Whether it be Ari Gold or Mr Selfridge, he jokes that he’ll milk them for as long as he can.
“Another big difference between the Brits and the Americans,” he says. “The Brits continuously want to change it up and not get pigeon-holed. And they’re all about quality control, doing a finite amount of episodes and making it as good as possible.
“We want to run it into the ground.”