'Entourage' creator Doug Ellin suggests HBO's reluctancy, PC culture stunted show's legacy: 'I resent it'
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“Entourage” certainly made its mark during its eight-season run on HBO from 2004 to 2011, but creator Doug Ellin appears to hold a grudge against the network for giving into PC culture, which he accuses of stunting the show’s legacy.
“I resent it tremendously,” Ellin admitted in a wide-ranging interview about the Emmy-nominated series with Yahoo Entertainment.
The series, starring five male leads played by Adrian Grenier (Vincent Chase), Jeremy Piven (Ari Gold) Kevin Dillon (Drama), Kevin Connelly (Eric “E” Murphy) and Jerry Ferrara (Turtle), encapsulated the early 21st century Hollywood.
The creator cited the “wave of righteous PC culture” as a reason HBO hasn’t given the series the same opportunities as other past hit shows on the network, such as “The Sopranos” and the female-led romantic comedy-drama “The Sex and the City.” A “Sopranos” prequel film titled “The Many Saints of Newark” will be released later this year, while the “Sex and the City” revival series is also in the works.
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(Left to right) Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara pose as they arrive at the premiere of HBO’s final season of "Entourage" in New York July 19, 2011.
“Nobody says that about ‘The Sopranos,’ where they murder people, that maybe we should readdress whether murdering people on TV is OK,” he told the outlet. “I don’t want to sound obnoxious or that I’m looking at ‘Entourage’ as high art, but it was a pretty accurate portrayal of how people [acted] at that time in Hollywood,” Ellin continued.
He also disagrees with the notion that the show “was this vulgar boyfest that people like to paint it as now.”
“When we came out, the New York Times said we were the smartest show on television! If we did reboot the show, it’s not that I would make it any more PC, but I would write it to the best of my abilities to reflect the reality of the world right now.”
The 53-year-old screenwriter and director discussed HBO’s passing on a pilot he pitched featuring Michael Imperioli, Michael Rapaport and Ed Burns — a move he declared he’ll “never forgive them for.”
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“Whether they thought it was good or not, I earned my chance to have a second shot, and they put some other pretty crappy shows on [instead],” Ellin said.
In 2015, the highly anticipated “Entourage” movie sunk at the box office.
“Unfortunately, the movie didn’t work as well as some may have hoped, and you kind of move on. How much can you say about it?” he said.
Ellin and Connolly are now co-hosting “Victory the Podcast.” Each week, the director and actor dissect past episodes of the show. The most recent dropped on Thursday, April 28, and gives an inside look at the fan-favorite episode “One Day in the Valley.”
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Director Doug Ellin attends the "Entourage" New York Premiere at Paris Theater on May 27, 2015 in New York City.
(Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
“Getting back together with these guys has been so much fun and it’s brought [back] all of the memories of what a great time we had doing it,” Ellin reflected.
Ellin admits, however, that times have changed. When “Entourage” was on the air, he believes it gave viewers “an extremely realistic depiction of this town, but what the show was about was friendship and loyalty and family.”
He hopes that’s what the iconic series will be remembered for to viewers.
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“Those are the things that I hope people will take away from it long after the rest quiets down. I think there’s an overcorrection that happened, and hopefully we’ll get to a place where there’s equality for everybody, but there’s also room for people to create their art and not be judged so harshly.”
Ellin, noting that the way the show depicted women has been called into question, recalled the collaboration of its female stars including Carla Gugino, Perrey Reeves and Emmanuelle Chriqui.
“[They] have spoken about how much those characters helped them in their future careers, and how rare it was to see a woman who could stand up and look a man in the face 15 years ago and do the things that they were doing. I feel very proud of that,” Ellin said.
“The executives at HBO that I was dealing were female executives who were very proud of the show at the time, and read every script and gave me their thoughts. I love and respect women and love great female characters and always have, and did the best I could. At the same time, it was a 30-minute show with five male leads, so the fact that we were even able to find time to get in the women we did, I feel very proud of.”
Although it appears HBO has turned its eye to continuing on the legacy of the series, based on real-life entourage of actor Mark Wahlberg in his heyday, Ellin is just happy the “Victory” podcast is continuing to reminisce on just what made the show so great even if times have changed.
“I think it’s also brought a lot of interest back to the show and a lot of positivity that the show used to have before the culture shifted a little bit.”
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