'Entourage' Boys Are Back | New 'Electric Company' Needs Wattage | Actor Who Left Scientology Touring Germany | R&B Divas Get Teed Off
'Entourage' Boys Are Back
The guys from "Entourage" are back, and still having a lot of fun.
Last night HBO premiered two episodes to a packed Ziegfeld Theater with a sardine like loud party later at a Chelsea nightclub — just the kind of soiree the fictional guys would like. You couldn’t hear yourself think or talk.
But talk is what they do in "Entourage," and the first two new episodes catch us up from last season — when Vince (Adrian Grenier) starred in a monster flop called "Medellin."
Now Vince has stayed in Mexico, where he’s partying on a remote beach for $79 a day and having orgies. He’s also sporting a gigantic black beard. Adrian Grenier told me last night it was real — it took him three weeks to grow.
Back in L.A., Vince’s brother Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) is conducting an obsessive long distance romance by computer camera with a French girl. Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), one of Vince’s sidekicks, is with him in Mexico while E -- aka Eric, Vince’s best friend and manager, (Kevin Connolly) is trying to resurrect his career.
But you know Entourage. No matter what the guys are up to, the focus is on Ari Gold, Vince’s peripatetic agent, played by Emmy winner Jeremy Piven. Ari is no different now than before. He brings manic to whole new levels. He refers to his Asian assistant, the marvelous Lloyd, as "Yoko." You get the picture.
Entourage has no doubt changed the lives of many of its players, but none more so than Piven. On Monday he starts rehearsals for the Broadway revival of David Mamet’s "Speed the Plow."
"I’m scared," he shouted to me over the din of the raucous HBO party where people were packed together more tightly that on the floor of last week’s Democratic Convention during Ted Kennedy’s speech. Young girls were lined up in circles around him. Piven didn’t break a sweat. He has no reason to be scared. After Ari, Mamet will be a piece of cake.
P.S. Look for guest stars in the first two episodes including Tony Bennett and Leighton Meester, newcomer from the show "Gossip Girl," as well as the sensational Carla Gugino.
And one more thing: this is the fifth season of "Entourage." Don’t fret: the actors are signed for one more season, and then they’ll renegotiate. Will they come back? My sources say yes, absolutely. Why not? You couldn’t have this kind of fun anywhere else.
New 'Electric Company' Needs Wattage
Paging Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno and Bill Cosby. The revival of PBS’s "Electric Company" needs and wants you.
The new version of the wildly popular children’s show is set to start in January. But so far the three big stars of the original program — which ran from 1971 to 1977 — haven’t shown much interest in returning.
Of course, Freeman and Cosby were still to have their biggest successes starting in the 1980s. Moreno, who’d already won many awards and was well known for West Side Story, was well established.
But now Freeman has indicated to the show’s producers, I am told, that he doesn’t really have fond memories of New York from that era.
"It was a dark time in his life apparently," says a source. Freeman was a journeyman actor in those days. He finally hit his stride in the early 80s on NBC’s soap "Another World," and then found fame with "Driving Miss Daisy."
Cosby, of course, wound up having the biggest hit TV comedy of the 80s with his self titled show. So far he hasn’t responded to calls from the new version. "He’s a busy man," shrugged one insider.
"The Electric Company" was like a more sophisticated "Sesame Street." The new version will reflect the same urban landscape as the earlier one, with Broadway’s "In the Heights" director Thomas Kail helming the show. I’m told that many of the actors from that Tony winning musical will be part of the cast, and tons more Broadway and New York stars should be popping in.
Actor Who Left Scientology Touring Germany
Jason Beghe, the "G.I. Jane" actor who left the Church of Scientology in April after 14 years, is testifying about today in Hamburg, Germany.
Beghe has been invited by Germany’s Department of Interior Affairs to be part of a three hour seminar on Scientology in Hamburg called, "That is Scientology! Reports from the USA." The program will begin with an 11 a.m. press conference followed by three hours of in-depth lectures from 5 to 8 p.m.
All of this is organized by Ursula Caberta, whose title is "Head of Working Group, Scientology, Office for Domestic Affairs, Hamburg." The evening will start with opening remarks by Dr. Stefan Schulz, State Counselor at the Office for Domestic Affairs.
According to the releases that have gone out, Caberta is importing a number of American Scientology critics including Beghe, whom this column reported on last April after he famously exited Scientology after 14 years and what he said was a million dollar investment. Also on the list of guests are former Scientologists Larry Brennan and Mark Headley.
Caberta says in an email, "This will be the first time that somebody from the U.S. General Consulate in Hamburg is coming officially" to one of her hearings on this subject. In Germany, Scientology is considered by the government to be a cult.
R&B Divas Get Teed Off
Toronto is about to get a lot of soulful golf.
Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, and Queen Latifah — all stars of the upcoming "The Secret Life of Bees" — are going to host a Golf tournament on Sunday in Toronto.
The event is set to raise money for Malaria No More, which happens to be chaired by 20th Century Fox’s Peter Chernin and Canadian member of Parliament Belinda Stronach.
The all day golfing will be followed by a concert provided by Grammy winner David Foster. Among the other expected guests at the Magna Golf Club: Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, Kevin Costner, Bill Maher, Gene Simmons, co-founder of KISS, actor Colin Farrell and actress Sophia Bush of One Tree Hill.
If you’re in Toronto and need more info, call 877.434-0441 or 416.304-1911.