Entourage: The real-life inspiration for Ari Gold and the rest of the crew
I want be your superhero.
The Entourage movie is set to be released in Ireland this weekend as one of the biggest comedies in recent years finally makes its big screen debut.
From day one, we've followed the adventures of Vinnie Chase and his best friends - E, Turtle, Johnny Drama and Ari - on the wild roller-coaster ride that's like in Hollywood, but the dream life of a moviestar is actually grounded in the real-life of the shows creator, Mark Wahlberg.
The show has become famous for all the cars, women, mansions, parties, boats, drinks and one-liners but there's a degree of authenticity to these four men from Queens Boulevard.
Vincent Chase (Mark Wahlberg)
Who doesn't want to be Vinnie Chase? From the moment when 'Head On' was released , the guy just oozes charisma, charm and an effortlessly cool aura.
Life hasn't always been plain sailing for Vinnie and there's certain similarities he shares with Wahlberg. Both grew up in tough areas - Boston for Marky Mark and Queens for Mr Chase.
They both appeared on the radar of Hollywood agents after starring in commercials while the the name Vincent Chase is actually borrowed from a Hollywood acting coach that worked with Wahlberg on the his movie, Traveller.
The star of Ted and Max Payne also had a run-in with the law which is something that Vince experienced during his drug addiction storyline.
Johnny Drama (Johnny Alves)
In my opinion, Drama is the best character in the show because he's wildly neurotic, image obsessed but bloody hilarious.
He certainly has some bad qualities but he's the glue that holds the group together because it's clear that he cares for his half-brother although Drama's past has always been something of a funny mystery. His IMDB profile must be class.
The obvious similarity is the fact that Dillon is the less well-known brother of movie star Matt Dillon but there's much more to this piece of casting. Johnny "Drama" Alves was asked to join a wayward Wahlberg in Hollywood - this was when Mark was trying to get back on the straight and narrow after a period in prison - and he felt Alves would watch his back.
This is something that Drama constantly does on the show although Alves' acting credits are far less impressive than the Viking Quest icon.
Turtle (Donnie Carroll)
I'll hapily admit that Turtle bugged me in the early episodes of the show but it's credit to the writers and Jerry Ferrara that his storyline was one of the best in the final few seasons.
He was no longer just the friend that drove Vince around, smoked pot and wore baseball hats but rather a successful, hard-working and independent member of the group.
The real Turtle, Donnie Carroll, was actually known as "Donkey" and like the Entourage character, he absolutely loved hip-hop until he sadly passed away. The baseball-cap-wearing Carroll also tried to launch a rap career under the alias of Murda One.
Entourage fans will know that Turtle's first real step into the his career as an entrepreneur was when he helped launch the career of Saigon.
E. (Eric Weinstein)
The voice of reason in 'L.A-L.A land' but he's arguably Vince's best friend also because E. has that rare quality in a friend, he's not afraid to speak his mind even if it's something that Vince really doesn't want to hear.
Seeing Kevin Connolly's character grow from being a naive, impressionable and rookie manager into a major Hollywood player was one of the most satisfying things in the show.
So what about the real-life E? Eric Weinstein was a consultant on Wahlberg's stunning 1995 film The Basketball Diaries and the pair struck up an instant friendship taht resulted in Weinstein becoming the actors personal-assistant.
To a certain extent, E. was also inspired by Wahlberg's longtime producing partner Steve Levinson.
Ari Gold (Ari Emanuel)
If you're going to be the king in Hollywood then you better have the character, brains and attitude to reign supreme and Ari certainly does.
He's gold and despite his multitude of character flaws, they pale in significance when compared to what makes Jeremy Piven's most iconic character so beloved.
Fearless, brave, loyal, resourceful, intelligent and utterly hilarious - he's almost too god to be true but the character was based on a real person.
The story goes that Wahlberg's own agent, Ari Emanuel , sat in on a production meeting with the shows creator, Doug Ellin.
Emmanuel is quoted as saying during the meeting 'it's Mark and his life. This guy is going to write it, and if it sucks, we'll fire him and someone else will rewrite it,'" recalls Ellin.
This story is how a fantastic TV character was born.
Images via - History v Hollywood
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