It's been four years since the Entourage lads left television screens, but now they're back – this time on the big screen.
We sat down with creator, writer and director Doug Ellin who reflected upon the series' legacy and shared his personal favourite moments and memories from its eight-year run.
1 | Ari's first scene with E
During the pilot episode, there was a moment where I knew we had a show. It’s a scene where the dynamic between Jeremy Piven [Ari Gold] and Kevin Connolly [Eric 'E' Murphy] felt extra special. Eric is the everyman – you’re supposed to see the show through his eyes – and he goes up against the ultimate power agent. That scene was magic. I knew then we were going to have a good run.
2 | The boys getting on the private jet
We really had a great time with the last scene of season one where the guys all get on the private jet to go to New York. It just felt really cool. We didn’t even know if we would be coming back for another season.
3 | Bono wishing Johnny Drama Happy Birthday
Getting U2 for season two was amazing. Producer Brian Burns told me his brother was a friend of Bono’s so I told him to go get him. I never in a billion years thought we could pull that off. I love U2 – it was my birthday and I was so excited. I was told they'd only say one thing on stage so I rewrote the whole script and built it around Johnny Drama’s birthday – which is testament to how quickly we adapted when something exciting came up. No one knew us at the U2 concert because season one hadn’t aired yet. Then Bono says “Feliz cumpleaños, Johnny Drama.” I didn’t know if we’d got it but it turned out to be one of the most magical things I’ve seen. People think we faked it.
4 | Billy Walsh's shaved head
Rhys Coiro, who plays Billy Walsh, is one of my favourite guest stars. We did a whole documentary episode at the beginning of season four; we shot about 45 miles north of LA at a ranch to make it look like Colombia, it’s pouring with rain and Rhys just shows up on a barely street legal dirt bike. It was such a Billy Walsh thing to do. The guys all took him to Vegas for a night before the Sundance episode and he went and shaved his head. I ended up incorporating it into the script.
5 | The boys hit the Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance episode in season two was the first time we were shooting out of town. There was no crowd control. There's a part where Adrian Grenier [Vincent Chase] has to hit Ari with a snowball after this two minute walk and – after nailing the whole dialogue – he sails it right over his head. Of course, we had Peter Dinklage playing himself in that episode. I'm happy he's got this international superstardom now.
6 | Ari and Lloyd's one-on-one
I got an Emmy nomination for this episode ['Manic Monday'] – the one with Ari and Lloyd [Rex Lee] in the car after Ari gets fired and Stevie Wonder, 'For Once in My Life' comes on. The executive called me and said, "This is one of the best scripts I've ever read." It was actually the easiest script I've ever wrote which is a tragedy of my life. Then an HBO executive calls me and tells me he hates it. I'm just manically depressed on set because I had no idea what to think. Mark Wahlberg [who produced the show] wasn't often there but he happened to be that day. I tell him what happened and he's like, "Are you fucking kidding? Let's just go and fucking do that shit." He's such a positive force of nature.
7 | Turtle and Drama get wrapped up in furry culture
During the Comic-Con shoot, I'm doing a photoshoot and there's a person dressed in this furry outfit behind me. My assistant tells me I can't have it in the picture and I'm like "What do you mean? Why not?" She then tells me it's a weird fetish thing – furry culture. I looked it up and ended up doing an episode a year or two later ['The Day Fuckers'] where Turtle has this girl who's into it. The ending of that episode with Drama having sex with her is one of the show's funniest moments.
8 | The Yankee Stadium scene
Directing at Yankee Stadium was a huge moment. I never imagined it was possible. I brought down about 75 of my childhood friends as extras, as well as my kids – one of which plays Ari's son – and my dad. It was a real special moment. All the names in the show are names of guys from school. Andrew Klein [Gary Cole] is my best friend from college and Scott Lavin [ Scott Caan] is another friend.
9 | The Dom episode
The show was originally going to be much grittier with a group much closer to Mark Wahlberg's than Adrian's so I had to do the Dom episode ['Dominated']. Everyone hated it - even my mum. Everybody had come to love these characters and hated that this guy was messing with them and ambushing them. Domenick Lombardozzi [The Wire's Herc], who played Dom, is a good friend of mine so I brought him back a few season's later and tried to redeem him.
10 | Martin Scorsese and James Cameron's cameos
We have so many cameos, but Martin Scorsese and James Cameron... In the series, Aquaman was going to be a bomb, a Medellin-type disaster, but then I got this detailed email from James Cameron just after he shot his cameo telling me how it couldn't bomb. I'm not gonna say no to James Cameron so I ended up makng it the biggest movie ever.