As a starting point, check out this photo and caption from the new issue of Us Weekly. And, then come back.
Okay… now, let me first say, I am and always will be a fan of Jeremy Piven’s work. For many of us, coming of age through the 1980s and early 1990s, his has always been a reliable onscreen presence. His cameos in Cameron Crowe’s Singles and Say Anything, proved he was a force. He was always cast as either the lovable sidekick, usually kicking it on the side of John Cusack (Serendipity, Grosse Pointe Blank, Runaway Jury, etc.). And, yes, he is nearly the very best thing in Entourage, a series full of very good things. But, then you go back down his filmography and see Very Bad Things… where he played a drug-addicted, violent and jealous younger brother to Daniel Stern (in fact, it’s Piven’s character who is the catalyst for the titular Things). It was odd, seeing him as the asshole. But soon after, he got right back to playing good guys.
Then, you look even further back at his career. Judgment Night (a.k.a. the answer to the “Why do I feel like I’ve seen Cuba Gooding Jr. and Stephen Dorff onscreen before the horrible Shadowboxer?” question). In that film, he plays the hot-headed suit in a group of laid-back friends, and spirals his friends down a hole of more “very bad things.” Maybe he was trying to stretch here? Because otherwise, in the roles we know and love from his career, he seems like the sweet and down-to-earth friend you always loved having. Not the loose cannon with a short temper and outburts. I remember, when watching cable one weekend, I caught Jeremy Piven in one of his very first screen roles, playing Ty, one of the villainous jocks (at odds against – you guessed it – John Cusack). Here’s this guy who we know and love (maybe due to typecasting) as the “nice guy,” and he’s playing the “jerk.”
And then, just as Entourage began to hit, we were seeing a very different Jeremy Piven than the one we were used to, hitting the clubs and posing for photos with the Lohans and P. Diddy’s of the world. Is this the Jeremy Piven we know and love? Meanwhile, elements of weird press have popped up that keep you guessing. In an Esquire interview earlier this summer, Entourage co-star Debi Mazar had this to say:
ESQ: How’s your relationship with Jeremy Piven?
DM: I don’t really have a relationship with him, to be honest. It’s very hey-how-you-doin’, kiss-kiss—very Hollywood.
ESQ: If you were to give him publicity advice, what would it be?
DM: With Jeremy, you know what you’re getting. He’s self-absorbed [Mazar’s publicist cringes] and fantastically talented… When Piven’s in the room, people turn and look at Piven. I might tell him to stop going to every opening every night, but it works for him. I don’t go out, and it doesn’t get me anywhere.
Added to this, was the Page Six item in June, reporting that Piven and his Judgment Night co-star Dorff, got into a heated argument while waiting in line for the bathroom at a New York club. Then, there was the David Letterman appearance. Shortly thereafter, PerezHilton.com reported that Piven was fired by his publicist, but that doesn’t seem to the be the case. Is this really the real Jeremy Piven?
He obviously likes to party, and is using his recent surge to the zeitgeist to party like he’s never partied before. I mean, the dude just turned 41. He’s been acting in film and TV for 20 years, so obviously it seems a little overdue. How else can you interpret a quote like this, found on IMDB: “If I have a rapper like Common rolling hard with me at a club and I hand him a microphone and he hits five songs in a row and the crowd goes crazy, I don’t feel guilty about drinking on the house.”
Maybe he should talk to his buddy John Cusack, a perfect example of one’s stardom not interfering with the same affable nature that audiences and public have always loved. All I’m saying is, you don’t have to become Ari Gold, to play Ari Gold. We want our Jeremy Piven back.