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Old 07-25-2005, 04:50 AM   #1
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Interview: Doug Ellin, Creator of HBO's ‘Entourage’

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By Devlin Smith, Contributing Editor
2005.07



Doug Ellin may be one of the luckiest U2 fans around. Not only did he spend his April 6th birthday at the band's Staples Center concert, he also got to film an episode of his critically-acclaimed television show "Entourage" there.

The Long Island native created the show about a young actor and his three buddies living in Hollywood based on actor Mark Wahlberg's similar life story. "Mark Wahlberg has a group of friends that he lives out here with and he wanted to take a fictional look at them," Ellin explains about the show now in its second season on HBO.

The idea for the upcoming ninth episode, scheduled to debut on July 31st, came about inadvertently, according to Ellin. Originally, the episode was supposed the feature the four main characters of Vincent (Adrian Grenier), Eric (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Drama (Kevin Dillon) going to a baseball game but as filming coincided with both Ellin's birthday and the Los Angeles U2 shows, the creator joked that maybe filming should take place at the concert instead.

Calls were placed to Universal Records who passed along the request to the band. The band, who like the show, agreed, as long as filming didn't at all interrupt the concert experience of the fans filling the Staples Center on April 6th. "The band was very hypersensitive to make sure that we weren't interfering with their fans that night," Ellin said. To accommodate that, cameras filming the actors in the ellipse were set up around the arena and not allowed on the floor.

Actual filming only took place during the first two songs, "Vertigo" and "City of Blinding Lights," freeing up cast and crew to enjoy the rest of the concert without having to worry about work. Everyone from the show was excited to be at the concert, particularly Irish-American cast members Connolly and Dillon, that it probably can't be considered "work."

To make sure that filming would go a smoothly as possible, Ellin and members of the crew attended an Anaheim Pond show a few days before. At that show, as reported in a recent issue of People magazine, costar Jeremy Piven, who plays jubilantly aggressive agent Ari Gold, got to hang out backstage with Bono, a meeting that may be responsible for one of Ellin's biggest birthday highlights.

"Right before the show we got a call that Bono would say something that I wrote to the guys from the stage," Ellin said. "It's not much better than if Bono had said happy birthday to me himself."



The "Entourage" boys end up at the U2 concert because it’s Drama’s birthday and all he wants to do is see U2. Ari pulls some strings and gets the quartet into the ellipse. Though he and the aptly named Drama both celebrated their birthdays with U2, Ellin insists the similarities end there. "It was my birthday but how Drama would do it is not how I would do it," he said. "He's going to concert carrying his Irish flag and stuff, I definitely wouldn't do that.”

Ellin, who lists U2 and Bruce Springsteen as the only acts he must see live, did pretty much have the time of his life getting this episode made—he got to attend soundcheck, Bono said one of his lines from the stage and he won the ellipse lottery.

Originally, an ellipse pass was supposed to be set aside for Ellin so he could direct his actors but on the day of the show, there was no pass for him. He did, however, have his own GA ticket. Somewhat dejected about not being able to hang out with the actors in the floor's inner sanctum, Ellin was shocked when his ticket was scanned and chosen a "winner."

All in all, Ellin calls the experience a "dream come true." Not only was he filming an episode of his show at the concert of his favorite band and in the ellipse, his wife was also there to witness the entire thing with a big smile on her face.

The episode, called "I Love U2," isn't "Entourage's" only U2-related moment. "All Because of You" has been used in the show's advertisements this season, something else that can be credited to Ellin. "Again, that was me," said the creator, who went to his first U2 concert at around age 10 back in the "War" days.

While the commercials and the episode may be it for "Entourage" and U2 for a while, Ellin, who's never met anyone from the band, still has much U2 in his future. He has tickets for U2's Staples Center shows in November.

For more information on "Entourage," visit the official HBO site.

Many thanks to Doug Ellin, Diego Aldana, Tonya Owens and Dana Scroggins for their help with this article.
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Old 07-25-2005, 05:57 AM   #2
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Awesome, awesome, awesome.
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Old 07-26-2005, 03:19 PM   #3
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I wonder if Piven got to ask Bono if he wanted to "hug it out, bitch"
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Old 07-26-2005, 04:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by starsgoblue
I wonder if Piven got to ask Bono if he wanted to "hug it out, bitch"
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