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Q&A with HBO show creator Doug Ellin

POSTED AT 12:14 AM ON Dec. 6, 2011  (UPDATED AT 12:38 PM ON Mar. 1, 2012)

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This fall marked the end of an era for “Entourage” as a show. Its Hollywood tales of broads, bros and blow concluded after eight seasons with its main dudes boarding planes to foreign lands — their girls and their dreams perfectly intact. But real life careers move on, and for show creator Doug Ellin, that means two new pilots for HBO and (allegedly) an “Entourage” movie.

IDS What’s the status of the “Entourage” movie?
ELLIN I gotta write a script. They’re waiting. I haven’t done it, but I just finished shooting two pilots for HBO. I need to get on it.

IDS What was your mindset going into season eight? How did you want to handle the show going out?
ELLIN I really wanted to just kind of end on a feeling. I didn’t know what the plot or the story was going to be, but for me, the show was kind never a story-driven show, more of a vibe of friendship. So whatever it was when I started, I just wanted to have some feeling at the end, like, we like these guys. We like being with them, and hopefully, we’ll follow them if anything else happens. So it wasn’t going to be very plot-driven.

IDS Did that change at all?
ELLIN No, that stayed consistent. That was always kind of my thought process, that no matter what the story was going to be, that was it. Also I wanted to get away from any dark, serious drug stuff that was leftover from the season before.

IDS With a core cast that is so small and a show that’s so much about those people, how did those relationships translate off-screen throughout the course of seasons one through eight?
ELLIN You know, it’s kind of what you see on the screen is what it is. It was a really tight group on and off screen. Everyone was very sad when it ended. It was kind of like a family. I’m so close with all of them that I brought a lot of their stuff into the show, too.

IDS The end of the series wrapped up very quickly plot-wise. Was that a plan or a logistical necessity?
ELLIN You know, I don’t plan too much ahead, but at the end of the day, it’s a wish-fulfillment show. There are people who are like, “Oh I wish it got more dramatic. I wish worse things happened,” but at the end of the day, it’s supposed to be, “I wish that was me and my friends, and I wish it all worked out.”
And at the end of the day, for movie stars, it usually does. That’s what happens. I’ve done some dramatic things on the show that some people criticized, and it didn’t go far enough and this and that. But I look at Mark Wahlberg’s life, and it’s not as dark and dramatic as people wanna hope it is, you know? It’s pretty good — life’s pretty good. And that’s what I was going for. It was supposed to be a happy ending. Things are going to be pretty good for these guys.

IDS Was there one story, one sequence or season that you thought worked better than another, or was a favorite?
ELLIN I don’t look back too much and think about it. There was one time that we had this “Medellin” thing that I thought, this is just going on and on and on, and I couldn’t figure out a way out of it. Other than that, I’ll look back one day on it, but I thought we did a good job with the dark stuff. Some people thought drug addiction — how’s he so addicted to drugs? I didn’t look at it like a drug addiction, though. I thought it was a bad week with a girl. I’ve had friends who that sort of situation has happened to.

IDS With all the celebrities you paraded in, was there ever a time you worried about the potential novelty that could create?
ELLIN No. No, because that’s again, everything I’ve tried to show on the show is realistic. If you’re in Hollywood, you’re going to see a celebrity, and if you’re Mark, you’re going to talk to them. Nothing to me about it felt forced or unnatural. That’s one of those things that people who want to look for criticism will say, but if you’re walking around a college campus, you’re going to see college kids, and if you’re in Hollywood, you’re going to see celebrities. That’s just how it is.

IDS What do you think the legacy of the show will be in five-10 years? What would you want the legacy of the show to be in five-10 years?
ELLIN The best thing for me was always hearing from especially young people that are like, “We got together with our friends and watched the show.” So they’ll remember that whether they like the show five or 10 years from now or not. They had a good time on Sunday nights. Hopefully, it’ll be a show that sticks, that people talk about and remember. For me, again, it was more about the friendship than the Hollywood stuff, but I think we probably did the most realistic portrayal of Hollywood that’s ever been on television. Hopefully, people will remember it. That’s all you can hope for.

 

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