By Jill Jacobs
NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Entourage" kicks off its eighth and final season on Sunday, bringing to a close the award-winning HBO comedy drama and its wry look at Hollywood.
Reuters spoke to actor Jeremy Piven as he prepares to bid farewell to his iconic character Ari Gold, the brash, neurotic, take-no-prisoners power agent.
Q: What can fans expect from this final season of "Entourage"?
A: "I think the wife may have had it. I think Ari Gold's methods may be completely unsound and he can be a blow-hard and reckless. And now the things that matter most to him are being taken away. As an actor to play a guy like that who's been brought to his knees -- you dream of that as an actor. I couldn't be happier. A lot of stuff that Ari has put out there to the universe is going to come back to haunt him."
Q: And what can Jeremy Piven fans expect in the future? I hope it's not the same.
A: "I have a real shot at impressing my 6 year-old niece, Pearl, since the next thing I have is 'Spy Kids 4D'. She is completely underwhelmed by Uncle Jeremy at this point. I play a handful of characters. Some of them are unrecognizable and I had a blast doing them. I think I found my calling and I think it's being a huge ham in front of a green screen with Robert Rodriguez. I can't even tell you how much fun I had.
"And probably the antithesis of that, 'I Meld With You,' which is one of these "bare it all movies," where a group of guys, myself Rob Lowe, Thomas Jane, Christian McKay, get together every year and have this guy's weekend and celebrate our youth. And another film after that with Miley Cyrus."
Q: So your niece has a lot to look forward to.
A: "I would never tell her what I do. She thinks I work for the bus company since she saw me on the bus once. She thinks I have something to do with the bus company -- driving them, fixing them, painting them or something."
Q: You've done films, stage and television. Do you have a preference for any medium? Is the preparation different?
A: "I was lucky enough to grow up on the stage in a community that nurtures and celebrates collaboration. I think this kind of training feeds any medium. And it's really fun to jump from one to the other....There are times during 'Entourage' where I just felt like I was doing a play because the scenes are long...so I feel like I am getting the best of a couple different areas."
Q: What would you be doing if you weren't an actor?
A: "I would love to be a drummer. I mostly sit in with bands. As an actor, you're always trying to get to that point with the material where it's not green, where it's kind of lived in and trying desperately to get the momentum of the material. I've definitely felt that way with 'Entourage' -- like it's a band that's been on the road for a while."
Q: You've worked with so many actors on stage, film and in television. Is there someone you have not worked with yet that you would like to?
A: "I've never worked with Jamie Foxx. Every time I'm around him, I feel like I've known the guy my whole life. He reminds me of guys I grew up with. I'm huge fan of Jeff Bridges and Javier Bardem, so I would love to have the chance to work with them."
(Editing by Jill Serjeant and Bob Tourtellotte)