EXCLUSIVE: Vinnie Chase and Ari Gold are back, baby. Warner Bros has tonight given the greenlight on a movie version of Entourage, the HBO series that ran from 2004-2011. That’s about as far as the studio has gotten at this point, and there is no start date. But it’s a reprise for the inside Hollywood exploits of the up and coming film star, his agent, his manager, his under-appreciated TV actor brother and the childhood pal/driver who form his inner circle. The film will be directed by series creator Doug Ellin, who wrote the screenplay and who exec produced the series with Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson. Deals are starting to be made with Adrian Grenier who played Vinnie, Kevin Connolly who played his manager Eric “E” Murphy, Kevin Dillon who played the actor’s brother Johnny Drama, Jerry Ferrara who played their entrepreneurial driver Turtle, and of course Jeremy Piven who played the show’s iconic Type A talent agent-turned movie studio mogul Ari Gold.
In September 2012, the HBO series ended its 8th and final season with soap opera schmaltz but also a Hollywood cliffhanger. Agent Ari Gold becoming a newly minted studio mogul obviously set up the movie which series’ WME packaging agent Ari Emanuel (the prototype for Gold) and executive producers Mark Wahlberg and Steven Levinson want so badly. Ellin says that Wahlberg keeps promising “to kill me if I don’t write faster. Every time I see him, Mark says, ‘I’ve made 5 movies this year. Get going!” Ellin needed time off after spending “10 years of my life” on the TV series that premiered on HBO in 2004. He told Deadline his script starts about 6 months after the TV series leaves off. “There are interesting developments about Ari as a studio head, and that’s still the first page for me. But foremost is the friendship between the guys who are still hanging out and going to fun parties, and it continues with the same characters.” Ellin has kept in touch with all the key castmembers especially Connolly (“E”) and Ferrara (Turtle”) who are two of Ellin’s closest friends. All the Entourage actors have been getting other gigs while HBO has been paying Ellin for the script. Hopefully Drama’s agent Lloyd (Rex Lee), E’s girl Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), his management partner Scott (Scott Caan), their quirky director collaborator Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro) and Ari’s agency partner Barbara Miller (Beverly D’Angelo) will all be in the mix, along with a swarm of real Hollywood VIPs playing themselves. While some naysayers might think this HBO-to-film has no shot, the first Sex And The City did really well.