Adrian Grenier isn’t Mark Wahlberg, he just plays him on TV. On the HBO series Entourage, Grenier plays Vincent Chase, a young movie star who is developing his Hollywood career. The show ended in 2011, after 11 seasons. A follow-up movie was released this past summer, but it received negative reviews, effectively guaranteeing the end of the franchise.
Grenier will never be as famous as Vincent Chase, no matter how hard he tries. That hasn’t stopped him from trying. Let’s look at the many ways in which Adrian Grenier has managed to, at least for himself, blur the lines between himself and Mark Wahlberg… I mean Vincent Chase.
Adrian Grenier Was a Real Actor
It’s true. Born in 1976 in Santa Fe, he grew up with his mother in New York City. He attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the only public arts high school in the city to receive special funding. From there, he attended Bard College, whose student base was labelled by Princeton Review as “dodgeball targets.” They also have a stellar drama program.
Living up to all student stereotypes, Grenier left Bard in 1997 to pursue a career as an actor in Hollywood. His film debut was as Kabush in the independent drama, Arresting Gena. Kabush is a friend to Jane, the teen runaway whose bad influence corrupts the protagonist, Gena. That’s a real plot, with development and characters. Clearly, Adrian Grenier had not yet begun to think of himself as Vincent Chase.
- Even Grenier’s characters revolve around self-interest
In 1999, Grenier performed opposite literal girl-next-door Melissa Joan Hart in Drive Me Crazy. Hart’s character lived with her divorcée mother, and Grenier’s character’s mom died of cancer. Sure, the movie may have been named after a Britney Spears song, but Grenier’s character protested stuff and had an alternative girlfriend. Certainly not a role Marky Mark would have taken.
In 2001, we saw the last performance we’re likely to see from an uncorrupted Adrian Grenier. Harvard Man was a dramedy crime thriller. The first half of the film has some sort of plot, where Grenier’s character has to throw a football game in order to prevent the tornado mafia from destroying his parents’ house, or something like that. In order to alleviate his problems, Grenier’s character takes around 180 hits of acid (150 if you live on the West Coast,) and then the rest of the movie is pretty much the same as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, only not good.
- Seriously, does anyone know what’s going on in Harvard Man
This movie, deemed a unanimous “pretentious, incoherent mess,” by Rotten Tomatoes, may have been what gave Adrian Grenier the motivation to create his own production company later that year. “If Harvard Man can end up in theaters, anything can!” I like to imagine him saying to himself. He used his production vehicle to create a documentary about him reconnecting with his estranged father, Shot in the Dark. The film was inspirational, and honestly rather well done, but no one cared because Adrian Grenier wasn’t famous.
Someone at HBO thought this was something that needed to change, so cast Grenier as the lead in Entourage in 2004. The show was based loosely on the early career of Mark Wahlberg, though in what would become classic Entourage style, who exactly should be credited with the idea is up for debate.
The show promoted itself as being about the theme of male friendship, and the importance of friendship over working. However, the normal stresses of friendship are pretty much negated by the characters’ Hollywood lifestyle, and the fact they earn between themselves millions a year. However, a playful bickering is maintained for 8 seasons, developing nothing except Grenier’s apparent delusions of celebrity.
Life Outside Entourage
When he wasn’t filming Entourage, Grenier seemed to enjoy living all the trappings of being a famous celebrity. He spoke frequently about sustainability and environmentalism. He developed an application to scan a product’s barcode to measure its environmental impact. He also founded SHFT.com, which is a “lifestyle platform.” I’m really not sure what that means, but it seems to be an online product magazine for exceedingly wealthy hippies.
In 2010, HBO premiered Teenage Paparazzo, a documentary Grenier directed. The film was about 13-year-old paparazzo Austin Visschedyk. It’s entirely possible Grenier sought the director’s seat knowing that following paparazzi with cameras himself was his best chance for becoming a tabloid feature himself.
Later that year, Grenier was a producer on the documentary How to Make Money Selling Drugs, which is the only project Adrian Grenier has ever worked on that I won’t be poking fun at. How to Make Money Selling Drugs looked at the U.S. domestic drug policy. Snarky and intense, the full-length documentary interviewed celebrities and dealers, showing a side to the drug trade not often candid.
In 2012, presumably to fill time (and the hole in his soul) left open by the ending of Entourage, Adrian Grenier really started to delve into celebrity hobbies.
- Of course Adrian Grenier was a frontman who played bass
He joined a band, and then another band, and then left them both to create a “music incubator,” which is a type of recording studio catered to those with more money than talent or work ethic. He opened a microbrewery in Seattle, where the featured product needs to be opened with a type of can-opener even your grandmother wouldn’t remember. He became the advisor to an app that is like Vine, except no one cares.
In 2013, Adrian Grenier starred in the sadly un-prophetic Goodbye World. A post-apocalyptic relationship drama, the fact the film begins with with Grenier’s character reciting Henry David Thoreau tells you all you need to know. The early 2010s were incredibly receptive to a certain kind of post-apocalyptic narrative, but Goodbye World missed every mark. Multiple critics actually stated that the characters should have all died in the apocalypse they were incessantly complaining about.
- In Goodbye World, Grenier’s character owns only plaid shirts
2015 was a good year for Adrian Grenier. In the lead-up to the Entourage movie, Grenier was able to be quite open about his desires to be Vincent Chase. “Now that Vince is directing himself in a movie, we’re closer and closer to life,” he told Page Six, clearly speaking of himself in third and royal person. The movie focused on the struggles of Vincent Chase trying to direct a movie starring himself, and how obnoxious it can be when actors try to direct.
Unfortunately, the world had settled into its recession, and a movie about the difficulties of celebrity wasn’t something that drew a lot of people in. Eventually, the Entourage movie would just barely earn back its advertising budget. Reviews were abysmal, with critics even stooping so low as to say it was “as good as the series.”
Adrian Grenier Now in 2018- What’s He Doing Update
With Vincent Chase behind him, Adrian Grenier has moved back to the things that sustained him before Entourage: loneliness and the ocean.
Grenier has been an advocate for the environment for years, and in the early 2000s, focused his interests on the oceans and their ecosystems. It seems only natural that, after losing his Entourage, Grenier would find a kinship with 52Hz, a whale whose song is too high, so it has no friends.
- What 52Hz might look like, if they are Moby Dick.
52Hz, named for the frequency of its whale song is, in the words of Grenier, “a lot like Moby Dick, but, it is not Moby Dick.” With such insight, it’s clear why he was approached to help produce a documentary about 52Hz. Grenier used Kickstarter to raise almost half a million dollars, including a $50,000 donation from Leonardo DiCaprio. The Loneliest Whale filmmakers spent most of 2015 trying to find 52Hz, reporting that they were successful and that, someday, a film about the whale might be released.
- What 52Hz might look like, if they aren’t Moby Dick
Grenier went out “looking to connect with [52Hz] so as to better understand what he has to say, not only about the plight of whales… and about us and our humanity[.]” Hopefully, The Loneliest Whale gave him the insight he needed, despite the fact the whale is believed to be unintelligible to other whales, let alone other humans. Otherwise, we may continue to see an Adrian Grenier who believes he is a genuine movie star.
The Loneliest Whale, despite being slated for a late 2015 release, is still in production.