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Entourage RTÉ Two, Sunday 11.20pm

Kevin Connolly Interview

Kevin Connolly talks about Perfect 10 models, meeting LeBron and his upcoming directorial debut.

Q: A lot has changed for "E" since last season, when he was just Vince's buddy. Was it a different challenge this season, going from playing Pizza Boy to being a Hollywood manager?

Connolly: Eric's in a position where he's really coming into his own, both personally and professionally, and any aspect of self-actualization, even in a show as comedic as ours, is always exciting to play. E's still not fully aware of his power, but it's a feeling out process so to speak, and hopefully one that's entertaining and engaging.

Q: What's it like going head-to-head with Ari?

Connolly: It's like bare-knuckle boxing, and Ari's not above throwing a low blow. Acting in a scene where there's any type of conflict is always fun, and E and Ari aren't always --hardly ever-- on the same page about what's best for Vince. So it's an exciting dynamic: me as this guy's childhood friend who knows him better then anyone in the world but who's not yet necessarily the most savvy when it comes to the industry, and the epitome of a Hollywood Shark who actually does have an incredible business sense and acumen. And those two guys are attempting to do what's best for Vince and his career. It's easy to establish that energy with Jeremy.

Q: What's been your favorite part about Eric's new role, and his new storylines?

Connolly: Besides the love scenes with the Perfect 10 model? Seriously, in general it's the opportunity to be a part of the show and specifically the writing. It's tough in this business to find quality writing, and Doug Ellin & co. have really kicked it up a notch this season and come correct with both the funny and the introduction of real conflict and stakes about Vince's career and the guys' friendships.

Eric's coming into his own and beginning to make business moves with confidence, (such as the meeting with Harvey in "The Sundance Kids", trying to make things right with the RJ at the ComiCon), and it's great to play a character with real ambition succeeding on some fronts and failing on others and learning throughout the process. It's definitely wider in scope this go round for everyone involved.

Q: What do you like best about the Hollywood lifestyle? And what are the drawbacks?

Connolly: Success like what we're experiencing with the show is akin to catching lightning in a bottle; drawbacks are non-existent. The biggest perk would have to be the opportunity to present at the ESPYs and getting to meet all of the superstars of sports. Getting the chance to talk to the likes of LeBron James and Donovan McNabb, guys I follow week in and week out and who are so dominant in the field of athletics isn't something that happens often, and to find out that these guys are such fans of the show, because if the Entourage phenomenon exists anywhere, it's in the realm of professional sports.

The ESPYs taped just after the Fight Night episode. I met Donovan McNabb and I'm playing the role of fan boy, thinking this guy has no idea who I am, and the first thing he asks me is why Turtle had to lose in the first round of the Fight Night tournament, which completely blew me away. And being mentioned on Pardon the Interruption, arguably the greatest show on Television not on HBO, by hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, definitely is a high point.

Q: Do fans stop you in the street?

Connolly: Entourage is almost required watching in LA, and everyone seems to have story suggestions for the show itself, which is amazing because it makes you realize the show's really struck a chord and found its audience.

Q: This season, Vince said that he could hang it all up and go home. Do you think you could?

Connolly: Well I certainly feel as if I've been blessed professionally and personally, but I've still got moves I'd like to make. I'm not done yet, and the people I know who've had real success in this industry seldom settle or rest on their laurels, so I'm trying to keep busy and maintain the momentum that the show has provided.

Q: You're in Europe right now. What are some of your other plans for your hiatus?

Connolly: Europe was just a chance to recharge the batteries; I'm currently in pre-production on my feature film directorial debut, 'Gardner of Eden,' and it's going to be the most challenging undertaking of my professional life, without a doubt.

Q: What's the movie about?

Connolly: The film's a throwback to those films of the '70s that deal with lonely, flawed protagonists struggling to cement a sense of purpose in the world; it's dramatic but has elements of black comedy. I previously directed 'Whatever We Do,' a short film that was blessed with a phenomenal cast, but the feature length is a beast unto itself. It's an independent production and we're shooting in NYC and Jersey, so there's definitely some Queens Boulevard parallels going on. Hopefully I won't start wearing stained undershirts and referring to people as "suits".

Q: What feels more like home now - New York or LA?

Connolly: I've been in LA going on 12 years, so I have to consider it home now, but I definitely miss the energy of NY. Besides the fact that my family is still New York-based, I miss being able to just hop on the train and go to a Yankees game, and I'm a sucker for good theatre, something LA's sorely lacking. But it's 75 and sunny in November here, and there, not so much, so I guess it's a trade-off.