Entourage's Jerry Ferrara
Entourage, the story of four friends from New York who suddenly find themselves living the Hollywood high life after one of them becomes a famous actor, has become HBOís benchmark comedy series. Jerry Ferraraís character Turtle is known most for leeching off of his suddenly famous friend Vince, smoking weed, and delivering classic lines like ďdid you just get cockblocked by Bob Saget?Ē Recently Jerry sat down with SOAK to answer that question, and quite a few others, including how authentic the Playboy Mansion episode was.
SOAK: Howís the Entourage ride been so far?
Jerry Ferrara: Itís incredible man. For the first season it was all new to me, because I had worked but I had never been a regular on a show before. Iíd done a lot of guest starring stuff and a couple independent movies. I had to get adjusted to working every single day. Itís unbelievable. Iím so lucky.
SOAK: Youíre from Brooklyn, but on the show youíre playing a guy from Queens. Are any of your friends giving you a little hell for that back home?
JF: The creator, Doug Ellin, is from Queens. I was trying to tell him Brooklyn is cooler, but as long as itís New York Iím happy.
SOAK: When you first read for the part, did you think it was going to be such a monster hit?
JF: You never really know, youíre always hoping it will be. Iíve read for over 100 pilots since I moved to LA and out of those 100, maybe five of them went on to become shows, even for just a year, and I obviously didnít get those parts. But honestly you canít pick a better network than HBO. If they like the shows themselves, they put everything into it. We got a little bit snubbed at the Emmy awards, but that was based on the first season, I think next year weíre going to get one.
SOAK: I donít think itís any secret that the girls have gotten even hotter on the show this year; you were at the Playboy Mansion, Vinceís new house is two doors down from a brothel, in what ways are you taking advantage of the scenery?
JF: You know, any time you show up to work, and youíre on a set and thereís 50 beautiful women, itís not a bad day. Last year it felt like we had a lot of girls come and go, but this year, theyíre writing some good characters for some of these women. The Madame character in episode five, that was a good character for us. Debbie Mazarís character is growing. Weíre hoping women look at it and say, this is what guys are really like and they canít get mad at it.
SOAK: Youíre in LA, so some of those 50 beauties you see every day are a little ďenhanced,Ē right?
JF: Oh yeah. Shake what the doctor gave ya.
SOAK: Have you, as Jerry Ferrara, gotten to experience some of the same parties and insanity that your character, Turtle, has?
JF: You know what, I have man. Itís weird the parallels between the show and my real life. Between the parties and Vince being an up and coming actor, heís seeing a lot of stuff for the first time at the same time I am. Weíre not making this stuff up, itís very accurate. Last season at the end of the season, Vince was going back home to make a little indy film. The same day we wrapped, I went home to make an indy (Brooklyn Rules).
SOAK: You actually have two indies under your belt right now, ďCross BronxĒ and ďBrooklyn Rules.Ē
JF: Cross Bronx got me Entourage. Itís actually coming out in October, and they saw me in that and they said this kid would be good for Turtle. Cross Bronx was something that went on for a while; it was originally a pilot for MTV that wasnít picked up. It got such a good reaction, people were stunned that it didnít get picked up. Larry Golan is a phenomenal writer and I stayed close with him. He said, screw everybody else, we just want to make this movie. We all raised money ourselves and we shot it with nobody. We might as well have been doing a student film. We didn't know how it was going to turn out, but it did really, really well (at film festivals). Now the movieís finally getting itís due. Itís like watching your kid graduate high school and go on to college.
SOAK: You also have ďBrooklyn RulesĒ with Alec Baldwin, Scott Caan and Freddie Prinze Jr. coming out this year. Are you only doing movies with NYC boroughs in their titles?
JF: I knew eventually someone would catch that. I just look at it like, Iím not trying to hide the fact that I'm a New Yorker. I donít want to just do characters from New York but itís still early in my career so whatever it is to help me get to the point where I can do different things, Iíll do. Iíve got a soft spot for anything shot in New York, I look at it like a free trip home. ďNailed Right InĒ was the original title, you never know, it might go back to that.
SOAK: Youíve got a hit TV show, youíre doing movies, we need a party story, bro. Hit me with your best one.
JF: If you want to just compare the show to real life just watch the Playboy Mansion episode and Iíve literally been in that situation where youíve been shopping all day long for pajamas that nobody else has. You get dressed, thereís a line of cars, people are trying to sneak people in, and once you get in, itís basically the adult male Disneyland. Exactly the way it was shown on the show is exactly the way it is in real life. I was there with a buddy and at one point we just had to stop and say, weíre at the Playboy Mansion now.
SOAK: Did you meet anyone there?
JF: I actually met a Playmate who I had the biggest crush on when I was 13 years old. Stacy Sanches. Sheíll never remember meeting me, but that made my night.
SOAK: You never know man, the showís getting pretty big.
JF: I can't even think about the fact that she might remember who I am.
SOAK: Youíre also getting to meet a ton of Hollywood hotshots, because it seems like everyone wants to guest on Entourage. How much networking have you been able to do with the guest stars?
JF: Not networking, but just the chance to hang out with and work with Gary Busey, Val Kilmer, Jessica Alba, Bob Saget, Hugh Hefner, even Ralph Macchio. I grew up watching Ralph Macchio and heís one of the nicest guys in the world. In the second season, itís a lot easier, people are calling us asking why they havenít been on the show. Jamie Pressley did the show and I think that part was written for someone else and Jamie Pressley just happened to be a fan of the show. We needed someone and she said she liked the show and sheíd do it.
SOAK: Did you hit on Jamie Pressley?
JF: Iím way too intimidated by her. Iím a lot different than Turtle; Iím actually way more shy with those things. I canít just say ďmy boyís famous, do you want to have sex?Ē Once I get to know you, I can talk forever, but for that initial two minutes of conversation, Iím just awful.
SOAK: As a group how did yaíll develop that chemistry so quickly? It really seems like youíve known each other forever.
JF: One of the guys responsible for the chemistry was our creator Mark Wahlberg. He knew these characters would have to be friends for 20 years and come off like that. The weekend before the pilot he flew us to Vegas for the first Roy Jones - Antonio Tarver fight. You want to learn about a person, lose a lot of money with them.
SOAK: How much did you lose?
JF: $500, but at the time it might as well have been five million because we hadnít gotten a paycheck yet.
SOAK: How accurate would you say the representations are? Have you met an Ari? A Drama?
JF: Weíre all based on somebody. Everyone thinks the Vince character is based on Mark Wahlberg, but you can look at them and just tell theyíre not the same. Weíre not prototypes of these guys, just a blueprint and the characters have developed into different people. Jeremy Piven is based on Markís agent Ari and he just gives a perfect performance of an agent in Hollywood.
SOAK: How much of yourself do you see in your character?
JF: Thereís a lot, also thereís a lot of my real friends back in Brooklyn that I use. Different moments come across when Iím looking at a scene and how I am in this scene reminds me of how my boy Gerard was, or Sal was. But Iím a lot more shy than Turtle. Turtle has no inner voice he just says whatever is on his mind. Me, I think before I say everything. Iíd say I see 10% of me in Turtle.
SOAK: Are there aspects of Turtle youíd like to incorporate into your own life?
JF: Thereís some things I donít want to take on and thereís some things that I do. Weíll do a party scene then go to a club, and I'll still be going, I havenít unwinded yet from work and Iím runniní around like Turtle. I have to realize weíre not in a scene anymore. Thereís no director to yell cut. I have to pace myself.
SOAK: What would you like to see happen for Turtle next season?
JF: It hasnít happened yet this season, but towards the end you will see a major growth, the last two or three episodes he makes a major go at something. Iíd like to see his real name come out.
SOAK: We donít even know how he got the name Turtle.
JF: That was my next thing. Weíve talked about things and I kind of have ideas of which way theyíd like to go. And maybe for just an episode Iíd like to actually see him want more than just sex from a girl, I think that could add something funny: Turtle goes on a real date. The guy doesnít date, he tries to have sex and thatís it. Just one episode and thatís it.
SOAK: Do you want it for just one episode, because if he got a serious girlfriend he wonít be hitting on women all the time?
JF: Yeah. I donít want that to end, I get to live through him.
SOAK: Who would you like to see him date?
JF: If I could pick anybody, for the characters benefit, it might be fun if Turtle actually got a celebrity chick and Vince didnít. Jessica Biel would be the prefect candidate for me.
SOAK: Donít tell me Turtleís sittiní around watching reruns of 7th Heaven.
JF: Nah, but he might pop in Blade: Trinity from time to time.
SOAK: Who else would you like to see as a guest next season?
JF: I have no idea what is even going to go on next year, but one guy I think would be perfect do our show is Vince Vaughn. That guy is just one of the coolest guys and heís absolutely hilarious with everything he does.
SOAK: Finally, Iíd be remiss if I didnít ask, do you think Bob Saget would really cockblock someone?
JF: You never know, Bob Saget is a force of nature. That guy is probably one of my favorite guest stars to come on. Heís a stand up comic and he had no problem embracing the ideas the writers and producers had for him. I have a feeling Bob Saget will be back.