Vanity Fair – 2009

Vanity Fair Online
From September 2, 2009
By: Julian Sancton
Original source

TV shows, like relationships, are like sharks: they have to constantly keep moving or they die. Then again, if a series evolves too quickly or haphazardly, it runs the risk of jumping that shark (to contort a metaphor beyond recognition). In its sixth season, Entourage, HBO’s long-running comedy about life in and around the Hollywood A-list, has found a second wind—you know the creators are doing something right when they manage to put a smile on Nikki Finke’s sour face. After four years of arrested development, the writers have indeed decided to add some dimension to every character. Well, all except for Vince, who’s always been the show’s inactive ingredient, a pretext for the other characters to interact.

This season’s most tantalizing arc is the off-again, not yet quite on-again relationship between Vince’s best friend and manager, E (Kevin Connolly), and Sloan McQuewick, played by the lovely Emmanuelle Chriqui. On one hand, it’s baffling that E would turn his nose up at a girl as far out of his league as Chriqui. On the other, one almost hopes they don’t get back together—no one wants to watch a dead shark. It’s a pattern we’ve seen before, on similar HBO show. (Different gender, different coast, same basic concept.) Calling in from L.A., Chriqui tells me about being Entourage’s Mrs. Big, runs through Sloan’s morning routine, and implies that I’m a dirty old man.

So, where is Sloan’s head at right now?

Well, as you can see, we are definitely getting to know her a lot more. We’re getting a better feeling of who she is, what she’s about, even just about what she does for a living, and all of those things. It’s funny, because I’ve had a lot of feedback that’s like, “Why are you messing with E’s head?” And I really don’t see it that way at all. I just think that love is complicated, and Sloan and E have a very complicated relationship. I think that they have this bond, and they just can’t quite get rid of each other, as hard as they try. And I think that she’s really guarded. He messed with her in a big way, and, I mean, everyone seems to forget that. He broke her heart legitimately. And so anything that’s going to happen, it’s not going to be easy. But I think that they have both come to the conclusion that they love each other and they respect each other. And I feel that when Sloan sees an opportunity, if she loves you, or if she cares about you, she will go out on a limb for you. And that’s how she is with E.

It’s funny because it’s a male-centric show, but I think people sympathize more with you than E at this point. Do you see that?

I see it, but I see it on a very superficial level. I do see that guys are like, “Dude, you’re an idiot.” Which is hilarious to me, and flattering. I mean it could go the other way—she could be completely annoying and they could hate her, so it’s really nice that people want to see them work it out.

Do you ever find yourself getting annoyed by Sloan? Would you hang out with her in real life?

I would definitely hang out with Sloan in real life. I think she’s just a cool chick.

It would probably freak you out that you look just like her.

Yeah, I would be like “Oh my god. We’re twins!” She’s just a more glamorized version of me.

For the general public, watching Entourage is something of an escape. Is it an escapist fantasy for you too to play Sloan?

It is, in a lot of ways. I come to set and I get to play this character that’s, like, ultra glamorous. Like, ultra. So, the whole process of becoming Sloan—the hair, the makeup, the wardrobe—it’s dreamlike. It is so not me, in my life. It is maybe [like me] on occasion, you know, when I go to an event or to a premier, but this is who Sloan is everyday.

But it’s a completely unreasonable expectation for somebody to take that long, just to be able to go out and shop.

In my world, that’s obscene. [The way I get dressed for the day is:] Throw on sweat pants—let’s go.

How long does it take Sloan to get ready?

Hair and make up, um, I would say the whole thing is like a two-hour process.

Imagine if she actually had a job, and had to get to work at 9? She would have to wake up at 6.

And then, of course, does she have her coffee? Does she do her stretches in the morning?

And if she has to get up at 6, when does she set the actual alarm? Because you know she hits the snooze.

I love this.

So, do you see Sloan and E as the Ross and Rachel of our generation?

Ross and Rachel don’t come to mind. You know who comes to mind? Mr. Big and Sarah Jessica Parker [from Sex and the City]. Except that Sloan would be Mr. Big, obviously, and then Sarah Jessica Parker would be E’s character. I think that’s an accurate parallel, just because Mr. Big over the years—and it’s been years for Sloan, really, since she first appeared on the show; it’s been five seasons—has always just been this seemingly welcome guest when he’s on the show and it’s always like, Oh he’s back again—what’s gonna happen? And I feel like that’s sort of the same kind of thing with Sloan, like even when she’s not there, she’s always talked about. I feel like it has that vibe about it. Do you agree?

Absolutely. Entourage is sort of a mirror image of Sex and the City.

In many ways, except that it’s guy centric, yeah. I think it’s more in tone that there are a lot of parallels. Like, I don’t think Sloan was ever created to be a parallel to Mr. Big. When Sloan was created, originally, it was just a three-episode arc for the show

Oh really?

Oh yeah, she was gonna be in and out, this girl that E starts to date, then it doesn’t work out or maybe it does. And it just kind of evolved. It just completely took a life of its own.

So what’s it like being at the mercy of the writers?

You know, you’re always hoping that they’re gonna invest in your character. And this year they really did. So I was really thrilled for it, because it’s always a pleasure to go to work. I’ve always understood that it’s about the guys. But I also hoped that maybe they were going to explore this character of Sloan. And [creator] Doug [Ellin] always said that he would, at the right time. And I guess now is the right time.

Your parents are Moroccan and you grew up in Canada. How come you don’t do any roles in French?

I want to. I’ve been exploring that, for sure. In October I went to Paris and got an agent out there. But like anything it just takes time. But I would love to do that. I love European films in general. If I were to go to the movie store or something, that’s what I like to see. So I would love to immerse myself into that kind of French cinema, Spanish cinema, working with Spanish directors—it would just be a dream.

Do you speak Spanish?

I don’t, but I can learn.

Did you ever get teased because your name is the same as a very popular French soft-core porn series?

No, I’ve never heard that before, what are you talking about?

You never have? Emmanuelle? You never heard that?

I’m kidding. I’m being facetious. I have heard that my entire life.

So I guess you had to grow thick skin?

Yeah, I mean, you know, whatever. It’s hilarious. It’s just funny because that’s what people immediately say, as though I’ve never heard it before.

Oh, you mean the way I just did?

[Laughs] No, what’s really funny is when you meet, like, let’s say a 50- or 60-year-old businessman and they’re like, “Oh, Emmanuelle? Oh, Emmanuelle.” You know? And you’re like, You’re just such a dirty old man!

Thank you!