While making the press rounds for his documentary Teenage Paparazzo, actor Adrian Grenier, perhaps best known for his role as Vincent Chase on the television show Entourage, stopped by the University of Western Ontario.
While there, he treated students to a screening of the film and a brief Q&A afterwards, where he offered those in attendance to come up on the stage and ask some questions, giving the whole thing a more personal feel. He also stuck around afterwards for photos and autograph signings.
Teenage Paprazzo is Grenier’s documentary that follows 14-year-old Paparazzi photographer Austin Visschedyk. It examines the paprazzi-celebrity relationship from both sides of the spectrum and is really quite eye opening and interesting.
Check out some of what Adrian had to say below as he speaks about the film, his view on paparazzis and of course, Entourage.
Question: If you were not known as Vincent Chase from Entourage, not nearly as many people would not have shown up for your film today. Is it a necessary evil for you to be in the spotlight?
Adrian Grenier: I would rather be known as Vincent Chase than the guy that picks his nose. It depends on what you want to be famous for. Tabloid fame is a certain type of fame. No, I don’t think it is necessary. If you do good work and create good content for people, you can achieve a certain amount of notoriety or fame through the work you do.
Question: Over the course of the film your impressions of the paparazzi went on quite the journey, but I am interested in your initial opinion. At the beginning of your career, what was your opinion of the paparazzi?
AG: It was weird, I always was a bit uncomfortable and resistant of the idea, I remember having a few experiences when I did The Adventures of Sebastian Cole and Drive Me Crazy, there was a bit of attention there. I resisted that entire thing, luckily, until I was an age where I really felt like I could deal with it.
I remember when Entourage first came out, I knew something was coming, that people would start to catch on and I had a couple paparazzi experiences, but it was still very new. I went to a premiere and there were all these paparazzi and I was trying to be all, “Please don’t take my picture man, I just want to be me.” I was crossing all the paparazzi and I started to cover my face and not one of them recognized me, not one of them took my picture.
Question: In the documentary you discussed instantaneous sharing through the internet, uploading photos from our phones and how the paparazzi are able to do that, but now it seems that the public also has access to do that with everyone owning smartphones. Do you find this concerning or alarming? It’s almost like the public is acting as their own paparazzi.
AG: Could we have known that big brother would have been us? It is a little unnerving, but at the same time I think it can be used for positive things as well. It depends on the intent of the person uploading or taking a picture, which is really what a lot of this film is about — recognizing the instinct of this young boy as he is taking charge of his life.
With a little bit of guidance, think about the possibilities, about that power and ultimately what we all can do with that power. To me it’s about empowerment through these technologies and personal responsibilities, and that’s really the message I took away from it. If you’re going to be famous, if you are going to be showing images of yourself and other things, you best be proud of what you are famous for or what you are showing.
Question: How did the paparazzi community receive the documentary? Has it created animosity?
AG: It has helped our relationship. I feel a lot more empowered and they know not to mess with me because I might turn the cameras on them. This film was about making this one way exploitation into a two-way conversation and that’s what is so important. We all have the tools to communicate through media — you are no longer these passive recipients in this industry that purveyors of media tell you, now you can actually respond and express yourself.
Question: Now that Entourage is finished, are you moving onto something else?
AG: I am making another documentary but my producing partner [Evan Ferrante] and I are also going to produce a film in the spring. It’s a comedy-horror, geared more towards the college crowd.
Question: What about the Entourage film? Is it happening and will it pick up where season eight leaves off?
AG: Yes, it is 100% happening but I’m not sure where it will pick up. It hasn’t even been written yet.
Question: What impact did Entourage leave on you and how are you going to remember it?
AG: That is a very big question. I don’t know because it has definitely defined my formative years. I was 28 when it started and now I’m 35. I’m very proud to have been part of something that is so iconic — it’s a show that really defined an era. It was really at a time when celebrity was at its peak, and I just think that is what I will take away with it, just having it be part of my life and defining a generation.
Question: Does it bug you that your most well known as Vincent Chase? Some actors, it bugs them when they always get recognized for the same role.
AG: Well you saw Teenage Paparazzo so now you know me for two things. [Laughs] The producers on Entourage, they wanted to name the character Adrian and I decided against it. I really wanted there to be a separation. I wanted to keep my own identity so I’d be able to escape the persona.
That concludes the interview but we’d like to thank Adrian very much for talking with us. Be sure to check out Teenage Paparazzo.