The '61 Lincoln convertible has pulled up to the curb once more and Vincent Chase's crew is climbing out for a seventh season of Entourage (Sunday, June 27, 10:30/9:30c, HBO), but the bonds between the party-hardy boys and the women who love them will grow — and, in one case, be tested.
"Ari Gold loves his family more than anything in the world, but he's in jeopardy of losing it," revealed Jeremy Piven at the premiere of the new season. Piven says the super-agent and now self-proclaimed "king of Hollywood" will face some genuinely rocky waters as new distractions — one of which involves bringing an NFL football team to Los Angeles — cause genuine trouble in his marriage. "He just wants to try to run a sports team. He just has an insatiable appetite for power and money, and he will be brought to his knees."
The infinitely forgiving Mrs. Ari has a tougher time overlooking Ari's obsessive work habits, says Piven's on-screen wife, Perrey Reeves. "He's got this new job and it's taking a lot of his time and we're not getting along as well — and we're not resolving it as easily."
There may also be another troubling diversion: the second episode hints that Ari's reliance on the pro football savvy of his underling agent Lizzie Grant — whose fling with Andrew Klein (Gary Cole) undid his marriage and career — may also raise Mrs. Ari's hackles. "Lizzie's focused on getting to top this year, and she wants to get there now," says actress Autumn Reeser. "She's going to get there come hell or high water. As we saw last season, she's not above just about anything that will get her to the top. And Jeremy and I work a lot together."
The relationships between the gang are shifting, now that E has proposed to his on-again, off-again girlfriend Sloan and everyone's required to grow up a little. "He's very mature this year," says Kevin Connolly (who also directs an episode this year). "He's being a good fiancé and trying to be a better man. He's more with Sloane and not doing the party thing with the guys this year. No temptation this year — so far! He's a one-woman man."
"We're really embracing the fact that we're together, and that the drama is over!" agrees Emmanuelle Chriqui, who plays Sloan. "Now it's about being okay with being domesticated a little bit — in a good way, because we've never seen that with them, so it's very intimate. It's sweet!"
"There's one guy attached, but there's still a lot of bromance between these guys," promised Kevin Dillon, aka Johnny Drama, who'll be desperately pushing his now-agent Lloyd (Rex Lee) and new manager E to find him a starring role on TV. "But everyone's got a girl — Vince has got a girl, Drama gets a little thing going on, Turtle's got a girl, even! So things are mixing up a little this year."
Indeed, Turtle (Jerry Ferrera) starts the season single again and trying to launch his own limo service, only to be caught up by a contentious — and curvaceous — driver played by former Heroes star Dania Ramirez. "It's not an easy path for him to get with this girl," says Ramirez. "She's a little hard to get — she's Latina, and a little fiery."
And while Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier, who shears his trademark curly locks this season) has never hurt for female attention, a new addiction to thrill-seeking after performing his own stunts lands him in the possibly dangerous company of adult video star Sasha Grey, playing an "extended version" of herself on the show. "There's a lot of debauchery between Vince and I," Grey giggles. "Things get pretty crazy in the beginning, and towards the end it gets a little more serious."
Season 7 — which also features guest appearances by Mike Tyson, Lenny Kravitz, Maria Menounos, film director Nick Cassavetes and comic book guru Stan Lee, among others — marks the beginning of the series' wind-up, as Season 8 has been announced as Entourage's last.
"Next season is going to be the end of the series of Entourage," confirms Piven, but deals are already brewing to bring the boys back together for a big screen outing, a la another HBO hit-turned-film franchise, Sex and the City. "People always come to me and say the episodes are not long enough, so this will be the chance for people to see two hours of Entourage, which will be really great, and I really look forward to it. I think Ari needs a feature film. Ari Gold is too big for TV, too big for the small screen!"