It's not every day that you hear grown men shout "victory" in the middle of a home improvement store. For How to Be a Gentleman's Kevin Dillon, who recently ended an eight-season run on Entourage, it's just how people say hello.
"Before Entourage, I would have a lot of Marines and Platoon fans quoting, 'Did you see that head come apart?'" Dillon tells TVGuide.com. "Now, I get, 'Hey, Johnny Drama!' Just today, I went to Home Depot and I had guys screaming 'Victory!'"
A lot has changed for Dillon in the past eight years, and we're not just talking about how he's greeted at the checkout line. After first gaining notoriety for dramatic film roles in Platoon and The Doors, Dillon unleashed his funny bone as Johnny "Drama" Chase, the hotheaded, fame-starved older brother of A-list star Vince Chase on HBO's Entourage. The show became notorious in showbiz circles and landed Dillon a catchphrase (courtesy of Drama's beloved cult TV series Viking Quest), Diet Pepsi ads and three Emmy nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy.
Now, less than a month after the Entourage gang's adventures came to a close, Dillon is already back on the small screen starring in the CBS sitcom How to Be a Gentleman. "Even though I didn't really want to work right now — I wanted to take three months off at least — it just happened," Dillon says. "Before [Entourage], I couldn't get a sitcom. People wouldn't hire me for comedies. They would say, 'Oh, he doesn't do comedy,' and now it's really all I do."
Airing Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c, this modern take on The Odd Couple stars Dillon as Bert Lansing, an army veteran and gym owner/trainer who befriends the etiquette-obsessed Andrew (David Hornsby). (The Oscar to Hornsby's Felix, if you will.) On the surface, Bert's gruff and buff exterior may seem strikingly similar to Drama, who once was so obsessed with looking fit that he begged his baby bro for calf implants. "I don't think people will see them as the same. I feel like we're going after a slightly different audience," Dillon says. "Bert Lansing is a lot of fun. He's much more of a sloppier type of a guy. He's not as much of a metrosexual as Johnny Drama, who loved manis and pedis."
There's also the notable absence of expletives in Bert's everyday vocabulary in comparison to the zero broadcasting standards Entourage was held to on a pay cable network. "I thought I'd miss cursing, but I actually don't," Dillon says. "I still feel like I can get my point across without real harsh language."
The biggest difference between Bert and Drama may just be their group of friends. Entourage followed four guys who grew up on the same block in Queens, went to the same school and had (mostly) the same sensibilities about life, love and Hollywood. On How to Be a Gentleman, Bert is easygoing and rough around the edges, while Andrew is uptight and obsessed with doing things the proper way. "Because there hasn't been an Odd Couple since the '70s, it's been awhile since we've seen anything like this," Dillon says. "This one it seems to be snappier, quicker and just a different vibe, but you can still feel the two guys and their differences."
Although Dillon has his hands full with How to Be a Gentleman, he hasn't closed the door on Drama and his Entourage crew just yet. After plans for a follow-up film were first announced in 2010, he's still hopeful that the boys from Queens will get their day on the big screen. "I think it's still going to happen. It's just kind of tricky with the guys working, but it seems like all the actors are on board. Doug Ellin wants to write it. Mark Wahlberg wants to produce it so I do think it probably will happen," he says. "I hope it does."
Until then, however, Dillon is hoping his latest act catches on as well as Drama did. "Hopefully, they might be quoting some Bert Lansing lines some day," he says with a laugh.