While Vince avails himself of a shiny new agent (in the form of Carla Gugino, no less), Lloyd is left with an extra-cranky and insult-hurling Ari (albeit a boss man played by an Emmy winner, Jeremy Piven). As HBO's Entourage (Sundays at 10 pm/ET) continues its new stretch of episodes and delivers an episode in which the all-too-loyal Lloyd goes to the mat for his master, TVGuide.com invited Rex Lee to survey his sassy assistant's end game.
TVGuide.com: Things are a bit different with the Entourage gang this year, Ari and Vince being on the outs....
Rex Lee: Yeah, well, you've got to change things up every now and then, see what happens.
TVGuide.com: In this Sunday's episode, "Ari enlists Lloyd's help to snare an influential TV writer." Tell me a bit more about that.
Lee: Well... Ari gets it in his head that during this period following the split with Vince, one of the best things to do is sign new clients. He makes a point that it's great to sign Jim Carrey when you're trying to build your agency, but you've got to sign the guy who's going to create the next Drew Carey Show first. So he wants to sign this writer, and he needs Lloyd's help to do it. He basically asks Lloyd to... do things... that perhaps aren't always... asked of agents and/or their assistants, on behalf of their clients. He's basically saying, "I know this is unusual, but we've got to do this. So suck it up and do these unusual things to get the client."
TVGuide.com: So Lloyd objects at first but ultimately takes one for the team.
Lee: I don't even know if he objects so much as it gives him pause. He needs to think about it. It takes some... evaluating.
TVGuide.com: As a cast member, how was it being set apart from "the boys" for this arc? Did it feel a bit different?
Lee: I guess it was, yeah. It's funny because when we were shooting, it wasn't like I really noticed it all that much. It felt normal, because even prior to Vince firing Ari, most of my scenes were with Jeremy anyway. It wasn't until this episode coming up; when I first saw it, I noticed how separate we were. In the second season of the show, I never worked anywhere but the office.
TVGuide.com: Could it be part of Carla Gugino's character's plan to woo Lloyd away from Ari's clutches?
Lee: [Laughs] Well, it hasn't happened yet, but you can never predict the future.
TVGuide.com: From where you're coming from, why is Lloyd as loyal to Ari as he is? Is it because, as rough as Ari is with him, it's coming from some strange place of love?
Lee: Yes, I do believe that, definitely. But I also do believe that Lloyd is very ambitious and has an ulterior motive. He has decided that Ari is it, Ari is the end game, Ari is the master to learn agenting from. And I think he also believes that if he endures being Ari's assistant, Ari will eventually reward him.
TVGuide.com: And one day Lloyd will be buying and selling us all.
TVGuide.com: I see that Artie Lange is coming up in an episode, playing an old fraternity brother of Ari's. Are there any other guest stars to watch for?
Lee: Let me think.... Busy Philipps is in the next episode, and Will Sasso... Leslie Bibb.... This Season 3, Part 2 arc [now airing]... we shot these last year and there's a lot I don't remember.
TVGuide.com: Should fans expect that by season's end, Ari and Vince will find their way back to each other?
Lee: Well, they're getting closer, but there are definitely obstacles..... We can only hope.
TVGuide.com: As an "out" actor, have you ever had to draw the line on something they have Ari say or do to Lloyd, with regard to his sexuality? Or do you just accept that it's part of the dynamic between these fictional people?
Lee: Oh, I definitely accept that it's part of a dynamic between these fictional characters. The truth of the matter is, I'm out, and I like to think that I'm slightly political — I care, you know what I mean? But having said that, I can't even remember the last time somebody said something I really objected to. I'm never a gay man before I'm an actor and an artist — whoa, that sounds so pretentious! [Laughs] So as a result, when I read these slightly objectionable things in the script, I cringe, sure, but I never think, "I have to make a stink and get rid of this." Because in the universe of the show, every time somebody says something I find slightly objectionable, it really makes sense to me in the context of the piece. So I can't really complain. That's Ari for you!
TVGuide.com: Right. It's not like Ari will ever pull an Isaiah Washington and trot out the bad word.
Lee: That's the other thing. No. 1, Ari insults everybody. Women, blacks, short people.... He's not limiting it to Asians and gays. If he was only saying homophobic remarks, then I'd be like, "Wow, you haven't created an abusive character, you've created a homophobic character." But that's not the case.
TVGuide.com: Do you have a take on the current brouhaha surrounding Out Magazine putting essentially cardboard cutouts of Jodie Foster and Anderson Cooper on the cover of their Power List issue?
Lee: I have to admit, when I first heard about it, I chuckled. I can see why Anderson Cooper and Jodie Foster might be irritated by it, but I'm not aware that either of them have made a public statement about it, have they? So without knowing their motives, they're letting it go, so that makes it less of a controversy in my mind. If they had been really upset about it, then I would wonder, "Was it worth it to hurt their feelings or piss them off?"
TVGuide.com: Of course, before we go, I have to ask: How many times a day does someone on the street yell out to you, "Lloyd!"?
Lee: [Laughs] At least once or twice a day. Mostly it's people driving by in their cars. I'm a nice guy, and if people stop and talk to me, I'll talk to them. But it's always people whizzing by yelling at me through an open window!
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