HBO's Entourage was certainly no stranger to loads of lewdness because, well… HBO. However, it seems that when the time came for series creator/director, Doug Ellin, to bring Vincent Chase and his gang of capricious clingers to the big screen, the show’s ribaldry initially got the film slapped with the death sentence of an NC-17 rating, due to its showcasing of porn stars.
In a piece in The Hollywood Reporter, it was revealed that one sex-strewn scene in particular forced Entourage into a roadblock of a ratings challenge. Said scene involved, among other things, adult actresses Spencer Scott and Anna Morna engaging in (simulated) oral sex on each other in a hotel room. However, the MPAA found this a bit too explicit, despite elaborate efforts from Ellin to mitigate the raciness. According to the X-rated ingénue, Scott:
[The director] kept saying my boobs were really distracting. He kept trying to reposition me — he didn't want them to be so in-your-face.
The fallout of the NC-17 decision resulted in Ellin heading back to the cutting room to make a series of strategic edits. The efforts apparently paid off, since the film was downgraded to a simple R-rating due to some of the sexual content, nudity and drug usage. That, however, was par for the course, given the way of the show’s repertory content. However, despite the fact that the show’s demographic is primarily over 17, there is still a pornographic stigma attached to an NC-17 rating and it would not work in favor of a commercially-aimed wide-release such as Entourage. Thus, a bullet was undoubtedly dodged.
In the film, Jeremy Piven’s newly-promoted studio head, Ari Gold, attempts to finance Vinnie's directorial debut by courting Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton), a Texas-based movie financier and his spoiled son, Travis (Haley Joel Osment.) The scene in question is said to depict Ari in a confrontation with Travis, as the notable nymphs continue the session in their presence. Not only was the apparent 10-hour shoot riddled with awkwardness by the cast, but heat from the lights even set off the sprinklers at one point, further saturating the scintillating scene. However, for obvious reasons, the crew seemed to be enjoying what Scott described as a "million" takes.
Of course, for Ellin, the scene probably represented plenty of headaches forcing him to drown in dailies that needed meticulous curation to mollify the MPAA. In fact, the director tells THR that he didn’t even know at the time of shooting that Scott and Morna were porn stars, making the shoot especially awkward, thinking he may have pushed them well past any reasonable limit. In actuality, the simulated work for them was probably akin to Casual Friday at the office.
Regardless, come this time next week, the population will likely be divided by two kinds of people: fans of a certain HBO television series enthusiastically purchasing tickets to the Entourage movie, and those who view the film as a trap door through which mankind will fall and plummet towards a pit filled with spikes of mediocrity. Should the latter prove true, we can at least rest easy knowing that those spikes are strategically edited for our protection when the film hits theaters on June 3.