Jeremy Piven owned the role of Ari Gold: a fast-talking, slightly neurotic Hollywood agent on HBO’s Entourage. Now, as the London department store magnate Harry Selfridge in the British series Mr. Selfridge, Piven is equally ambitious, but this time with a mustache and a soft spot for the ladies. We caught up with the veteran actor here to talk steak, ‘staches and no regrets.
After 10 years and nearly 100 episodes as Ari Gold on HBO’s Entourage, your name became somewhat synonymous with the character you portrayed. If you had to do it over again, would you change anything from those years?
I leave it all on the field, so to speak, when I work. Best way to be is to have no regrets, dare to be outrageous and make a fool of yourself. You might get lucky and hit on something that surprises you.
Speaking of surprises, we have to admit: we were a little surprised to see your transformation into the dapper Mr. Selfridge! We’re now on season 2 and loving it. What was that transition like for you as an actor?
Ari is full blown reactive creature breaking the space in every room he enters. Harry Selfridge is a proper gentleman in all of his business transactions and after hours falls prey to his demons. Harry has been a joy to play and still continues to evolve with the series.
Your look went from trendy LA digs to buttoned-up London tailoring. Tell us about Ari’s style versus Mr. Selfridge’s style.
Domenico Vacca does Ari’s looks and he is brilliant, Harry Selfridge is completely authentic to his actual look. James Keats who designs the show is both inventive and historically accurate.
Let’s talk facial hair. Clean shaven Ari or Mr. Selfridge’s mustache?
I love not shaving.
The beard looks great on you! When you’re not shooting across the pond, one of your go-to spots is Katsuya in Hollywood. What’s your favorite dish there?
I get the steak and mushrooms. I love the staff [there] and Tasha makes it that much better, she’s a great host!