ON THE HIT SHOW ENTOURAGE, Kevin Connolly plays a nice guy who swaps coasts, hits it big in Hollywood, and dates drop-dead-gorgeous women. In his real life, things aren't all that different. By Allison Winn Scotch
KEVIN CONNOLLY is celebrating a special anniversary with me.
"It's funny that we're doing this interview today," he says when he calls from the set of Entourage, now in its fifth season. "Because when I woke up this morning, I had a text message from my mother --"
"Wait," I interrupt him. "Your mother texts you?"
Connolly laughs. "Yes, my mom learned how to text and it has been, like, the worst. At first, they were little texts, like, 'Call me,' and now they are full-on listing points. And then she gets mad when I don't respond," he says.
It turns out that the day Connolly and I are chatting is the 28-year anniversary of the day he got his first gig: modeling for an inflatable pool. Really? An inflatable pool? As I found out, 34-year-old Connolly, an affable guy with an easy laugh, is full of surprises.
So, inflatable pools. Do you remember much about your first job? I just remember that I was sitting in a plastic pool and I had a beach ball. I was on the cover of those boxes at places like Modell's.
And when you're six years old, that's like the highlight of your life. Yeah, because in Long Island, Modell's was the spot where everybody hung out.
Is it true you were discovered at a wedding? I was at a wedding on March 18, 1980 -- my mother and I are both very date-oriented. I took head shots, and they started putting me out there. It was a few months before I got my first job.
But you had a normal childhood. For example, I know that you were crowned homecoming king. Congrats, by the way. I was! Yeah, all things considered, I was pretty normal for the most part. The funny thing is, the normalcy of my childhood hurt my career as a kid but paid off in the long run. I'd go off for four months for wrestling season and then hockey. I also would never read for TV shows, because I just flat-out refused to move to California. I would only do things that either (a) were movies or (b) stayed strictly in New York. I was never, ever, ever moving to L.A. when I was nine or 10 years old.
When Entourage hit, it hit big. After years in the trenches, did you have any expectation of how life-changing it would be? No. I have done so many pilots in my life that it was just another pilot -- like, "Okay, here is what I'm getting paid for this pilot, and if I get it, that will be enough money to hold me over through the summer." You literally look at it as a paycheck. I mean, if you would have told me … You can't even describe how life-changing it's been.
So when did you realize that you could relax and exhale? [Executive producer] Mark Wahlberg called me when the show got picked up, and he said, "We're on Sunday night, and it is eight episodes." And I thought, "Wow, that is a big deal," knowing that Sex in the City was on its way out and that HBO was looking for something to fill that void. That was a day when I thought, "Maybe this is really something."
Entourage is a fairly insider-Hollywood show, yet people who aren't remotely connected to the industry love it. Why do you think that is? It's a wish-fulfillment show. I have guys come up to me and say that they go into work Monday questioning their lives. They think that [the characters] are just so normal, that they could do that too.
You've also been taking a crack at directing movies, commercials, and music videos. Does one hat appeal more to you than the other? I always say that acting versus directing is like playing two different positions in the same sport. I don't prefer one over the other. I just do two different things because I really, really, really enjoy them both on many levels. On Entourage, I spend a lot of time stretched out in my chair when we are shooting, looking at girls walking around.
Rough life. [Laughs] Yeah. But with directing, there aren't enough seconds in the day; you constantly have a gun to your head, and there's an adrenaline about actually being able to pull off the task at hand. But then, after I made my movie, I couldn't wait to get back to acting and having everybody else tell me what to do.
The Best of Both Worlds
Like his character on the show, Kevin Connolly is a Los Angeles transplant who originally hails from New York. We put the bicoastal actor to the test to find out where his loyalties lie.
New York. Obviously. But now that I've said that, I'm an investor in an L.A. pizza place -- Cristoni's -- so I have to say L.A. [Laughs]
L.A. -- the only reason being that bars there close at 1:30 or two. So it equals a better day the next day. Put it that way.
Ooh … L.A., based on my experience. [Laughs] Fair answer?
BEST SPORTS TEAMS
New York. I'm a die-hard Islander fan, and then a Yankee fan.
New York, for sure. Everyone there does something different. And I'd rather listen to people talk about what they do than hear one of my friends talk about how they didn't get an audition or a callback.
New York. Everything seems to move faster there. I'm a notoriously fast walker and talker. I do everything at high speed.