When Entourage creator Doug Ellin was developing storylines for Season 7 of the comedy, he approached adult film star turned mainstream actress Sasha Grey about doing a storyline in the vein of the Charlie Sheen/Ginger Lynn relationship of the 1990s. Luckily, she was game to sign on for the successful HBO series because, if she hadn’t been interested, the storyline would have been cut, as she was Ellin’s first and only choice for the role.
Although she didn’t have any television acting experience, Sasha Grey jumped at the opportunity to work with such talented people, both in front of and behind the camera. In an exclusive phone interview with Collider, the cross-over star talked about playing a version of herself, showing sides of her personality that people may not have seen before, and the importance of being disciplined and dedicated, if you want to succeed. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
Question: How did you get involved with Entourage? Did they approach you and ask you to do it, or did you have to audition?
Sasha: Doug Ellin, the creator, approached me and I took a meeting with him and Ally [Musika], the other writer and executive producer. I went in the building and they were playing ping-pong, and it was a really casual, fun environment, much like the show, and they told me what they wanted. They wanted Vince (Adrian Grenier) to have a new long-term girlfriend, and it was going to be in the vein of the Charlie Sheen and Ginger Lynn relationship of the ‘90s. So, it sounded fun to me, and a cool way to be myself, but also play a different version of myself as well.
Had you been a fan of the show, or did you have to catch up with the DVDs once you were cast?
Sasha: I was a fan of the show, but I didn’t watch it religiously, so I did go buy every season and I caught up with the storyline.
Did you have any hesitation about doing a TV show, or did it help that it was already a proven success with such talented people involved?
Sasha: I had no hesitations, actually. It was a great opportunity to throw myself into a situation where I was acting alongside real professionals. It’s interesting because it’s like a baby step. I’m acting with real actors, but I’m playing myself, but I’m also playing a character, so it’s half and half. It’s not full-force, but it’s a nice way to step into it and get a feel for what’s to come, and the TV world as well.
Was it reassuring to know that they were so supportive of you that they wouldn’t have even pursued this storyline, if you weren’t interested in doing the show?
Sasha: Oh, it definitely stroked my ego, I’m not going to lie about that. Yeah, that was really nice to hear, and I’m glad that I was their choice for this. It’s a nice affirmation that you’re doing well and you’re going to continue to do well.
What can you say about who you’re playing and how she fits into the story this season?
Sasha: What can I say without spoiling it? Well, Vince had a terrible accident on a movie set, so he’s ready to take risks that he wasn’t ready or willing to take before. And, I come in and we definitely have an interesting relationship. I’m like a racehorse to Vince. He’s always trying to keep up with me and, when he can’t, that male ego steps in and it’s frustrating for him. I’m one of the first women that has the confidence of being sure of myself and not needing him, but wanting the relationship and enjoying being together. Throughout the course of the season, you see a progression in the relationship. We’re always trying to test each other.
Just how wild and crazy do things get between you guys?
Sasha: I can’t say too much without ruining it, but there’s definitely a lot of emotion involved. It’s going to be taken to a place that I don’t think most fans expect, and I think that’s a good thing.
What do Vince’s boys think of you? Will there be some conflicts there, or do they like you?
Sasha: You’ll have to wait and see. Of course, Turtle likes me.
When you’re playing a version of yourself, how much of the actual you goes into the character and how much do the writers just run with it?
Sasha: They’ve definitely allowed me to be goofy because I am goofy, but that’s a side that a lot of people aren’t able to see. The stuff I’ve done with G4, people have been able to see the fun side of me, which has been great, and they were definitely able to put in the funny, silly and carefree side of me. But then, they also show my serious side and the fact that I stand up for myself. Vince and I, in the show, are always testing each other, so there’s definitely a party Sasha, and that’s not me, at all. This girl is very young Hollywood. She’s living for today, and not really worrying about tomorrow. She takes chances in her relationships and in her personal life, and I’m very safe with the people I surround myself with. I’m really particular about the friends that I keep because life is so short, and I think she definitely takes more chances with the people she lets in. But, they could be gone the next day and it wouldn’t affect her either.
Once you were cast, did the writers sit down with you and talk about what parts of you, you would be okay with including, or did they just go with their interpretation of you?
Sasha: No, we didn’t have any discussions after the initial meeting, but Doug Ellin and Ally are great writers because they picked up stuff, just from conversations we would have on set, and put it into the next episode. It was really cool to be like, “Oh, wow, we talked about that for, maybe, two minutes.” Some of the best writers are very observant writers, and they definitely threw in the fact that I love Godard. I was actually trying to get Vince to go see an Antonioni film, and they changed it to Godard because they know that most of my fans know me for loving Godard, so they wanted to keep that angle. So, they’re definitely very observant about me. But, there’s a part in there where I say, “Oh, I moved out when I was 14,” and that didn’t happen. There’s definitely a big part of me in there, but a large part of it is also character.
Do you have any concern with people thinking this is you because you’re playing a version of yourself?
Sasha: You always worry about that, no matter what the role is and no matter whether the character’s name is Sasha or not. I still have fans from The Girlfriend Experience who think that’s really me, and they say, “Hey, how’s your boyfriend Chris?” I’m like, “You wanna call him? That’s not my boyfriend. That was a film. That’s a character.” I blame it on social networking and how information is dispersed nowadays. People don’t really absorb everything they read or hear. They just look at it quickly, and then they choose to remember what they want to remember. That worry is definitely always with me, in everything I do. But, it’s Entourage and it’s a comedy. It’s funny. It’s not supposed to be super-serious. So, while it’s there, at the same time, I trust that it will be great and, at the end of the day, it’s not a huge concern.
Was one of the big appeals of doing this show the fact that so many of your fans will get to see sides of you that they may not have seen before?
Sasha: Definitely, yeah. And, not only that, but they get to see me acting alongside real actors, and testing myself in different ways. So, yeah, it’s great to be able to show my fans that there are these other sides to Ms. Sasha Grey.
Were you nervous or did you feel intimidated at all, being the new person coming into this already well-established show?
Sasha: I thought I would be, honestly. But, when I got there, everybody was very welcoming. There’s definitely a short-hand that a lot of people have with each other on set. Sometimes they’ll be talking and you’re like, “What are you talking about?” But, other than that, everybody was really welcoming.
What have you learned about yourself, as an actress, from being a part of something like this, working with all the different directors and all of these talented actors?
Sasha: It’s interesting. It just reaffirmed for me that you have to be disciplined and dedicated, if you want to do well, especially because TV shoots so quickly and you are working with different directors. You’re not working with the same director every week, so you really have to be grounded and know who your character is. At the end of the day, one director might feel a certain way about a scene, and the next week the next director is going to feel a different way, and you want your character to be consistent. You don’t want it to feel like it’s all over the place and the person has no soul. I say that lightly, but you really have to be grounded and know that the choices you’re making are the right choices.
What else do you have coming up that your fans can keep an eye out for?
Sasha: I have two albums coming out, with my band aTelecine, soon. We had some problems with the testing, so they took a little bit longer than expected. A special I did for G4 will be coming out, in the next few months. I also have a book coming out this Fall, called Neu Sex. And, I have a few projects coming up this summer that I can’t really talk about yet.
Are you more selective now, as far as what you want to do next?
Sasha: Yeah. Honestly, I look at the project and I look at the people attached and I look at the director. If it’s a role that I feel will help me, as an actor, then I’ll definitely take it. But, if it’s not going to help me, then why do it? So, I am selective, but at the same time, I want to be out there as an actor and show people my range.