Jeremy Piven Shares His Own Bar Mitzvah Experience: My Bar Mitzvah was perfect. It was in my basement. There was no theme. I cant believe I even did it and made it. I was not the most successful Bar Mitzvah student. I was probably the worst Hebrew student of the bunch, mostly because at the time I was playing football and if we would win, which we actually did a lot, the team would go to McDonalds and celebrate. When youre a kid, thats like huge. So instead of McNuggets and apple pie, I was learning Hebrew. Religion came to me in a very kind of awkward way.
Asked his motivation for going through with his Bar Mitzvah, Piven said, You know, I didnt quite understand, to be honest with you Its a rite of passage which, I think, I wish we had more in this culture. You seem to go to other cultures and you have a lot of them, its important to have these. Ultimately, youre supposed to be responsible for your actions by the time you take your Bar Mitzvah, which is very young for all that stuff. When youre that age, I was trying to make out with Melissa Bruce to be honest. Thats what I was trying to do. Hopefully I was going to get lucky.
A Sense of Déjà vu Playing an Agent Once Again: Piven plays agent Ari Gold on the HBO series Entourage but that didnt turn him off from reading the script for Keeping Up With the Steins. Its not about the job, really. Its about the character itself that was so different. The energy was so different. That energy is different than Ari Gold. I thought thats also a really fun challenge because if youre playing another agent, then theyre going to go, Oh, this guy again, and its not. Hes a guy who operates much differently so that was fascinating to me.
Hes got this beautiful family. He had a terrible Bar Mitzvah and hes doing everything he can not to repeat the same mistakes with his son. Hes obviously trying too hard and is over-invested, and thats what parents do sometimes.
Piven Doesnt Partake in the Keeping Up with the Neighbors Game: I really dont. Im so proud of other peoples success, I really am. Im really happy to own that feeling. I think any time you start letting other peoples success get to you is when life is gonna be a very long, strange, hard road. Im not in competition with my neighbors, no.
Finding the Comedy in Abandonment Issues: Thats what I thought was an interesting little challenge within itself. Sometimes theyre not funny, but you have to make jokes at times as well to kind of sidestep the pain. Thats what these characters do and thats real. Its the backdrop of the Bar Mitzvah and the competitive world of the Bar Mitzvah at that, thats when you can hold up and watch a story about among other themes, abandonment.
The Lengthy Wait for a Bar Mitzvah Comedy: Piven said he doesnt know why it took so long for Hollywood to make a comedy about a Bar Mitzvah. Its a good question. I know there was one called Bloom Theres a bunch of Bar Mitzvah movies being kicked around. Thats another reason why I wanted to do it because its just so fertile for comedy.
Jeremy Piven Avoided Being Typecast in Jewish Roles: Theres no fight. I just think it was boring to keep repeating yourself. Ive been acting my whole life and I love doing it. If youve logged the hours, youve developed some kind of a range. I was always doing stage stuff that I was playing 900-year-old men called Cthusalem when I was 24, with fat pads on. Thats the great thing about being on the stage is you can play any character you want. I have all these different characters inside of me that Im capable of doing. All it takes is someone whos willing to sign off and let me do it.
The difference between the gay Versace salesman [in Rush Hour 2] and Ari Gold is the world - and I want to fill in the rest of it. There are some actors that are smart in the way that they have shown their versatility, so that you cant count them out. I don't think theres a roll that comes up and you go, Mmm, I dont think Sean Penn can do it, because hes proven himself. He can step up. That really interests me. Thats fascinating to me. I think the best actor out there is a guy named Javier Bardem whos unstoppable.