Interview: “Entourage”’s Rex Lee is No Doormat (Especially This Season)

Lloyd has finally had it.

For the first five seasons of HBO’s Hollywood satire Entourage, the beautiful movie star at the center of the show has (mostly) been represented by Ari Gold, a blustering jackass of an agent.

And for five seasons, the primary object of Ari’s bigoted sadism has been Lloyd, his long-suffering gay assistant.

The result is a shocking black comedy tour-de-force that has won nothing but acclaim for the two actors involved: Jeremy Piven (who has won three Emmys for the role) and out actor Rex Lee, who has gone from “reoccurring” status in the first few seasons, to being a regular main character.

But now in the show’s sixth season, which debuted on Sunday, Lloyd has finally had it with Ari’s racist, homophobic rantings. He’s laid down the law: if Ari doesn’t make him a full-fledged agent (and start treating him with respect), he’s quitting. And this time, he really seems to mean it.

In response, Ari makes him a deal: if for three months Lloyd does everything he says – and we mean everything – then Ari will grant his wish.

Photo Credit: Claudette Barius/HBO

Is this just another one of Ari’s sadistic mind-f***s? Or is the relationship between Ari and Lloyd changing for good? One thing is certain: Lloyd, and the actor who plays him, will have a whole lot more screen-time this season.

Recently, we chatted with Lee about his enhanced storyline, those Jeremy-Piven-is-a-jackass-for-real rumors, and the acting challenges in avoiding Asian stereotypes — not to mention whether he really lost that fifteen pounds that Ari insisted his character lose! So Lloyd finally has a major storyline! How did this come to be?

Rex Lee:
I don’t know how it came to be, exactly. I like to think I’ve been doing good work the last few years and I was rewarded. [laughs] My boss, Doug Ellin, sent me the first three scripts before we started shooting, so I didn’t exactly know where the storyline was going, but I saw it had a good beginning.

AE: So there was never any discussion on your part where you went to the producers and said, "Look, Lloyd has been taking this abuse for all these years and he needs to stand up for himself"? It just sort of came out of left field?

Yes. I was pleasantly surprised. It turns out, unbeknownst to me, other people, some of whom I know and some I don’t, were sort of pleading my case for me. Way after the fact, he indicated that a lot of people talked to him and said, "What’s going to happen with Lloyd? He’s been Ari’s assistant for a long time."

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