On Entourage, Rex Lee plays agent Ari Gold’s flamboyant assistant Lloyd, spending the last couple seasons acting as the perfect comic foil for Ari. With Entourage premiering its first new episode in months this Sunday, April 8th, Rex took the time to stop by and talk with us at BuddyTV. We discussed his acting history, working with Jeremy Piven, and what’s coming up on this new season of Entourage.
Below, check out the transcript of our interview, along with the full audio mp3.
BuddyTV: Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into acting; how you got into Hollywood? Was it something you always had wanted to do?
Rex: Well, you know, some of my earliest memories are of when I was two or three and I had this weird idea that I wanted to be an actor. Having said that, I really didn’t follow that path very early. I think when I was a kid and I said I wanted to be an actor, nobody took me seriously and I think I didn’t take myself seriously. So I know I had this idea in my head but I didn’t really pursue it at all. I went to a music school and I studied piano performance and half way through that program I just realized wow, I just don’t even want to be a professional musician at all. And for a while I floundered, but I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew, I always knew that I wanted to, you know, express myself creatively somehow. So it was really just a matter of figuring out how I was going to do that. And then I took my very first acting class and I thought, oh, I just felt right, I felt like I was home. I don’t know, it was sort of an epiphany for me.
Can you tell us how you landed the role of Lloyd?
Sure. Well, you know, I became aware that they were looking for somebody. A friend told me that they were looking for somebody to play this gay Asian role who is an assistant to the agent and you know I just heard the description and I thought, “Well I could do that.” And I submitted myself and I got the audition and everything just, you know, fell into place. I went to the audition and it went really well and I went to the call back and Doug Ellin and Larry Charles were like sprawled out on these couches and they were just giggling the whole time I was auditioning. I mean it’s great that I got the role but I like to think that if I hadn’t been cast that I’d always remember the two of them just lying there giggling and that would have been a good memory. But it’s a really good memory now because I got the role.
How many episodes were you originally contracted for?
Well, that season was 14 episodes long and they’d written 7 episodes of those 14 and my character appeared in 4 of those episodes. So I suppose if I had, you know, gone to work and they hadn’t been happy with the work I did that Ari probably would have fired yet another assistant. There was never any guarantee that the role would last but it turned out that they were happy with my work so I’m still around to talk about it.
As Lloyd, you tend to take a lot of verbal abuse from Ari. Is that ever difficult to handle?
Not at all, not at all. You know people always ask me, “Why does Lloyd stay there? Don’t you ever want to tell him off or hit him?” I’m shocked at how many people ask me if I want to hit Jeremy [Piven]. Well, no, it’s all acting. I know that when they call cut it’s all over and Jeremy’s going to be sweet Jeremy again. And the other thing is, if it was my real life I’m sure it would suck but you know I get paid to have somebody yell at me and say horrible things to me. I get paid and I get paid well and that makes me happy so…I don’t resent it at all.
I think one of the things that makes the whole Ari/Lloyd dynamic so great, so funny, is the way that Lloyd reacts to Ari when he goes on his tirades. How integral do you think that is to the humor of those scenes? Because I think if Lloyd reacted differently they wouldn’t be as funny, right?
Well, I’m curious, how do you think Lloyd reacts, just out of curiosity?
I think a combination of maybe some pity and just being non-plussed and, you know, he’s looking down on Ari a little bit.
I like that. Here’s the first thing I’ll say is I was an assistant to various casting directors before I landed this role and I know what it’s like to be an assistant and having said that, I never really was a doormat. I always let…sometimes I took the abuse and didn’t like it and therefore I think that you know, I like to think that I brought something to the role that has lasted and maybe even has even inspired the writers to, I don’t know, what am I trying to say? I’m trying to say that in my mind, Lloyd is not a doormat. In some ways he’s sort of sassy and combative and he doesn’t really take everything. He takes some of it and I like to think that the writers have seen that and have added their own spin to that.
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