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September 3, 2015

Adrian Grenier Talks Fame, the Paparazzi and Paris Hilton

by Chris Jordan, posted Sep 27th 2010 1:00PM
Teenage PaparazzoAdrian Grenier, the person, has a bit more depth than Vince, the character, he plays on 'Entourage.'

Take Grenier's new project, 'Teenage Paparazzo,' which debuts at Mon., Sept, 27 at 9PM ET on HBO. The documentary chronicles the life of a 14-year old paparazzo named Austin who stalks celebs in the middle of the night in Los Angeles.

But Grenier -- who wrote, directed and stars in 'Teenage Paparazzo' -- broadens the scope of his doc to make it a multi-layered look at celebrity in our fame-obsessed world. He becomes a paparazzo himself and and interviews high-wattage stars Alec Baldwin, Paris Hilton, Matt Damon, Lindsay Lohan about their experiences, plus talks to big-idea thinkers like Noam Chomsky and Jake Halpern about fans' "relationships" with celebs. It's that pseudo relationship that's fueling today's paparazzi frenzy, according to Grenier's documentary.

'Teenage Paparazzo' depicts a celebrity culture spinning out of control with blame evenly distributed to all sides. It's also quite comical piece at times, with Grenier and Hilton -- a rather insightful celeb, we might add -- gauging the scope of today's interest in fame by staging faux media events.

Grenier, who also directed the doc 'Shot in the Dark' for HBO in 2007, checked in with us to chat about 'Teenage Paparazzo' and to tell us that teen paparazzo Austin is doing fine these days.

Adrian GrenierIt took you about three years to complete this project. What surprised you the most?
I guess at the end of day, I didn't realize that as much as I was trying to guide and teach this young boy (Austin) about the ethics of paparazzi, I would ultimately be staring myself down this hall of mirrors and have to learn that lesson myself.

Rightly or wrongly, you said a journalist like myself is part of the situation ... I'm part of the problem.
I wouldn't say problem but we're all contributing to the same landscape of images. The smorgasbord of reflections, for better or for worse, that what we're a part of. It's not just me and it's not Austin, but it's now everybody. We all have cameras now. We all have an opportunity to communicate -- the question is what kind of pictures do we want to tell?

There were some very telling scenes when Austin was out shooting and a crew was taking pictures of him, then another crew was taking pictures of that crew. Basically, everybody was just standing around taking pictures of each other.
I had went to find Austin who was sort of blowing me off for another interview and when I showed up it was like a circle jerk of media. Everybody was sort of indulging each other with pictures.

And when you went to film the paparazzi in a different scene, they didn't want to get their pictures taken. Seems hypocritical.
Yeah, it's true. They have a guilty conscience. They're paranoid that everybody has the same guilty intentions as they do, the same selfish intentions. I was determined to prove them wrong and to demonstrate how best to put forth respectful media, self-conscious media, with personal responsibility.

You also go in-depth about the idea of para-social, or one-sided, relationships with authors like Jake Halpern.
I was trying to create a language for people to talk about this subject. I think people instinctively understand these themes and ideas, but there's not a common language we share that we can communicate and respond to these ideas. I think if people have a language, it allows them to be more concrete. If you go to the website Teenagepaparazzo.com, I'm looking to sort of make this film experience non-linear so it's not just a passive watch-the-movie and be done with it. But we have a list of all the books that influences the movie on the site.

Paris Hilton, Adrian GrenierWhat was Paris Hilton's reaction to the documentary? She really breaks down the concepts being discussed.
She saw it and her response was quote-unquote "dope'' ... She was very generous to invite me into her world and share her experiences. I rather like Paris. She's a cool girl who, dare I say it, is an artist and her art form is the tabloid.

What do you hope from your future 'Entourage' work? (Ed. note: In the season finale, police found a bag of cocaine on Vince.)
I have no idea what's going to happen, but I look forward to digging myself out of this mess as Vince.

Via 'Entourage' and now this movie, you've kind of become an observer of what's going on our celebrity-inundated world. Is that a role you perhaps look forward to developing?
Media and the sociological and philosophical aspects of how media affects all of us has always been something that has interested me and it's such a vital and burgeoning topic, especially with the way technology is really making everything explode. If I can continue to study this topic, maybe I'll make a career out of going around and talking about it?

'Teenage Paparazzo' trailer

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Noam Chomsky?! I just started to give a damn.

September 29 2010 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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