Entourage was a show on TV once. That’s my understanding. I didn’t watch it and I don’t know people who did, but I understand it existed. I wouldn’t have been certain I could pick any one of the lead actors from the show out of a police lineup, and yet, it turns out I could, because I instantly recognized Adrian Grenier, who played movie star Vincent Chase on the series, when I recently saw him as part of my Air New Zealand in-flight safety video. No, really. The star of Entourage showed me how to put on an oxygen mask.
The airline always tells you to watch the safety video but if you’ve been on a single flight before in your life you probably don’t. I wasn’t really paying attention, but I already had my headphones plugged into my seat back entertainment center for the 12-hour long flight when it started playing. Needless to say, I was transfixed as soon as I realized what was happening. What in the world is the guy from Entourage doing in an Air New Zealand safety video? It would be one thing if this was a major North American domestic airline, who clearly have all the money in the world based on what they charge for baggage, but Air New Zealand?
To be clear, it’s not like Adrian Grenier has been doing nothing but working for airlines over the last decade or so. I checked. He saw a pair of films released between the end of the main Entourage series and the 2015 film follow-up (that happened), and since then, he’s kept busy making several movies, though, to be fair, you likely haven’t heard of any of them. He made a movie with Nicolas Cage last year, and that’s probably all that needs to be said about that. Perhaps, if you have kids, you heard his voice on the Disney Channel animated series Miles From Tomorrowland, which may the highest profile thing he’s been part of in recent years.
My mind begins to race. Is Adrian Grenier from New Zealand? He doesn’t come across as a Kiwi, but he wouldn’t be the first actor to fake an American accent. Nope, I checked. He was born in New Mexico to a father of European ancestry and a mother mostly of Mexican descent. Then why in the world is he the random actor that got the call for this? Who decided that Adrian Grenier should be the face of Air New Zealand? Was he really the best option available? With the combined size of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie casts they couldn’t have found somebody with a connection to New Zealand to make this? Bofur and Bombur weren’t free? So many questions.
The video itself is sort of odd even without the celebrity element. It isn’t simply an airline safety video, it’s also got an environmental message all about the importance of protecting Antarctica. Yes, Air New Zealand flew Adrian Grenier to Antarctica to film their safety video. How much money did they spend on this? How much does the star of Entourage get paid to be in airline safety videos? Is there a SAG rate for these things?
In the video, the staff of an Antarctic research outpost gives Adrian their own safety briefing that then translates into what the airline passengers need to know. Adrian learns how to buckle the safety belt on as snowmobile, thus teaching us how to buckle ours. The production value is actually remarkably high. I mean, if you’re going to bring over “the star of Entourage” why do anything less?
Is this the start of a trend? Will we see more actors from canceled TV series finding work blowing into inflatable life vests? We can only hope.