Mercury Tears

A Defamer report about Jeremy Piven‘s tearful pleading during yesterday’s Speed-the-Plow hearing, sourcing Patrick Healy‘s N.Y. Times report and filed at 2:10 this morning by Ryan Tate, is so tartly written and seething with such heartless cynicism that I’m just going to paste most of it here:

“Jeremy Piven [yesterday] convinced five other actors his mercury poisoning is real, deadlocking a union hearing and sparing Piven penalties for leaving Speed-the-Plow. How did he do it? Maybe with some crying.

During a 20-minute interview with Healy at the Times, conducted after the three-hour Actor’s Equity hearing that ended in a split-vote and a non-conviction, the Entourage star “twice broke down in tears,” Healy reported.

“He cried as he described the stress of fearing for his health while pushing himself to continue with the play. ‘I’ve never missed a day’s work or a rehearsal in my life,’ Piven said. ‘I think there’s a reason you’ve never heard of any problem like this before.’

“Healy also noted that Piven ‘looked exhausted and often meandered’ during his interview,” Tate wrote. “Which, along with the crying, is totally fake-able, especially by, say, an actor. And which could also be symptoms of suddenly-curtailed access to a stimulant.

“There’s no word yet on the results of tests performed by a doctor other than Piven’s sketchy personal M.D., results that had been expected at the hearing, so all we have to go on is the word of Piven and his doctor. The actor also said he was in bed ‘almost every night’ — you can find the known exceptions here.

“Certainly the producers [at the hearing] were not convinced. Their five reps all voted against Piven, while the five Actor’s Equity reps voted with him. (Actor’s Equity includes both actors and stagehands.) The producers have the option of escalating to more aggressive proceedings. It’s not clear if they’ll do that , but lead complainant Jeffrey Richards pulled an apparently snarky move on the Times:

“‘Reached by telephone at home after the hearing,” Healy writes, “Mr. Richards said he was sick and on medication and would have no comment.’

“This snide joke is actually a nice opening for Piven’s p.r. team. If it trumpets Richard’s purported sickness as evidence that illl health regularly prevents hardworking people from doing their jobs, Richards will be in a bind: He either concedes the point or, to dispute it, admits he was lying.

“As for Piven’s honesty, it’s almost irrelevant at this point,” Tate concludes. “If Piven told the truth Thursday, and has [indeed] been going through hell, he deserves more credit for his acting, specifically for his professional commitment to Speed-the-Plow. If he lied, duping fellow thespians and a Times reporter, he also deserves more credit for his acting, specifically for being such a convincing con man.”

Here’s another version of the story by the N.Y. Post‘s Michael Riedel, Jeremy Olshan and Kirsten Fleming.

  • Breedlove

    Jeff, thought you were gonna play paparazzi yesterday? No pictures?

  • Howlingman

    Sounds like the first genuinely (and only) GREAT Piven performance. Too bad we all missed it

  • Sabina E

    what a goddamned crybaby.

  • Rich S.

    I wonder how many folks in Japan try this excuse to get out of work. My guess is not many.

  • Letters of Transit

    Isn’t Piven’s physician Dr. Leo Spaceman?

  • actionman

    you must not watch Entourage, Howlingman

  • Howlingman

    Is Entourage the one where he plays a motormouth asshole? ‘Cause I’ve never seen a Piven performance like that …

  • Breedlove

    Letters, that’s the doc from 30 Rock, right? Funny as hell. That guy kills me.

  • Rich S.

    It’s pronounced “spa-chee-mun”.

  • VoiceOfReason

    Wells, you are soooo gay for Pivin!

  • Letters of Transit

    Breedlove, how important is tooth retention to you?

    What’s up with Piven’s hair? Is it a wig or hair transplant??

  • BurmaShave

    What the fuck happened to Piven? That picture is not the guy who played the Doctor in HEAT.

  • hunterd

    How can they sue him for lost profits…if THE SHOW TURNED A PROFIT!

  • DeafBrownTrashPunk

    what a goddamned crybaby.

  • Breedlove

    How important is tooth retention to me? Uhhh…I don’t get it…is that a 30 Rock reference I’m missing, or are you threatening to knock my teeth out? If it’s the latter, um, huh?

  • rr3333

    Amazing what a personal trainer and a hair weave can do for a guy.

    From Costanza to Jackman Jr. !

  • Cadavra

    “How can they sue him for lost profits…if THE SHOW TURNED A PROFIT!”

    Duh. Receipts dropped sharply when he left. Just because it turned a profit doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have made even more money had he stayed.

  • Edward

    Whatever happened to the show must go on? I’ve performed when I’ve had the flu. I had an actor perform after he had fallen off a roof and he was in severe pain and had to use a cane. Theatre is hard work, and there’s no trailer to hide in and no craft service, oh poor Jeremy!

  • Letters of Transit

    Breddlove: the teeth thing is a 30 Rock Leo Spaceman reference. Not a threat at all.

  • Nate West

    A tv actor famous for playing a manipulative asshole gets out of his stage contract by claiming mercury poisoning from a lifetime of eating sushi… and then goes on to redemption by delivering a knockout performance at a three-hour Actor’s Equity hearing.

    Forget Damn Yankees, we’ve got our musical!

  • Breedlove

    Ha ha, ok. I’m an idiot. Guess I haven’t seen that episode. Thought I ran into a commenter with some serious anger issues for a second there. Funny.

  • Howlingman

    I guess at the very least Piven should add “mercurial” to his official Bio.