Adrian Grenier: ‘Acting is my day job, but at night, I get to be a superhero’

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Full disclosure: Adrian Grenier remains the only celebrity to ever send me a thank you note. I saw Grenier speak on his college tour four years ago and he DMed me after to thank me for covering him so positively. So I’m going to be nice here and give him the benefit of the doubt, because he seemed incredibly earnest to me in person and like he really wanted to make a difference in the world. That said, Grenier comes off bizarrely in this new interview with NY Mag, like a wacky hipster with an inflated sense of self. It doesn’t even sound like this piece is biased, as we’ve seen from say Esquire. It just sounds like the journalist, Anna Silman, is repeating the things Grenier told her on a night out, and his quotes are golden. Grenier claims to have “pioneered” Williamsburg, the Brooklyn neighborhood that’s become so gentrified that Grenier says it’s too expensive now even for him. He also talks about Burning Man like it’s a new world he similarly discovered, and he actually uses that simile. He doesn’t use plastic straws because he’s an environmentalist with a focus on the ocean and plastic straws end up polluting oceans. Grenier’s reasoning for not using plastic straws makes no sense though. Grenier is described as passionate about everything, and very warm to people, and that sounds about right. He also sounds super high, which would put most of these quotes into context.

He tells the waiter not to use straws
“We consume 500 million straws each day. The equivalent of 127 school buses filled with straws. It’s disgusting, ” Adrian Grenier declares the minute I sit down, brandishing a plastic straw that the waiter had forgotten to remove. “There should be children in those school buses, going to school, to learn, not straws,” he adds, wryly.

Grenier orders me a mezcal soda, his drink of choice. “No straw, no fruit,” he tells the waiter. I don’t have the chance to find out what’s so harmful about lime wedges before he turns to look at me, fixing me with the same penetrating gaze that rendered so many beautiful women powerless over the course of Entourage’s eight seasons and a movie. “He might forget, or the guy at the bar may forget, so you have barriers to success,” he explains. “But now we’ve planted a seed, and he’s going to think about that.”

He calls himself a superhero but says anyone can be one
I ask Grenier how he defines himself nowadays. He says he doesn’t like the word environmentalist, because it sounds too radical. “I’m a guy who cares about people,” he says. “Acting is my day job, but at night, I get to be a superhero. There are superheroes, people who fly or have all these extraterrestrial powers or supernatural abilities. Everybody can be a superhero every day by doing very simple things. Change the world.”

On whether he would consider himself a feminist
I would consider myself a feminist,” says Grenier when I ask him. “But women don’t need my permission to take what is rightfully theirs after all these years, so I don’t even need to declare my feminism as a righteous thing. I just am, because I recognize that it’s happening, it’s right. And I’m just in awe of it and excited about the prospect. Maybe our saving grace is if we can balance the male energy, which tends to be short-term thinking, overly aggressive, often indelicate, with the feminine energy, which is more careful study and frankly more sophisticated, we might actually be able to build a world that would be in balance.”

On experiencing Burning Man for the first time
“It’s a bunch of people who are open, available to connect, and artistic, and are all conspiring to make the most amazing piece of art, which is everybody collaborating,” he says. “It’s fantastic.”

I observe that one of the biggest problems with people I know who go to Burning Man is that they never stop talking about it.

“It’s like, could you imagine having discovered America?” he says. “Would you stop talking about that? It’s like, I went to this new land. There’s nothing like it. And that’s the thing. It’s captivating, because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. And I’m worldly, I’ve been around the world. And it happens to reflect the value system that I agree with.”

On pioneering Williamsburg
“I pioneered Williamsburg. It got so gentrified that I had to come to Bushwick. I lived two blocks away, and then this place opened, and I couldn’t afford to live in this neighborhood,” he says, gesturing around Roberta’s, which opened in 2008. “We used to have to walk three miles backward in the snow for a cup of coffee when we lived here. Now there’s, like, baristas and cold brew.”

[From NY Mag]

So the verdict is that he was high, right? I actually like what he said about feminism because he gets it, he realizes what it is and he’s not conflating feminism with the fringe movements or the people who claim it’s anti-men. All that stuff about male and female energy sounds strange to me, but I’m a pragmatist not a dreamer. This is the first time I’ve realized that plastic straws pollute the ocean and instead of concocting some imaginary scenario where kids are going to school in buses that used to carry straws (HOW IS THAT CONNECTED?), I would just focus on the fact that turtles, fish and wildlife are eating the plastic and dying. Now I’m going to put a reusable silly straw in my purse to use for later and call it a day. I similarly carry nylon shopping bags with me so I’m not using a lot of plastic. These are practical things I’m doing but it doesn’t make me a superhero. I did help gentrify my neighborhood though. When I ditch this place I’m going to make sure all the neighbors know that I’m the one who rejuvenated the neighborhood just by showing up, recycling, riding my bike to the store and cutting up the plastic rings on my diet coke packs. I planted that seed.

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photos credit: WENN.com

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36 Responses to “Adrian Grenier: ‘Acting is my day job, but at night, I get to be a superhero’”

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  1. LannisterForever says:

    He seems pretty bizarre in this interview but wow, is he gorgeous.

    If he had just come back from Burning Man I feel like the odds of him being high in this interview are actually quite high :D

    • Vizia says:

      And frankly, shortly after getting back from The Man, many people just feel like this even if they aren’t high. There’s a great after-burn post (don’t divorce your parakeet!) to help people navigate the first few weeks, particularly if they’re a virgin (first-time burner).

      https://lists.burningman.com/pipermail/portland-list/2010-September/010955.html

      We started going in ’94 when there were only 200 people, and stopped when it hit 50K, but no matter how many people are attending it can still be a transformative experience. it’s just that we burners can be so damn annoying about it!

    • Lama Bean says:

      Aside from the body odor (or breath?) rumors, I still find him so beautiful and one of my crushes.

      • Shelleycon says:

        Apparently he has a very large ahem…heart

      • my3cents says:

        Supposedly he’s a pretty big douche. I read an interview with an actress who worked with him and the other guys on entourage, and she said he was friendly with intent on getting into her pants. The moment he realized this was not happening he turned nasty.
        Surprisingly enough she has a bigger career now- guesses anyone?

  2. Jenns says:

    “We consume 500 million straws each day. The equivalent of 127 school buses filled with straws. It’s disgusting. There should be children in those school buses, going to school, to learn, not straws.”

    I love this quote. In fact, I’m going to print this quote out and put it on my wall right next to the picture of Kirk Cameron’s birthday photo.

    • detritus says:

      A center for ants? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read… if they can’t even fit inside the building?
      I was immediately reminded of Zoolander.

    • Felice. says:

      That legit sounds like a ClickHole quote.

    • Kitten says:

      I thought it was cute…made me chuckle.

    • Jess says:

      I got tears from laughing so hard at that, poor thing was trying so hard to with his little factoid and came off so dumb!

      • Kitten says:

        Wait, people don’t get that he was making a joke?
        Hence the descriptor “wryly”…

      • Birdix says:

        Sheryl Crow’s wondering how many toilet paper squares he uses…

      • I Choose Me says:

        I’m with Kitten that was definitely tongue in cheek.

      • Kitten says:

        @ I Choose Me-I’m thinking maybe people are making assumptions here based on his character on Entourage (besides missing the very obvious joke) because he’s actually a smart guy. You can hate him because of his sexist show, but if you’ve seen him in even one interview, you can’t say he’s not intelligent.

    • Cousin Erika says:

      I know, right!? I cannot stop laughing at that quote! It gets funnier every time I read it. I mean…yeah, no, I can’t stop laughing.

    • AgeofBellendia says:

      It’s going to next to my Kellan Lutz ‘I’ll win an Oscar one day’ quote :P

      • Kitten says:

        I’m just going to put this here…

        wry.
        ADJECTIVE
        1. using or expressing dry, especially mocking, humor
        synonyms: ironic · sardonic · satirical · mocking · sarcastic · dry ·

        He was making fun of himself, guys.
        The fact that people aren’t getting that just reminds me how much I need to watch what I type around here lol… Yikes.

    • Chicken says:

      I mean, I can only assume he was alluding to Zoolander there? It’s too similar not to be, right?

  3. detritus says:

    On whether he would consider himself a feminist
    I would consider myself a feminist,” says Grenier when I ask him. “But women don’t need my permission to take what is rightfully theirs after all these years, so I don’t even need to declare my feminism as a righteous thing. I just am, because I recognize that it’s happening, it’s right. And I’m just in awe of it and excited about the prospect. Maybe our saving grace is if we can balance the male energy, which tends to be short-term thinking, overly aggressive, often indelicate, with the feminine energy, which is more careful study and frankly more sophisticated, we might actually be able to build a world that would be in balance.”

    Oh honey, you had me until the second half on male and female energy.
    He seems to care deeply and be a little head in the clouds. I can get behind that. The male Shailene Woodley. But with a giant hipster twist. If he laid off talking about how cool he was his points would be more impactful.

    • Kitten says:

      I know, I know..but aren’t we nitpicking just a bit? Or am I just being biased because I’ve had a crush on this guy forever, despite the fact that he was in a bro series like Entourage?

      Maybe love IS blind but I really liked most of what he said here, save for the Williamsburg nonsense (although I’m still hoping that he was just being facetious).
      People are going to call him pretentious and annoying, but I think he’s a genuinely good dude with a good heart who really cares. I like that he holds so strongly to his beliefs because that hippy shit doesn’t amount to beneficial PR for any actor except DiCaprio.

      • detritus says:

        I am tempted to just leave him be here too. The first part was SO good.

        He seems like the slightly pretentious hippies that abound in any intellectual or artistic community. Sometimes its a bit out there, and the thought experiments are well… special, but his heart is mostly in the right place.

        This quote though,

        “It’s a bunch of people who are open, available to connect, and artistic, and are all conspiring to make the most amazing piece of art, which is everybody collaborating,” he says. “It’s fantastic.”

        They are all banging each other free-love style aren’t they?

      • Kitten says:

        YES. I think “pretentious hippy” is really accurate coinage here.
        …So much so that I’m stealing it, with your permission of course.

        “They are all banging each other free-love style aren’t they?”
        LOL..oh, undoubtedly. Sigh. Reminds me of my art school days…

    • Josefina says:

      Oh this. I hate it when guys go on this stuff about them being agressive cavemen and women being the compassionate fairies that compensate their natural masculine anger. That type of chivalry is SO common in Latin America and it makes me literally nauseous.

      I just dont see the point of looking for differences between men and women and why some people are so hell bent on that idea. People talk about “women” and “men” forgetting they refer to half of the world population, nearly 4 billion people from all sorts of cultures and upbringings.

  4. Mia4S says:

    Holy High Hipster, Batman!

    His career seems…quiet…but about where I thought it would go. I imagine he made good money on Entourage though. Hope he invested well!

  5. Rachel says:

    I saw a video not long ago of marine biologists pulling a straw out of a sea turtle’s nostril. The sound of that turtle’s screams haunts my dreams. So there you go.

    I like the visual of buses filled with straws. I think people need that kind of visual to realize how much waste they contribute to. I dig plastic bottles out of the garbage at the gym to toss in the recycling container that is literally 10 feet from the garbage can. It’s RIGHT THERE people! Same thing at work.

    • Sarah says:

      Yeah, the straw thing is no joke, it’s really, really sad. Grenier was totally (plausibly) high so i’m not hating. He has a huge history of credibility when it comes to being nice and going out of his way to extend a hand, so i’m a supporter.

    • Donna says:

      Omg. When I’m recycling (and I am so OCD I wash everything with soap and separate everything, so you get the drift of my obsession with it) I’ve often thought it is too bad we can’t recycle straws. After reading this, though, I’m getting myself and my son reusable silly straws like CB. Terrible. 😞

      • Birdix says:

        straws are recyclable in San Francisco (reusable are still better of course or none at all). I’ve been feeling guilty because I stopped composting because we had a mouse.

  6. Bridget says:

    He’s always seemed like a legitimately nice guy who also bought into the Hollywood/party scene. The guys of Entourage struck me as being similar to the kids on Gossip Girl – they forgot that they were only playing characters, that they were only playing famous/wealthy/high profile people on TV.

  7. Lawbabe says:

    The comment about schoolbuses needing to be filled with children instead of straws made me think of Derek Zoolander complaining about the school for ants.

  8. Summertime says:

    Cut him some slack! His award-winning performance in Drive Me Crazy gives him a free pass in my book. Also, I generally tend to lay off people with hippie optimism, even if it comes off as arrested development after a certain age. I mean, think of the children!!

    (OT: What happened to GNAT? Hope all is well.)

    • I Choose Me says:

      Been wondering about GNAT myself. I haven’t seen her (or mimif) around for a while. I miss Jane (she had Austen avi) too.

      • Kitten says:

        YES. I think about GNAT all the time.. She hasn’t been around here in forever and I know she was having health issues, which is why I’m so concerned. I’m still hoping it could be because of the Hillary coverage here? I know she hates HRC so maybe she’s just waiting for the election to be over before she comes back.

        I REALLY hope that’s the reason and not anything more serious…

    • Beckysuz says:

      Yes I was wondering the same. IIRC she was dealing with some health issues (?). I do hope GNAT is ok though. Funny how you can feel like you know someone just from reading their comments on a gossip site

  9. Raebk says:

    Roberta’s is not in Williamburg, it’s in Bushwick. It’s mostly art students, hipsters, and warehouses around there, not an expensive area, so if he can’t afford to live there then homeboy needs a new agent.
    Either he was really high or he actually doesn’t know where he is in BK.