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David Mamet, As Seen on TV

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How do you top Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum, whose vicious performances in this year’s London revival of Speed-the-Plow—David Mamet’s blistering Hollywood parable—raised the bar as high as it can go? Well, maybe by casting actors who are already killing in parallel TV roles, and throw in a hard-edged Broadway star. Jeremy Piven (right) plays the young producer Bobby Gould (rather like his grasping agent Ari Gold on Entourage); Elisabeth Moss is Karen, a dangerously underestimated secretary (like her Peggy Olson on Mad Men); and Raúl Esparza, last seen as a pimp in Pinter’s Homecoming, is Gould’s cynical underling. Moss readily admits that Peggy and Karen are kin—both “very truthful and earnest in their feeling,” and therefore easily written off. “I tend to be the girl that’s always with the boys,” she says, adding that her role model is Katharine Hepburn, “who could stand alongside men, and who the men respected.” Piven, frankly, sounds a little sick of the Ari comparisons. “I’m not retreading anything here,” he says. “He’s a hustler by all means, but he is open to what this woman is bringing him—and is such a beautiful character to play.” What he does find familiar is Mamet, who worked with Piven’s actor father in Chicago and “feels like family.”


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