TODAY   |  April 14, 2014

Jeremy Piven: In England I am a ‘thespian’

Actor Jeremy Piven, well known for his hot-tempered character in “Entourage,” is taking on a calmer role in the PBS series “Mr. Selfridge.” He tells Kathie Lee and Hoda that people in England recognize him more for his role in the PBS show than for “Entourage.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> he won three emmys and golden globe for his portrayal of the hot tempered hollywood power agent from the show "entoura "entourage," but his latest character is as far from ari gold as it gets.

>> jeremy plays harry selfridge , that has a management style that sometimes surprises. take a look.

>> i understand it is your birth day today.

>> indeed it is.

>> you must be very proud. you've had a long and distinguished career.

>> before you say anymore, i've been expecting that you might need me to retire soon. i realize that time has crept up on me. the store will need new blood.

>> the diamond tipped pen for your years of service. happy birthday, mr. crab.

>> aw. how are you?

>> you're the sweetheart.

>> yes.

>> sweetheart guy. shows your acting, you know, spectrum. you can play a nice, sweet guy.

>> yeah, you know, it is interesting because when you play -- i can't use the word that ari gold is, can you guys say that?

>> no.

>> okay.

>> a jerk.

>> okay, a jerk. an abrasive man, if you will. when you play him for eight sfle seasons and you're in people's living rooms, if you play him in an authentic way, people think that's who you are. as you alluded to earlier, i am a thespian, if you will.

>> when you're in england, you're a thespian. you're just an actor over here.

>> indeed.

>> indeed.

>> too much time across the pond.

>> which is more fun to play. ari or mr. selfridge .

>> as i watch that clip of ari, i watch myself clear a desk as i'm on the screen -- there you go. horrifying.

>> but fun.

>> actors don't always know what to do with their hands, you know? it is not even an issue. you know what you got to do.

>> not to be creepy, but i always know what to do with my hands.

>> i know, because i live next door to you in los angeles . i hear the screams coming out of that building, baby.

>> you've been waiting for that one. she's been like, here it comes, here it comes. now to play a guy, harry selfridge , a real guy, and he went over at the turn of the century from the midwest to london, and transformed shopping.

>> paid a dear personal price for it, didn't he?

>> he did ultimately. he was very ambitious. it is a great life lesson, if you put everything you have into your career and don't pay attention to your relationships, it won't end well for you.

>> and very dickens.

>> do people recognize you as ari or mr. selfridge .

>> mr. selfridge , it is a huge show over there. we're lucky to have itv backing us. we're with pbs here and it is funded by the people.

>> the movie you just wrapped, the new "entourage" movie.

>> you're very busy and important.