You grew up as a student of your parents’ nationally acclaimed actor training center— Piven Theatre Workshop. Did you ever have a backup plan or did you know acting was it from the start?

My Plan B was to be a football player, but if you were to put Brian Urlacher next to me you would see why that’s not going to happen in this particular life.

You’ve played many strong characters and bold roles, but who is the real Jeremy Piven?

What’s funny is I know characters like Ari Gold [on HBO’s “Entourage”] and it was so fun to play him, but I’m just a guy from Evanston, Illinois. I came from being with my mother and giving back to the theatre. I grew up with the work and I really love it. I find it an honor that people think that I’m like that character because that means whatever I created was authentic, but the people who know me know that’s completely not the real me. I’m playing Harry Selfridge right now, a character who’s incredibly flamboyant, larger than life and is so fun to play. I look forward to being mistaken for Mr. Selfridge shortly as well. I have yet to play a character that’s close to who I am.

Is this beard for the new character?

Oh yeah. Harry Selfridge had a very aggressive mustache and here it is.

Are you dating anyone?

No, I’m single.

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?

That’s a great question. I would have to say Frank Lloyd Wright. He was a fascinating character and it seemed nothing could take him down. He was a genius. He had his highs and lows and all of that, but he was very true to his art. I mean, we get to live with his genius. His architecture will live forever and he seemed to be very much his own man.

What would you be drinking?

He would probably drink something that I didn’t even know what it was. I would probably want to drink like a 1942 Don Julio and then he would have some sort of scotch that I wasn’t worthy of.

Photography by Neal Agustin

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