Adrian Grenier will forever be known in Hollywood circles as the laid-back alpha bro Vincent Chase on the hit show Entourage, but the 39-year-old actor is familiar with one particular script that circles around in Tinsletown: You’re endlessly reinventing and reintroducing yourself.
“I’m always thinking of new ways to connect to people, and bringing them into the conversation to psyche their imagination for a better world, but also to recognize the limitations of our current world,” the actor told [a]listdaily in an interview.
Grenier says his days of delivering conspicuous consumption are in the past, and he’s solely focused on a conscious-consumption agenda and educating others for the future. He introduced a different way with a powerful, social-conscious endeavor that better understands the plight of whales, and addresses issues in oceans through the feature film 52: The Search for the Loneliest Whale. It documents the search for “the loneliest whale,” a creature who’s lived most of his life in isolation because its calls were too high to be heard.
The The Lonely Whale Foundation – which focuses on ocean-health awareness through dialogue and education – released the film. The initial Kickstarter even captivated the attention of longtime environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, who donated $50,000 to the cause. The passion project eventually yielded Grenier’s foray into a new form of filmmaking: virtual reality.
Dell made Grenier the company’s first Social Good Advocate because of his involvement and credibility in sustainable matters at SXSW last year. The partnership produced the underwater virtual reality experience Cry Out: The Lonely Whale Experience, a three-minute, 360-degree film that transports viewers into the sea to witness underwater life and how pollution has disrupted it.
“VR is one of the cutting-edge storytelling technologies that has people’s attention right now and has a lot of potential for expansive storytelling that is new, fresh and exciting,” Grenier says. “I’m thinking about it from a filmmaker’s perspective. How can I use this to tell a story with the potential that it offers?”
Cry Out debuted at Art Basel Miami, and then the United Nations Paris Climate Conference last December. The underwater VR expedition was created by 3D Live with Dell Precision, Alienware, AMD and HTC technology. Nathan Huber, CEO of the VR production company 3D Live, says Grenier wanted to push boundaries from unique filmmaking perspectives.
“The future of entertainment is creating immersive experiences, and Adrian is excited to do that while bringing awareness to a just cause, and we are too,” Huber says. “He’s passionate, and has a lot of drive. He’s at a place in his life that he wants to make a change, and the way people think. He has the right energy, drive, voice and platform. It’s a perfect marriage.”
Grenier says VR technology still has a long way to go, but it’s enough for content creators and Hollywood types to begin experimenting with. Taking a shot at making VR films now will have the industry “ready” whenever the tech is.
“I’m really looking forward to arena-style VR experiences where we can all have communal, shared experiences, or somehow, what we’re seeing includes the audience,” Grenier says. “We take for granted how a story is told, and how it unfolds from the viewer’s experience. What your focus and takeaways are. These are all a part of classic filmmaking. Now that we have an audience of one that has the ability to look away from what you’re trying to show them, it’s a new obstacle. In trying to overcome that, we’re finding new solutions to innovate storytelling altogether.”
Grenier’s post-Entourage life now draws some parallels to the one he sometimes played in the show – a powerful symbol for how humankind can be better by diving deep into the ocean and addressing its issues.
Aquaman would be proud.