06.05.2005
For old pal, life's lonely outside Wahlberg's `Entourage'
By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa - Boston Herald
When Mark Wahlberg's semi-autobiographical comedy "Entourage" kicks off its second season on HBO tonight, Donnie Carroll of Dorchester won't be laughing. That's because Donnie, aka "Donkey," the model for Turtle - the baseball-cap-wearing, Hummer-driving, pot-and-women-wrangling gofer - says his old pal Mark hasn't kicked him any "Entourage" cash. "I've been by his side since Day One," brayed the Donkey. "Ever since his days as Marky Mark. And I got nothing. Not 10 cents. Nothing." Donkey says Wahlberg, who he's known since they were both teenagers hanging on the corner of Savin Hill and Dorchester avenues, has taken care of the rest of his crew who the "Entourage" characters are modeled after. But even though Carroll claims the idea for a show about Hollywood hangers-on was his, he's been cut out.

"He gave me his word that he would take care of me, and I still think he will," Donkey said. "But I'm still waiting." Wahlberg's peeps didn't get back to us to respond. "Entourage," which premiered on the cable channel last season, is the story of Hollywood up-and-comer Vince Chase, played by preening pretty boy Adrian Grenier, and the posse of homeboys he drags along to Tinseltown. There's his brother, Johnny Chase, aka Johnny Drama, a desperate wannabe hilariously played by Kevin Dillon, real-life bro of actor Matt Dillon. He's based on Wahlberg's "cousin" John Alves, a bodybuilder and washed-up actor whose credits include "Southie," Donnie Wahlberg's 1998 flick, and the "Marky Mark Workout" video.

Alves' real-life nickname is Johnny Drama. Kevin Connolly's sensible manager-in-waiting, Eric, is based on Wahlberg's pal Eric Weinstein, a middle-aged Bronx homey who the actor met on the set of "The Basketball Diaries." Ari Gold, Vince's foul-mouthed, fast-talking, womanizing bully of an agent played by Jeremy Piven is said to be a send-up of Mark's real-life manager Ari Emanuel. And Turtle, the groupie-groping goofball played by Jerry Ferrara, is based on Donkey, who carried Wahlberg's bags for more than 14 years whilst trying to launch a career as a rap musician under the name Murder One. "I got paid $500 a week to hang out," Donkey said. "I got paid to live his life."

But while Weinstein is given a producer credit on the series and Alves is listed as a consultant, Wahlberg hasn't shelled out any "Entourage" dough to the inspiration for Turtle. Donkey said back before the show debuted, Wahlberg had him sign a release that read, in part: "As you are aware, there is a character in the program presently named 'Turlte.' Although the character is intended to depict a fictional person, the name is similar to your nickname and the character may exhibit certain characteristics that are similar to yours or be involved in certain events that are similar to events that you may be involved in."

Donkey says he was not paid to sign the release but that Wahlberg promised he would "be taken care of." In fact, Donkey flew out to Hollywood and auditioned for the role of Turtle. He says the producers loved him but he lost out when "Entourage" writers decided to make Vince a Queens native. "They said they needed New York actors," Carroll complained. All of which is particularly galling, Donkey says, because he first came up with the idea of a show about an actor's posse. "I told Mark I wanted to do a reality show about me," he said. "I had an idea for a book, too. It was called `From the Hood to Hollywood, A Soldier's Story.' It was about a kid like me who grows up with a kid like Mark and ends up in Hollywood with him livin' the life. But Mark said, `No one cares about that.' Now look at it!" Carroll, who is unemployed, is still trying to launch a music career with his hip-hop group REZAWAR DAWGZ (www.rezawardawgz.com), who once opened for 'N Sync.

A few years ago Wahlberg shot a documentary about the band for a never-produced reality series, another kick in the ass for Donkey. "I got a 14-year-old daughter I gotta support," he said. "When I'm out in Hollywood he shows me a lot of love but what's love, taking me out to sushi dinners? What about my daughter?" Donkey says he still hears from Mark whenever the actor is in Boston and "I still love him like a brother." "But," he says, "it shouldn't have to come down to this. He should do the right thing." File Under: Turtle Whacks. http://thetrack.bostonherald.com/insideTrack.bg