The rollercoaster career of Vincent Chase — whose ricochets from art-house films to superhero blockbusters to ego-driven biopics and back again have long made him a punchline — is about to take a new turn. After a five-year absence, the once A-list actor is returning to the big screen in two films: Hyde, his first superhero film since 2006’s blockbuster Aquaman, and Entourage (in theatres June 3), a documentary about Hyde’s troubled production.
Entourage details how former-agent-turned-studio-head Ari Gold (who famously discovered the actor in a 1990s Mentos commercial) not only landed Chase the title role in Hyde, but indulged the star’s desire to make his comeback a directing debut as well. With stories of creative tussles, cost overruns, and fights with producers rounding out the warts-and-all documentary, one gets the sinking feeling that Hyde may join the ranks of Nick Cassavetes’ The Takeover, Peter Berg’s Air-Walker, and Oscar-winning German director Verner Vollstedt’s Smoke Jumpers as Chase movies that were never completed. But just in case Hyde beats the odds and makes it to the cineplex, here’s a look at its star’s surprisingly small body of finished work, ranked from worst to best.
6. MEDELLÍN (2007)
Critic Richard Roeper remarked that “this film manages to suck in two languages,” and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would disagree. The definition of bloated excess (and I’m not talking about Chase’s fat suit), this mostly Spanish-language biopic of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar wound up going direct to home video after selling at Cannes for one dollar. While the documentary “Welcome to the Jungle” detailed director Billy Walsh’s meltdown during the troubled location shoot in Colombia, the film’s it-wants-to-be-Scarface trailer says it all, in much less time.
5. HEAD ON (2004)
Chase’s big-screen debut was in a small part in 2002’s A Walk to Remember, best known for the actor’s on-set romance with the movie’s lead, Chase’s future Aquaman costar Mandy Moore, but audiences first took notice of Chase in this stylish but unremarkable crime thriller. Ari Gold’s negotiating efforts netted Chase a $2 million payday, an amount that allegedly eclipsed that of his more-established co-star, Jessica Alba. Despite this, Chase and Alba formed a lasting friendship, with the actress introducing him to his eventual girlfriend Justine Chapin during the pop star’s much-publicized “virgin” phase.
4. FERRARI (2010)
Director Frank Darabont took a huge gamble letting Chase headline another biopic, but it paid off, with Chase’s performance as race-car driver and legendary car manufacturer Enzo Ferrari earning back much of the credibility Medellín had cost Vince. But native New Yorker Chase’s inability to drive a car led to some fairly obvious stunt-doubling for the film’s racing scenes, which may have robbed him of a serious chance at a lead-actor Oscar.
3. GATSBY (2009)
While Martin Scorsese’s updating of the classic novel to the modern era lacked the over-the-top visuals of Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 controversial period version, what it did have was Chase, turning in a gripping portrayal of Nick Carraway. The only thing that keeps this film from placing higher in the Vince pantheon is how forgettable the lead actor — quick, try to name him — is in the title role.
2. QUEENS BOULEVARD (2005)
Filmed on location in New York (which enabled Chase to simultaneously film his uncredited appearance in The Devil Wears Prada), this indie drama was the first collaboration between Chase and director Walsh — who, in addition to working with Vince on the Razzie-nominated Medellín, is rumored to have been involved in reshoots on the troubled Hyde production. Boulevard is still riveting, start to finish, including the much-parodied closing “I am Queens Boulevard” line, which cemented Chase as a star to watch. (This year’s tenth-anniversary special-edition re-release included the behind-the-scenes clip above of Chase re-recording the line for more impact.)
1. AQUAMAN (2006)
While purists may favor the gritty Vincent Chase of Queens Boulevard, it’s hard to argue with Aquaman, the James Cameron-directed vehicle that set box-office records and made Chase a household name. Co-starring Chase’s once-again girlfriend Mandy Moore as Aquagirl and a scenery-inhaling James Woods as the villain, Aquaman gave the underwater “Super Friend” credibility that even comic-book diehards thought was a stretch. However, it wasn’t enough to keep its stars interested, and neither Chase (replaced by Jake Gyllenhaal) nor Cameron (replaced by Michael Bay) came back for the sequel. Warner Bros. has high hopes for their 2018 reboot of the franchise with Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa in the title role, but for a generation of fans, this is the only Aquaman they’ll ever need to know.