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Jeremy Piven to Face Actors Union

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At the request of the producers of Broadway’s Speed-the-Plow, Jeremy Piven will stand before the grievance committee of the actors’ union, Actors’ Equity, on Thursday, as both sides present cases on his abrupt departure from the production before the end of his contract.

Piven, best known for his Emmy-winning portrayal of ruthless Hollywood agent Ari Gold on HBO’s Entourage, blamed mercury poisoning for his withdrawal from the successful stage revival of the David Mamet play. His reps said that his leaving the production was based on doctors’ orders.

Piven, 43, will appear at the Equity gathering in person, reports the New York Post, which also says that producers intend to show that records from his private-car driver will reflect that while Piven was complaining of being sick he was socializing at clubs.

The hearing is a joint venture between Broadway League and Actors’ Equity (with the Broadway League representing the producers’ side). The grievance committee will be made up of five Equity members and five League members.

Possible decisions could involve monetary fines, according to Maria Somma, spokesperson for Actors’ Equity. “It’s a case-by-case,” says Somma. “The committee [will] look at all the facts and find something that they deem appropriate.”

The grievance committee has 30 days from when the original grievance was filed to make their decision.

Reps for Piven could not be reached.

Reporting by MARK DAGOSTINO