US Magazine, February 1999

This god must be crazy
by Laura morice

These days, Jeremy Piven often gets approached on the streets by fans of his new cupid 'Cupid' -- but it isn't autographs they're looking for. "They'll say, 'Hey, hook me up with someone!' ", says Piven, who plays the god of love on the Saturday-night ABC comedy-drama. "I just tell them, 'Man, I'm still trying to hook myself up.' "

Piven, a 33-year-old frat type with a lightning quick tongue seems an unlikely choice to play a hopeless-romantic cherub. But as Piven instructs, if you've read mythology, you know that Cupid was something of a trouble maker just like Trevor, Piven's TV character. An outpatient from a Chicago psych ward, Trevor claims that he is Cupid, and has been exiled from Mount Olympus for being a bad matchmaker. He believes he can earn back his wings only if he brings 100 couples together and their love is deemed true by his celestial betters.

Though Trevor's matchmaking talent seems questionable, ABC honchos think his attemps are entertaining enough to give him the new time slot of Thursday nights at 9, opposite 'Fraiser'. Sadly, Piven is having less success in his romantic life. "You've spend the bulk of your time [out here] working on sets, so a lot of people in the business end up together,' he says. "But it's tough not to be distracted by work and the process of hunting it down."

Since Piven moved to Los Angeles from Evanston, IL, in 1989, no one person has been able to deter him from that hunt. A two year stint playing a sarcastic writer on HBO's 'Larry Sanders Show' led to supporting roles in such films as, 'Car 54, Where Are You?' and a star turn as a rowdy coed in the indie comedy, 'PCU'. In 1995, Piven landed the role of misanthropic cousin Spence on 'Ellen', where he was quite content until early 1998.

One day around that time, Piven was outside his home when his neighbour, Paula Marshall ) his psychologist sparring partner on his new show, drove by and yelled, "Hey, Cupid!" She had just read the Columbia TriStar project and heard the producers wanted Piven for the lead. "I said, that's great," Piven recalls, "but I'm on the big gay show -- they'll never let me off." As it turned out, timing was on his side. With the ratings for 'Ellen' sliding, the producers agreed to release Piven to the project. Marshall sees it as a perfect fit. Jeremy has this really lovable face, and all of a sudden this crasss, obnoxious stuff comes out of his mouth. To think that Cupid is the guy who drinks too much and loves the ladies up in Olympus--how funny is that!"

Piven has thrown himself into the role of Cupid with typical gusto. It's something he learned early on from his parents, Byrne and Joyce, who nurtured their son's talents -- along with one of those John and Joan Cusack, Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn -- at the Piven Theatre Workshop, in chicago. Piven and John Cusack, who have worked together in several films and co-founded a Chicago-based theatre company called New Criminals, remain good friends. "We couldn't be closer," says Piven.

While long-lasting relationships like these are important to him, Piven was frank enough to answer in the affirmative recently when Craig Kilborn asked him on 'The Daily Show' whether it was OK to love yourself more than anyone else. "Unfortunately, right now I don't have time to be part of a real romatic relationship," Piven said. "But this show is really helping me explore how I feel about relationships, so when the time comes, I'll be ready."

(article typed up courtesy of Xinlei Du)