Piven informed the producers that he wasn’t feeling well, which was attributed to high mercury counts. I know when I get sick and play hooky from work I don’t come up with any crazy reasons like mercury poisoning. Which, I don’t know if Piven was eating too much seafood or what not, but how exactly does one even get mercury poisoning these days?
Piven, who opened alongside Elizabeth Moss and Raul Esparza in the successful revival of Mamet’s play on Oct. 23, had been expected to stay until late February. Doctors advised him to end his run immediately.
Show producers couldn’t be reached for comment, but the biting wit of playwright David Mamet was on full display. “I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury,” Mamet said. “So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer.”
The only thing missing was a couple of F-bombs and few other choice curse words.
No show replacements have been named for the high-profile and successful revival, but Mamet did hint that some “really great actors” would be stepping-in to help the show out.
But that Mamet quote about the thermometer kills me everytime, since it’s so obvious he doesn’t believe Piven at all.
Update: Turns out the replacements will be William H. Macy and Norbert Leo Butz. Producers have already had to issue $20,000 in refunds to perturbed theatergoers, but hopefully William H. Macy can still bring people to their seats. Butz will be onboard from now through January 11, at which point Macy will help the cast get through the show’s scheduled February 22 close.
Piven’s doctor, Dr. Carlon Colker, went on record with Entertainment Tonight to confirm that Piven has six times the amount of mercury in his system that a healthy person should have, apparently a result of Piven’s insatiable appetite for sushi. We knew it was seafood! Apparently, Piven was eating the sushi twice a day. Holy crap that’s a lot. Gawker points out that Dr. Colker is a bit shady, who might have abused steroids. Whatevs.