Jeremy Piven's Mercury Dims His Broadway Star

Actor drops out of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, says doctors have diagnosed him with a high mercury count

By Natalie Finn Dec 18, 2008 1:35 AMTags

Jeremy PIven is not up to pushing the Plow anymore.

Despite stellar reviews, the Emmy-winning actor has pulled out of his role as a sleazy, power-hungry studio exec in the revival of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow for health reasons—namely, that doctors have recommended he stay off the stage due to a high mercury count.

Piven missed Tuesday night's show and today's matinee performance and told producers that he has not been feeling well, according to a rep for the Entourage star, who confirmed to E! News that while Piven would have liked to continue his run on Broadway, doctors advised him to step aside "immediately."

But mercury count aside, he'll be lucky if Mamet doesn't go all Alec Baldwin-in-Glengarry Glen Ross on him.

"I talked to Jeremy on the phone and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury," the prolific playwright told Daily Variety. "So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer."

But costars Elisabeth Moss and Raúl Esparza won't be without a leading man for long, Mamet added. "The good news is that some really great actors will be helping out and stepping in, which to me is a sign of great heroism and friendship."

Piven, who helped open the play on Oct. 23, had been expected to remain with the cast until February.

(Originally published Dec. 17, 2008 at 3:45 p.m. PT.)