It’s been a long road, but Jeremy Piven has come a long way from roles like “Candle Seller” and “Patrolman” and “Nervous Quick-Mart Clerk” and that yammering asshole he played in Judgment Night. By now he must have an agent almost as good as that scene-stealing cyclone he portrays on Entourage, a dynamic performance that’s getting him all sorts of juicy parts.

Piven is now among the high-profile cast of Peter Berg’s “guys on a mission” flick The Kingdom, joining a top-notch crew that already includes Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper and Jason Bateman (yes, I said Jason Bateman). The movie, produced by Michael Mann, follows a group of US government agents hunting terrorists in a hostile Middle East country, which sounds like a serious stretch of reality. Piven plays a scheming American diplomat in Saudi Arabia helping them out.

Piven next stars in Narc guy Joe Carnahan’s well-cast casino crime flick Smokin’ Aces, which also coincidentally features appearances by Bateman and Berg.