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Sarah Michelle Gellar - Freddie Prinze Junior Startribune.com Interview

Neal Justin

mercredi 26 avril 2006, par Webmaster

Fast Freddie

A sitcom star and his sidekick break from a publicity tour to shoot the breeze — and a mean game of pool. Next ? Why, the Baccarat Crystal Dixie Cup, perhaps.

Freddie Prinze Jr. gets billed as Hollywood’s Mr. Nice Guy, someone who can tame a vampire slayer, maintain hunk status despite co-starring with an animated dog and prove you can be a matinee idol without doing the party circuit.

It’s a hustle.

Prinze, star of ABC’s No. 1 sitcom, "Freddie," is a bona fide pool shark. He grew up playing in a cramped game room of his Los Angeles childhood home, learning trick shots from his uncle, who paid for college through pickup games. Prinze himself once pocketed $800 during a hot streak. He produced and starred in the straight-to-DVD billiards caper "Shooting Gallery" and even dated the film’s consultant, one of the top-ranked female players in the world.

"I didn’t even like her that much," he said.

Not that Minnesota Fats would have been dazzled by the casual game of nine-ball he shot last Wednesday during a publicity visit to promote his series. Instead of the usual interview, the Star Tribune proposed a match at the newly revamped New City pool hall in downtown Minneapolis.

Prinze decided to challenge himself by playing right-handed, even though he’s a lefty. His opponent, "Beverly Hills 90210" grad and "Freddie" co-star Brian Austin Green, hadn’t picked up a cue in months, because of ongoing construction on his LA house.

What was dead-on : the trash talking.

The two swapped good-natured digs throughout, with Prinze providing over-the-top analysis and Green boasting about his giant "man hands." At one point, Prinze offered $20 to his pal if he could sink the 4 ball in a side pocket. After several long seconds of contemplation, Green turned it down and went for a safer shot.

Prinze was careful not to push the banter too far.

He told a story about the time Green played a videogame against one of the sitcom’s writers. The actor had a huge lead until the very end, when the scribe staged a momentous comeback. Green reacted by tackling his opponent to the floor and slightly injuring the man’s shoulder.

"Hey, he was bigger than me. I didn’t know he was going to go all soft," Green said. "Yeah, I don’t have an anger-management problem."

Billiards might not seem like the natural hobby for a working actor, although the studios’ insurance companies probably prefer it to say, hang gliding. But for Prinze, 30, it’s just another activity he had to master. Between such films as "Scooby Doo" and "She’s All That," the son of late comedian Freddie Prinze has dived into numerous side projects, including comic-book collecting, tap dancing and martial arts. His latest endeavor : the Los Angeles Marathon, which he finished last month in under six hours.

"I get obsessive about something and I don’t do anything else during that time," he said. "Chris Klein is like that with surfing. Seth Green is like that with his animated show, ’Robot Chicken.’ Those are the only two actor friends I know."

Uh, what about your wife, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" star Sarah Michelle Gellar ?

"Oh, right."

Green, 32, whose non-acting interests include recording music and raising a child he had with "Las Vegas" star Vanessa Marcil, said that once he started playing pool, he had to excel at it.

"I’m such a perfectionist," said Green, who boasts that a billiards table was the first piece of furniture he bought when he moved out of his parents’ house. "I hated going to these charity pool events and sucking."

Despite Green’s drive to win, Prinze squeaked out a victory.

Green opted for a hug instead of pile-driving his opponent to the ground, a wise choice since Prinze is also one of the sitcom’s producers, and there’s a strong chance, after next Wednesday’s season finale, the show will return next season.

Before they headed to the airport to get to their next publicity stop, the operators of New City popped by to welcome the first celebrities to visit their establishment.

"I hear you’re a pool shark," said general manager John Lee.

"Nah," said Prinze, flashing that smile that’s made him a teen favorite. "You got $20 ?"


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