From Usatoday.comSeth Green on the ’Job’: Good egg, good actor
By Donna Freydkin
Sunday 1 June 2003, by Webmaster
NEW YORK - Seth Green is almost defiantly lo-fi. The actor, dressed in a ratty denim jacket, jeans and Puma sneakers, shows up on time, sans entourage, minus any makeup and hair people, accompanied only by the publicist he has had for years.
But then Green, 29, says he has no desire to be a big star on the level of, say, his current co-stars, Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron.
The Philadelphia native made his big-screen debut in 1984 as Egg, Jodie Foster’s little brother in The Hotel New Hampshire. To this day, Green says he’d much rather be a working actor, one who plays memorably mercurial guys in low-brow teen flicks like Can’t Hardly Wait, big-ticket spoofs such as the Austin Powers franchise (as Scott Evil), and now the heist caper The Italian Job, opening today.
"Doing something because it’s quote-unquote a good career move doesn’t really appeal to me," he says. "There’s never a surefire good career move except doing good work."
In Job, he’s on the sidelines again as embittered programming geek Lyle, a lovelorn loser who continuously strikes out with the ladies - but who scored high with the movie’s test audiences.
"There’s no greater way to gain an audience’s sympathy than by being unfortunate," Green says. "My main goal was to not make him this mono-dimensional computer guy. There had to be a reason this guy could hang with this tough crew. I didn’t want him to be dorky, but a little unfortunate and a little embittered, the kind of guy who has this massive motorcycle he can’t even ride."
Unlike smarmy Lyle, Green comes across as quietly confident, just an average guy comfortable with himself.
He looks you in the eye when he speaks to you, a rarity with actors. He’s quick-witted, cracking jokes and throwing out one-liners. But, Green says, it’s only recently that he has given himself a break.
"Three or four years ago, I got really caught up in the movies people were making, the opportunities they were getting, and I was looking at them with bitterness," says Green, who recently split with his girlfriend. "As soon as I decided that their career was their career and mine was mine and I would have to serve myself, my attitude changed. I’m as normal as you can be in these circumstances."
The circumstances, though, are anything but normal. Take his relationship with Wahlberg. Green says he signed on for Italian Job largely because Wahlberg, whom he had met before, was attached to the movie. The two then had a private meet-and-greet at Wahlberg’s posh L.A. home.
"He has a chef, which is one of the amazing affectations of being successful that I would loooove to have at some point, but I’m just not home," laughs Green, who lives in Los Angeles but is hunting for a loft in New York.
Green’s no whiner, pining away for anonymity while simultaneously pursuing ever more high-profile roles. Sean Penn recognized him when the two passed each other in a hotel lobby, but Green rolls his eyes when asked whether it’s all worth it.
"It’s a period of adjustment," he says of fame. "I’ve gotten a lot better at it. After working for 18 years, all of a sudden I became successful on a level where other people knew it. It’s not a cat you can put back in the bag."