The ''America's Sweethearts'' star tells about the movie junket game -- and why he's not a sexpert

By Justine Elias
Updated August 03, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Seth Green: Walter McBride/Retna

When movie stars have professional or personal meltdowns, they turn to publicists to make journalists go away — or come running with flashbulbs popping. In ”America’s Sweethearts,” former ”Buffy the Vampire” costar Seth Green plays a junior flack among feuding Hollywood insiders (Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and John Cusack). Green, 27, who’s been in the business since he played young Woody Allen in ”Radio Days,” knows a thing or two about mastering those slick publicist moves. ”Did you ever notice all the cool hand signals they make?” he says, gesticulating. ”They’re like commandos! ‘Move out! Choppers coming in at 0800!’ Or maybe that one means, ‘Throw me a fastball.’ It’s impossible to tell.”

Because Green returns to theaters next month in the scavenger hunt comedy ”Rat Race,” asked him to be his own press agent and answer a few questions.

Danny the publicist dresses like a sweater-wearing dork. After playing a rocker like Oz, were you jealous of John Cusack’s cool clothes?
Yeah, Cusack’s the guy in the leather pants, isn’t he? He’s the guy at the far end of the nervous breakdown. I’m just at the beginning of it. I’m the quietest, most nervous publicist ever seen on film. I’m just literally trying to keep control. That tends to make you quiet and tense, I think.

What was it like to attend your first movie junket?
It was for ”Radio Days,” and I don’t remember it. I was 12 and way more interested in what action figures had come out that week than in talking to the foreign press. The most fun, though, was for the ”Austin Powers” sequel. It was huge! The premiere was at the Universal Amphitheater, and it was so relaxed and comfortable. The biggest party.

Hearing the same questions again and again, do you ever embellish answers — or just plain b.s. — to amuse yourself?
Yeah, if somebody gives me a really inappropriate or ridiculous question, I’ll just make something up or try and shock them, to wake them up. This time, the question I got asked most from the foreign press was [in a French accent], ”What ees it like for you working with all zee beeeeeeg stars? It must be SO out of the ordinary for you?” And I’d go, ”They’re all great people.” Over and over. What else can I say? ”The pressure mounted every day! I was frightened! I wore dress shields to conceal my sweat!” The foreign press had never seen anything I’d done.

”America’s Sweethearts” opens with some really silly parodies of movie trailers. Which movie of yours had the worst trailer?
Don’t all trailers start with that one Cranberries song, and the voiceover guy going, ”They created a WORLD of intimacy…” Cutting a trailer is to reduce a movie to its basest points, depending on who’s the hottest person in the movie at the time. Great example: Breckin Meyer and I did this one scene in ”Josie and the Pussycats.” Because they were trying to sell the movie to both boys and girls, they created a trailer that said, [imitating a big booming announcer voice] ”Anything BOYS can do, girls can do BETTER,” and they showed a bunch of our moments from the movie, and then Josie and the girls rocking out. I’m like, ”Wait a minute, we’re not even in the movie that much!” That one, I had to laugh.

You appeared on MTV’s ”Loveline” and ”Loveline” radio show. What makes you such a damn sexpert?
You saw that? That was like three years ago. That show is such a ruse to me. The fact that they employ celebrities and musicians and masquerade them as experts in the field of romance and sexual dysfunction. ”Yeah, well, I was in ‘Jungle2Jungle’ with Tim Allen and I feel that makes me competent to answer questions about your genital warts.” There is NO screening process for that show. They’re like, ”You’re on television? Here, come on the show — talk to kids!”

Though you’ve said you have no further plans to appear on ”Buffy” or ”Angel” next year, you’ll be returning to series TV on Fox’s ”Greg the Bunny.” It’s about a kids program where the puppets come to life, right?
It’s a midseason show. People who know Greg from the Independent Film Channel show will be so happy. I play Greg’s best friend, and Eugene Levy’s son. There is a little bit of that Dr. Evil/Scott Evil dynamic where my father and I don’t have any kind of relationship. They are still figuring out the direction of the show, and Fox is letting them. Greg can’t be so cutesy, like he is on IFC. He’s gotta be aware of how he can manipulate people.

What about the rumor that you are making animated films?
True. My friend Matthew Senreich and I have been working on stop-motion animated shorts for Sony’s Screenblast, an entertainment site where people can watch music, videos, trailers, shorts, animation, and then they are offered free software to make stuff and showcase it on the site. We wrote and produced, and the sneak presentation is up there now. Look for ”Sweet J Presents.” The short will be up in the fall.

Finally, about your hair. One of the great pleasures of ”Buffy” was tuning in and going, ”What the hell has Seth Green done to it NOW?” This summer, you’ve shaved it off. Quite severe. Why?
I like it like this. Kind of forces you to be present. No facade about it. Everybody got really preoccupied with my hair. So I cut it off.

America's Sweethearts

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 100 minutes
  • Joe Roth