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  • - I love performing and I love telling stories

  • and I love making an audience feel something.

  • And so whenever I pick roles, it's always in that pursuit.

  • If I read something that's particularly inspiring

  • or compelling, I chase it.

  • If I get it, it just means that I was the right guy for it.

  • And if I don't, then I just move on to the next one.

  • Hi, "Vanity Fair".

  • I'm Seth green and this is the timeline of my career.

  • [melancholy instrumental music]

  • - What was the bear's name?

  • - State of Maine.

  • - Mm-hmm, the bear was on his last legs.

  • - [Children] But they were the only legs he had.

  • - I got "The Hotel New Hampshire" by auditioning.

  • I was eight years old and auditioned in New York City.

  • I had been working for over a year living in Philadelphia

  • and taking the trains back and forth

  • to New York for auditions.

  • This was the first feature film that I got

  • and I was thrilled, thrilled to get it.

  • I actually don't remember the original audition,

  • but I remember the followup where my mom came into the room

  • with me and spoke with the director and the casting agent.

  • And they told her that they wanted me to play this part.

  • And when we left that room, we skipped down the stairs.

  • It was the most exciting thing ever.

  • - Hey bro, I'm only kidding.

  • I mean, who could beat a night of cards, chips, dips,

  • and dorks. [laughs]

  • - I was maybe 13.

  • I might've turned 14 while working on "Can't Buy Me Love".

  • The reason that that particular project was so significant

  • was it marked a change in the way my mom tried

  • to prepare me for auditions.

  • When I went to audition for it,

  • I had already memorized my lines and so in the waiting room,

  • I was kinda playing around

  • or hanging out with other kids that I knew.

  • And my mom saw other kids sitting in chairs

  • dutifully going over their sides with their parent,

  • and she felt a little irresponsible and tried to say,

  • "Well, we should be going over our lines."

  • And I was like, "I'm fine.

  • "I've already done all my prep

  • "and I'm ready to go in the room."

  • And so when I got that job,

  • it changed the way my mom thought about it

  • and she realized that we didn't have to do

  • what everybody else was doing

  • just because they were doing it.

  • Each person's process was gonna be their own process.

  • And from that point on, she kinda just let me approach

  • the work by my own design.

  • - Something stinks in suburbia.

  • [people chattering]

  • - Hi.

  • - Oh, that's what I was gonna say.

  • - Whatcha looking at?

  • - This cheerleading trophy.

  • It's like its eyes follow you wherever you go.

  • I like it.

  • - Well, I've really spent my whole career

  • playing guest stars or, you know,

  • coming in in a recurring way and that's a position I love.

  • That's something very comfortable for me.

  • And so I didn't look at coming onto "Buffy"

  • as something scary.

  • It was really exciting.

  • It was a great way to come into something

  • that was already well functioning and play a part

  • that seemed really organic to me.

  • And to get to do things I hadn't gotten to do

  • on film very often, like play guitar or kiss a girl.

  • But I knew both Sarah Geller and Alyson Hannigan

  • from having worked with them when we were much younger.

  • And then when I got to audition for it,

  • it was as Aly's potential boyfriend,

  • and since we'd already worked together a bunch of times

  • I thought, "Oh, this would be great.

  • "She's fantastic to work with and I'll bet we could play

  • "a pretty convincing couple."

  • But actually getting to make that show

  • over a couple of seasons

  • and really develop that character into something,

  • that was a thrill.

  • I love Oz and I'm so grateful for the chance

  • to have got to play him.

  • - You're trying to make your friend Xander jealous,

  • or even the score or something,

  • and that's on the empty side.

  • - It seems to tables have turned again, Dr. Evil.

  • - Not really.

  • Kill the little bastard, see what I care.

  • - But Dad, we just had a breakthrough in group.

  • - I had the group liquidated, you little shit.

  • They were insolent.

  • - I hate you, I hate you.

  • I wish I was never artificially created in a lab.

  • - I was working on a play in San Diego

  • and so I was very serious about acting

  • when I got that comedy project.

  • And my take on it was that Scott Evil is in a drama

  • while everyone around him is in a ridiculous comedy.

  • 'Cause I'd been seeing so many angry, violent,

  • or outrageous teenagers on things like "Jerry Springer"

  • and they all seemed victim

  • of the same kind of parental apathy.

  • That, to me, was very funny to explore

  • when you have a character that is as bold and as silly

  • as Dr. Evil, who is trying as sincerely as he can

  • to form a relationship with his teenage son,

  • the notion of that teenage son being legitimately angry

  • or hurt [laughs] by the lack of participation

  • in his own upbringing,

  • that just struck me very funny.

  • And so that was how I approached it.

  • Instead of being a kid who's like, "I hate my dad.

  • "My dad's a dick."

  • I just thought it was funny to come from a place

  • of legitimate hurt or [laughs] deeply emotional pain

  • of trying to grow up and even understand myself

  • as a character with this malevolent dictator as a father.

  • The fun behind the scenes of that movie is incomparable.

  • I have had so few experiences that are as inclusive

  • and supportive and just fun as making "Austin Powers".

  • And what I found was the more serious and more committed

  • I was to the genuine pain of Scott Evil,

  • the funnier any of those scenes became.

  • 'Cause none of those other characters care

  • about my character's feelings.

  • They are all just ridiculous

  • and in pursuit of world domination through

  • whatever idiotic means they're enacting.

  • And so from my perspective,

  • the more realistically I was hurt by [laughs],

  • the funnier any of those seeds became.

  • - Why make trillions when we could make

  • [dramatic instrumental music]

  • billions.

  • - A trillion is more than a million, numbnuts.

  • - All right, zip it.

  • - You can't even-

  • - Zip it.

  • Zip.

  • - Look, all-

  • - Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit A.

  • - Ugh.

  • [upbeat instrumental music]

  • - Yo Jana, you wanna dance?

  • - I'm allergic.

  • - Allergic?

  • To dancing?

  • - Yeah.

  • - I grew up loving John Hughes movies,

  • R-rated teen comedies, or PG-13 teen comedies,

  • and when that script came up, I knew the writers personally.

  • My friend Breckin Meyer had originally been cast

  • in the role that I played, Kenny Fisher.

  • The role was actually written for him,

  • but he got an opportunity to do a different movie,

  • a far more high profile drama and couldn't do it.

  • So I, just like everything else, had to audition

  • for this part.

  • But I wanted it so bad.

  • I really loved this script.

  • I loved this idea and I especially loved this character,

  • this incredibly insecure character who is full of bravado

  • and outward demonstrations of his lack of fear

  • while he is crippled by his worry

  • of what other people will think of him.

  • And so that's a great place to come from.

  • And I just wanted to bring honesty to that.

  • I wanted him to not just be a fool,

  • but a fool that you could sympathize with.

  • And I wanted to justify all of his fashion choices

  • or conversation choices, all of his intent,

  • I wanted that to be justified under all of this deep sadness

  • and insecurity that I think everyone feels

  • when you're teenage.

  • I liked playing underdogs

  • and challenging the audience to like them.

  • And then I love bringing a humanity to the character

  • that makes people feel empathy

  • for someone who is ridiculous.

  • Kenny Fisher gets a lot of love, and I appreciate that.

  • - Why y'all gotta waste my flavor? Damn.

  • - I've never seen this man before in my life.

  • Principal Shepherd, what are you doing here?

  • - Getting to make "Can't Hardly Wait" was a thrill

  • just because I got to work with so many people

  • who I knew personally,

  • and also getting to meet people who I had admired

  • for some time but never gotten to work with,

  • like Charlie Korsmo.

  • And Charlie and I became a really good friends

  • over the course of making that.

  • He came to L.A. to do the press junket for the movie.

  • He stayed with me in my apartment and we hung out all week

  • going to KFC and reading all of our terrible reviews

  • and highlighting the more severe comparisons

  • between us and some kind of undesirable woodland creature.

  • But while Charlie and I were spending that week together,

  • we just got into this riff of impersonating Ted Levine's

  • character in "The Silence of the Lambs", Buffalo Bill,

  • that character who has such a distinct voice

  • and physical persona and such an uncomfortable presence,

  • and we set about just applying it to comedy.

  • Like where was Buffalo Bill working?

  • How did Buffalo Bill make money?

  • Is he a telemarketer?

  • Like, is he trying to sell you Amway?

  • What is it that he does?

  • And at one point we started imagining him working

  • the drive-through and you hearing on the squawk box,

  • [clicks] "What, what can I get you?"

  • "Can I get a two-piece meal with mashed potatoes?"

  • "Ah, you want the two-piece, mashed potatoes.

  • "Do you want on a piece of corn for an extra 50 cents?"

  • And that just made us laugh all week.

  • And so when I got the audition for "Family Guy",

  • I read that script and I just loved it.

  • It was so funny.

  • I had never felt more seen than reading that script.

  • And I just wanted that job so much.

  • So I went in and they showed me the character,

  • and you know, if you look at Chris Griffin,

  • he's got that blonde hair and an earing and a hat

  • and kind of looks like a surfer kid.

  • And so that was the voice that I had even thought.

  • He was like, "What's up, dad?

  • Fight, the machine, dad, meh."

  • I did it like that and they were like,

  • "Okay, great, great, thanks."

  • And I said, "Hey, can I try something?"

  • And as an actor, I always advocate this.

  • If you have something, try it.

  • It's your audition.

  • If you say, "Ah, I wanna start again,"

  • do it, it's your audition.

  • Own that space.

  • And so I took a really silly risk and said,

  • "My buddy and I've been doing this voice all week,

  • "and I just feel like it's applicable somewhere.

  • "So what if this kid sounded like this?"

  • And I did that deeply, bass-y, grotesquely,

  • disturbing performance but in this animated comedy dialogue.

  • And they said, "Oh, can you make it a little bit younger?"

  • And so I raised the pitch up just slightly

  • but kept all the same details to it.

  • And then I wound up getting that job, which is bananas.

  • That's insane.

  • But they said the reason that I got it

  • was because I did something so different.

  • And if you really think about it,

  • that's the same reason that I got "Austin Powers".