updated 09/12/2003 AT 1:00 AM ET
•originally published 09/12/2003 AT 11:00 AM ET
Playing a drag queen is certainly a departure for Seth Green, who is currently costarring with Macaulay Culkin in the true-life crime flick Party Monster. “It’s a really horrific and tragic story, and I think the message in the story is really worth telling,” says the actor, 29, who is best known for his roles on TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and as Dr. Evil’s son, Scott Evil, in the Austin Powers movies. Green is scoring critical acclaim for his scene-stealing role in Monster as club kid James St. James.
Next up for Green: Without a Paddle, costarring Matthew Lillard and shooting in New Zealand. He recently talked to PEOPLE about his career, Austin Powers and the virtues of older women.
Tell us about your role in Party Monster.
From an actor’s standpoint, this part was so challenging and unlike anything I’d ever been considered for. And these guys offered me this role without auditioning. I said to myself, “I don’t know what I’ve ever done in my career that made them think I could play this part, but I’m certainly not going to let them down.” Macaulay and I had two years to prep for these roles before we actually started filming.
How did you prep for your part?
The film was being made by the guys who directed the (eponymous 1998) documentary (Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato), so they had hundreds of hours of video at our disposal. We just watched it all and tried to get a sense of who these people were and really bounce it off each other.
Off-camera, did you ever stay in character?
We weren’t insisting anyone call us James (St. James) and Michael (Alig), but we would stay in it a little bit. When you get deep into it, you almost do it by habit without being aware. When Mac did a Barbara Walters interview last year, we hadn’t started filming yet, but when I saw the interview I called him and I said, “You’re so Michael and you don’t even know it.” I kept getting calls from people saying, “I just saw Macaulay Culkin on Barbara Walters … is he gay?”
You and Macaulay were both child stars. How has that affected you?
I’ve never been unappreciative of my good fortune. There’s never been a time when I haven’t been like, “Wow, that was lucky.” I’ve been doing this 22 years; I’m not concerned with what people realize or what they don’t. I’m so grateful to be afforded the opportunity to continue to do the job that I love. I’m in a place in the last four or five years where I’m getting offered things I never thought I could get.
Any advice for up-and-comers?
Learn from your mistakes. Be patient. Don’t consider what anybody else is doing because that might not be what’s good for you. And don’t quit. It’s that simple. There was a period of time that I was embittered by the success of people who hadn’t been doing it as long as I had, but I got over that because it’s not healthy. It’s not beneficial. And at the end of the day, that’s their career and not mine.
Any chance for an Austin Powers 4: The Reign of Scott?
You’re asking the wrong guy. I don’t know, I don’t have any expectations. Are they really going to make an Austin Powers 4 in which Dr. Evil is good? Is that the story?
Are you dating anyone right now?
You know I won’t talk about that.
Okay, then what do you make of the Ashton-Demi romance?
From the time I was very young, I’ve always dated older women. I just found a mental connection with older women more quickly than I did with younger women.
You’re off to New Zealand for your new movie. Any plans while you’re there?
I probably will bungee jump. I went skydiving and I’ve been scuba diving, (but) bungee jumping’s a whole other thing. Bungee jumping is like, “Hey, I’m going to fall. I’m going to bounce.”
Are you scared?
No. I have so much faith in whatever my destiny is, I don’t live in fear. Obviously I’m up on that bridge for a reason.