You know that scene in Wayne's World where Wayne and Garth are really excited to meet Alice Cooper backstage, and all the shock-rocker wants to do is talk about Native American history? Wayne, undeterred, yells out: "Does this guy know how to party or what!" Talking to Seth Green reminded me of that scene -- and also reminded me of being up all night at a slumber party, when the conversation turns deep and dark.
But Green parties on a budget. Perhaps that's surprising, considering the normal Hollywood slacker image. Unlike many of his Hollywood cohorts, Green has made sure to stay on top of his books, and now he's got a show to prove it: ABC's UNBROKE: What You Need to Know About Money (airing Friday, May 29, at 9 p.m. E.S.T.). Green compares Unbroke to the Schoolhouse Rock shorts from the 1970s: funny and informative. "We're in a culture that emphasizes a lot of importance on financial wealth," he says. "So I'm concerned for all of America's youth who grew up watching [MTV's] My Super Sweet 16 and Cribs. They have such different goals and aspirations. You can't fault kids for their influences. Kids only learn what you tell them."
Green and the rest of his cast are here to help. "The whole goal of the show is to offer kids financial education, without something stale or boring, but super-informative about the basics," he says. In Unbroke, he goes off on the importance of a healthy mortgage. Samuel L. Jackson plays the bestselling author of Broke as Hell and Not Going to Take it Anymore. Will Smith takes on a boardroom of corporate-finance executives (which should be cathartic for all of us). Among other stars demystifying personal finance: Cedric the Entertainer, Christian Slater, Rosario Dawson, and -- in the program's showstopper -- the Jonas Brothers, who teach the secrets of stock-trading to an audience of screaming girls.
Perhaps best known as Dr. Evil's mellow son, Scotty, from the Austin Powers franchise, Green recently spent five weeks crisscrossing the continents because he was so burnt out from working -- Tanzania, Dubai, Thailand, Palau, Micronesia. "I got to see what the world would look like if there were no people," he says. "This planet has rejuvenated itself over and over again. Its species are just witnesses. [Earth] is going to reclaim itself once it tires of us. And all that will be left are the bones."
On a lighter note, he got to see where Lucy, the earliest hominid, was found in Tanzania -- also the site of Battlestar Galactica's finale. "I called Ron Moore," Battlestar's creator, Green says. "I told him, 'I was just there!'"
Green is the co-creator of trippy animation series Robot Chicken on the Cartoon Network's after-hours program Adult Swim. He and his production team churn out 20 episodes a year, working nearly nonstop for 11 months at a time. (The Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II DVD comes out July 21.) Green's new series for Adult Swim, Titan Maximum, a stop-motion adventure comedy series about intergalactic fighting forces, comes out in September. Green is also the voice of Chris, Peter Griffin's weirdo son on Family Guy. And, since he must not be big on sleeping, he also stars in upcoming multiplex movies, Old Dogs, with John Travolta and Robin Williams, coming out November 25th, and Simon Wells's Mars Needs Moms, due out in 2011. Green calls Mars the greatest acting challenge of his life. The film used hundreds of cameras in its motion-capture technique. "You could have done The Incredibles and used real actors," Green says. "In two years, you're going to see this."
Growing up as a child actor, Green's parents taught him from an early age how to pay his bills and live within his means. "I don't spend a ton of money," he says. "I work very very hard. I save very well. I have assets in specific things, in property, and I live a very simple life. I'm happy with that."
Green's advice for success is equally simple: "Work hard, acquire many skills, and don't take anything personally." It's been an eye-opening process, he says, to go from being an actor and becoming a producer as well. He was shocked to realize he was a boss when, at the Robot Chicken holiday party, everyone was treating him a little differently.
"Nobody really gives you anything," he says. "It's really up to the individual to propel themselves forward with drive and commitment to a singular purpose."