They say there are TV actors and movie actors, and that there is onscreen talent and production talent. To be a success in any one area is a major accomplishment. But somehow Seth Green, with little fanfare, manages to segue from theatricals to TV, from broadcast to cable, from acting to producing.
Mr. Green first gained popular notice as a cast member on The WB’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” A slew of high-profile television and theatrical projects followed-playing Dr. Evil’s son in “Austin Powers,” landing the voice of Chris Griffin on Fox’s “Family Guy,” playing a tech expert in heist film “The Italian Job” and starring on Fox’s puppet satire “Greg the Bunny.”
With the exception of “Italian Job,” all four projects failed … at first.
“Austin Powers” began as a modest performer but became a major hit on home video and spawned two sequels.
“Family Guy” was canceled by Fox-twice-before it became a hit on Adult Swim, and Fox later resurrected the show.
And “Bunny,” also canceled by Fox, has recently been revived by IFC, which is ordering six new episodes.
The revivals of “Family Guy” and “Bunny” explain why Mr. Green currently has two shows on television, yet neither is his tentpole effort. That distinction goes to Adult Swim’s stop-motion hit “Robot Chicken,” on which Mr. Green is the co-executive producer/director/writer and provides dozens of voices.
The second season continues to be a success for the network, averaging 1.1 million viewers 18 to 49. The first-season DVD has been a brisk seller, recently topping the Amazon sales chart.
Mr. Green has been acting since he was 7 years old, getting his first major role in “The Hotel New Hampshire.” Having experienced so many career ups and downs, he always feels compelled to keep searching for new projects.
“I don’t think you ever reach a plateau of success,” he said. “I think you can always improve and you constantly have new opportunities to redefine yourself.”
One recent effort was the short-lived NBC sitcom “Four Kings.” Though Mr. Green’s broadcast efforts have a way of reanimating on cable, even he is ready to move on from the show.
In fact, after “Kings” and “Buffy”-which Mr. Green quit mid-run, citing frustration with the schedule-he said both sitcoms and hour-long dramas are off his consideration list.
“The schedule of an hour-long drama is really only viable for somebody who doesn’t have a life,” he said. “And after ‘Kings,’ I got to rule out acting on a four-camera sitcom. The experience was great; I’ve just fallen out of love with the performance part of it.”
Which isn’t to say Mr. Green is ruling out new TV projects. He’s currently pitching Adult Swim on several new programs. “I don’t want to sound obnoxious, but I liken it to musicians-you always look for the opportunity to play all sorts of venues,” he said. N
Title: Co-executive producer, co-writer, co-director and co-star, “Robot Chicken”; co-star, “Family Guy”; co-star, “Greg the Bunny”
Date of birth: Feb. 8, 1974
Place of birth: Philadelphia
Big break: “I had three things happen at the same time. ‘Austin Powers’ came out on home video and became an enormous success. I got made a series regular on ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ And ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ came out.”
“I can do a high-bounce, no-look dunk on a regulation basketball court.”