Seth Green has shared the screen with many a cinema great — Mike Myers, Edward Norton, Jodie Foster, Robin Williams, John Travolta, just for starters — but now he's toiling at the other end of the acting spectrum on MTV's Warren the Ape (Monday, July 5, 10:30/9:30c). Green will appear as himself opposite the title character, a disgustingly pervy ape puppet with a bad booze and drug problem. The premise for the new comedy series — a spinoff of Fox's Greg the Bunny, which also featured Green — finds Warren trying to cherry-pick his way through a 12-step program against the advice of his addiction counselor, Dr. Drew Pinksy. TV Guide Magazine spoke with Green about his guest stint and the unexpected dangers of playing oneself on TV.
TV Guide Magazine: What's with you and the monkeys lately? You sang falsetto to a silverback gorilla in Old Dogs. Now this.
Seth Green: When [Greg co-creator/producer] Dan Milano told me he was taking Warren to MTV, I said, "I wanna be part of it! I'll do anything!" I fell in love with Dan back when we were selling the Fox pilot for Greg, and we have a whole new opportunity to work together now that Warren has his own reality show. It's perfect. Warren's a washed-up actor desperately trying to maintain his relevance. He and I have a really dysfunctional relationship and he f---ed me over bad. Now he's in A.A. and he wants to make amends with me.
TV Guide Magazine: The episode has you hit by a car, smashed against a windshield and spitting blood. Cool!
Seth Green: In the original script they actually killed me and then there was a scene at my funeral. I said, "I have no problem dying as myself on camera, but I do have to let you know that I'd love to be a part of this show if you get to make more. If you kill me, you'll have to make me a ghost or something."
TV Guide Magazine: You also played yourself — as a total jerk wad — on Entourage. Did people get confused and think that was the real you?
Seth Green: You have no idea how much damage control I had to do after that. I thought I'd cultivated a kind of nice-guy image in the industry but I realized it's sort of generational. I've only made three movies in the last nine years — I've been really, really picky about the things I've done — and there's a whole generation of kids who have no connection to me as a movie actor. It's like a generational disconnect.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you worry about it?
Seth Green: I don't really worry, because I put a lot out there, career-wise. But the ripple effect is a little weird. With Entourage, I was purposely playing myself like a hyper-stereotyped über a--hole and an amalgam of so many horrible people I've known. I wore sunglasses indoors. I was texting while talking to people. And I was always talking about myself. They showed me living in this gorgeous all-glass beachfront house and had me surrounded by girls in bikinis. There were a couple of beefy dudes working the grill, a silver tray full of joints, alcohol everywhere — and it was all supposed to be taking place at 8:45 in the morning! I thought it was hilarious, but some people didn't get the joke. I went to New York to be a keynote speaker at the Digitas Conference, a gathering of corporate titans, where I talked about digital content and how we can all work together to achieve our common goals. After that, an article got published that said, "Contrary to his jerkish image, Seth Green was quite cordial in dazzling Madison Avenue's finest..." I couldn't believe it!
TV Guide Magazine: But you'd still do it all over again, right?
Seth Green: Oh, hell yes! Playing myself is a work in progress. We'll be talking to each other about this for the next 25 years!