Check out this neighborhood kid: He’s a little guy (“Four-foot something,” he says) with red hair, white sweats and sneaks, and with rows of badges on his bluejacket that carry slogans such as, “I’m Not as Innocent as I Look” and “Avoid the Noid.” He’s hanging out at the video store with his buddy Chris, and a woman is telling him how great he was on The Tonight Show. “Thanks,” he mumbles absently, then, grabbing Chris, asks, “Hey, have you seen Ruthless People? Wow! Cool movie!”
The kid is cool, and residents of Philadelphia’s Overbrook Park are getting quite a kick out of their Seth Green, mini movie star. Not many neighborhoods can boast a 13-year-old, just 4’4″ high, who’s done commercials (Lee jeans, Burger King), TV shows (Saturday Night Live, Spenser: For Hire) and five movies, including The Hotel New Hampshire and, most recently, Woody Allen’s popular Radio Days. In that one, Seth plays a kid representing Woody, the film’s narrator, who idolizes a radio character called the Masked Avenger. That fits right in with Seth’s love of comic books and his practice—the skill is “inherited from my mom”—of drawing his own comic strips.
Seth made his cinematic debut about as soon as one can: His dad photographed him being born, and the photo wound up in an ad campaign for natural childbirth. The exposure apparently had an effect. At 6, after making his summer camp acting bow in Hello, Dolly! he informed his parents (Herb, a high school math teacher, and Barbara, an artist) that he intended to make acting his life’s work, starting right then. A local casting agent who was a family friend helped put him in touch with Edie Robb, who became his manager and got him his first feature film role, as Egg in The Hotel New Hampshire. His Hotel co-star Jodie Foster took him under her wing. “She told me that no matter what job you were working on,” he says, “school was the most important thing.” Now he’s aiming for her alma mater, Yale.
Seth says filming Radio Days in New York last winter was his best film fun yet, partly because he became friends with Mia Farrow’s son Fletcher, who’s exactly his age. “We’d go to the store and buy automatic water guns and then raid the set. It was great.” An avid TV cartoon watcher, Seth came out feeling that “radio would have been much more fun than television because it left it all up to your imagination.” He remembers telling Woody Allen he thought he was a genius. Woody’s response: “You’re right.”
Overbrook Park sees less of Seth these days, but when he’s there he attends public junior high, plays soccer (“because you don’t need to be tall”) and tolerates his sister, Kaela, 15, who is an aspiring dancer. Bar mitzvahed last month, he has just won a part in an ABC pilot for Aaron Spelling and has finished another movie, Boy Rents Girl. He would love to work with Woody and Fletcher again, but otherwise his ambitions still seem to be on the short side: When he grows up he wants to be “taller and older.”