Freddie Prinze Jr.: The Artist Known as Prinze

Q: Who knows more about affairs of the heart, men or women?

A: On the whole, probably women.

Q: Is there anything you envy in women?

A: God no! Women have periods, they have to have babies, they bloat, they get moody, they get eyeballed all day by guys. Oh lord.

Q: Does the idea of marriage appeal to you?

A: Yeah. That's the only goal I have, to be a good father.

Q: Back to your career. You've said you were so intimidated on To Gillian that you almost threw up. Was that because of having to kiss Claire?

A: Yeah. I hadn't kissed that many girls, let alone on-screen. I said to Claire, "I want you to know that I would never do anything to disrespect you. It would help me out a lot if you told me what you're comfortable with." And she said. "Oh, we'll just do whatever." I didn't know what to do. So I literally got on my knees and prayed. My stomach was just wrecked. I was saying, "Oh God, I don't need to be the Mac of the week, I don't need to be the coolest guy in the world, just don't let me vomit all over this girl." I was trembling when we did that scene and she was so cool.

Q: Is prayer pan of your daily routine?

A: I pray a lot, three or four times a day.

Q: Did you pray before we started this interview?

A: I prayed in the shower this morning. I always pray in the shower.

Q: Were you raised Catholic?

A: Originally Baptist, but I was raised non-denominational. I don't go to church because my views on' church have changed since I've grown up, but I believe in God and Jesus.

Q: Do a lot of your peers find solace in religion?

A: A lot of my peers are looking for something and in a state of confusion they find what they think is religion and they end up weaker. You lose the ability to depend on yourself, which is part of being an adult. But it's hard to be an adult and be a young actor in this business because everybody kisses your ass and caters to every single thing you need.

Q: What attracted you to your second film, The House of Yes?

A: The script was phenomenal. It was a dark comedy, which is my favorite. Working with Parker Posey made me fall in love with acting. I didn't know what I wanted to do until that movie was over and I saw how passionate she was and I learned that it was OK to get that excited.

Q: I Know What You Did Last Summer is the one that made you into a teen idol.

A: Getting this movie was one of the hardest experiences of my life. I read like a thousand times. I was about to walk away from it before I even had it because I was sick of dealing with the crap.

Q: Did you sense that She's All That would be a breakthrough film for you?

A: Yeah, everyone knew that movie would be dope.

Q: Is it true that a makeup artist helped give your chest definition?

A: Yeah, it is. Dude, I'm not buff. This lady shades underneath your pecs, so it's like a shadow, so the shits hanging over. I was like, yo! I have muscles!

Q: Do you have a goal of making $10 or $20 million a picture like the best-paid actors?

A: Man, I make my mortgage, I make my mother's mortgage, I have food on my table, I'm as happy as can be. I'm dating the most amazing woman in the world, I have two English bulldogs coming in a couple of days. I have the greatest friends in the world. If I never worked again I could live here for the rest of my life and never worry. I invested my money wisely. I'm straight. I'm cool. All I want to do is make cool movies and be cool characters that in real life I wouldn't have a chance to be. I want to he able to fly.

Q: How competitive are you?

A: I refuse to buy into that, man.

Q: Let's say Spider-Man is being cast...

A: I want that role very, very badly. Right now they're talking to Leonardo DiCaprio. It's a competition, but I can't look at it that way. There are other parts. You can't live or die on that sword, man, because you're gonna die more times than you live.

Q: What about being a teen idol at the age of 24? Is that a compliment or is it baggage?

A: It's a compliment. Look at what I have because of my fans. They put food in my mouth, they give me love, they're the reason I get paid so well. They believed in me and they showed up when other people wouldn't. That's my audience, those are my people. I made three movies for them. For them! Now I want to make one for me. I want to be a pitcher, because I never got to be that. So I'll make a baseball movie, Summer Catch. Then if it's time to make one for them, I will.

Q: What kind of films do you see yourself making in the next 5 or 10 years?

A: Hopefully I'll make something that really messes with people's heads, the way The Silence of the Lambs Did. Or play a superhero. I want to do things that mere mortals can't.

Q: You've said that people would laugh at you being a bad guy.

A: They have. I go into meetings and the response that comes back is that the moment I smile no one believes I can he a bad guy.

Q: I've read you like cartoon shows--would you like to do a voice-over for some cartoon?

A: That's my dream. If I could make a living doing that I would stop acting. To be a cartoon character, that's like being immortalized.

Q: Who's the most influential person in your past?

A: My father,

Q: More than your mother?

A: Yeah. I didn't want to make the same mistakes he did, so I've guided my entire life to make sure that I don't end up like that.

Q: How would you describe your mother?

A: Hardheaded, passionate, beats up on herself too much.

Q: How different are you from your mother?

A: My mom and I are a lot alike.

Q: Do you think you're in touch with your emotions?

A: I'm still learning about them. I'm getting to feel things that I never felt before. As an actor you want to hold on to those and remember them; as a person you're like, "Shit, let it go, man." I'm still a baby. I'm still a kid.

Q: What's your favorite sport?

A: Boxing. Marvin Hagler's my favorite. He's left-handed, like me.

Q: Bill Bradley played for the Knicks, your favorite team. Did you vote for him in the presidential primary?

A: I don't vote. I'm gonna catch hell for this. I try to get into it but they all look like liars to me. I just don't buy a word they're saying, I'm an actor, I know moments, I can see they don't believe what they say. They don't even deliver their lines right.

Q: What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you?

A: I was out to dinner with this girl, and this always happens to me: you know the fabric softener sheets you put in the dryer? I check my clothes because this happens to me so many times. Almost every time I go on a date I'll be talking and I'll have my hand on my head and I look down and there'll be a fucking fabric softener sheet sticking out of my sleeve or out of my neck.

Q: When you watch "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," how far do you usually get?

A: Not very far. I need my lifelines. I made it to $125,000 a few times. I've never gotten any of the higher ones. I love that show.

Q: What's your favorite music?

A: Rap. My favorite rapper is Guru, after that it's a three-way tie between Tupac Shakur, DMX and Biggie Smalls.

Q: If you could live inside a painting, what one would you choose?

A: I don't know the name of it, but I was in Luxembourg and there was this painting, very textury, it's got this fountain and a bird on the edge and a naked little girl with her hands on the edge of the fountain looking up kissing the bird. I sat and stared at this painting for so long, I didn't see any other thing in the museum.

Q: Are you still tap dancing?

A: I've been dancing for a couple of years now. Me and my buddy Dule [Hill] built a dance floor downstairs. He's one of the best tap dancers in the world. He was in Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk, I dug what he was doing one day and asked him to show me. He didn't know if I was serious, but I kept practicing. We dance all the time, it's more fun than acting.

Q: What are the five most important things in life?

A: Love. Family. Food. Home. Religion. Not necessarily in that order.


Lawrence Grobel interviewed David Duchovny for the April issue of Movieline.

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