Titan Maximum Interview with Seth Green

Seth Green has the life every fanboy dreams of. You can pretty much see one of his movies every day if you have HBO and Showtime. If you want to see his TV oeuvre, watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the morning and Family Guy and Robot Chicken at night. Oh, and he's now the official spokesman for Butterfingers Candy Bars so he's rolling in free candy. We chatted with him about his role as Gibbs on Titan Maximum, the new Adult Swim series he's also producing.

What's your day-to-day role like as a producer on Titan Maximum?

Titan is a great job for me. I basically get to take a lot of credit for Matt Senreich and Tom Root being awesome. This is an idea that they came up with, and developed and then let me read the scripts for.

I mean, I participated in the development of it. I helped direct the character design, the puppet design, all of the things where I could be helpful, the suits, the robots, the color. All of the artistic stuff about it, I weighed in on. But the scripts came out just great. I had such limited notes on them. And the episodes were directed by Chris McKay and like, awesome.

Oh, you know, I did direct some of the voice-over stuff, but when I was out of the country, they just did it themselves. It was really nice to see our team taking on all these roles so well and knowing that even if I didn't get to look at it, it was going to be great.

So, this is one of your first big villainous roles that you're playing. Is it fun for you to get to be the bad guy and does it change the way you approach the character?

It is fun. I like this character. He's a little complicated, just from the performance standpoint, because some of the qualities of the voice I am trying to do don't translate well with certain dialogue or certain emotional tone. It's hard for me to hit the tone of the voice when he's yelling, so it ends up just sounding like a yell instead of this character yelling maybe.

But I'm not really doing anything from a performance standpoint. I just think about where he is at that moment and act that way.

Does your voice ever get strained from doing all these different voices and characters?

I get strained a lot. Robot Chicken kills me more than any job I've had, just because I fill in so many utility voices and it's all yelling and screaming. If you look at how many Robot Chicken cues that are just someone going "Ow!" are "Argh!" or some **** like that, that's all me and that hurts after a while.

So you have to plan out when you do dialogue and when you'll be doing the screaming?

Yeah, we save all the screams, but you know, we bundle record and I'll wind up doing five scripts at a time. You get to a point where you get 80 or 90 cues left and they're all screaming.

Are we ever going to find out how Gibbs lost his eye?

Ha. You'll have to ask Tom Root. But not this season.

We saw you on the Family Guy episode of Inside the Actor's Studio with James Lipton. When you're up there with all of your cast mates and talking to James Lipton, what's going through your head?

There was a point where James Lipton, without irony, looked at me and said, "And then came Buffy the Vampire Slayer." I just started laughing. I just laughed and said, "That's so ****** surreal, dude."

You know, I mean I got a blue mohawk and I'm on the Inside the Actor's Studio stage. It's all kind of coming together, isn't it?

Speaking of Buffy, do you get all of your action figures from Buffy and Austin Powers?

Of course I do.

Do you display them?

Of course I do. They're me and they're action figures!

Does it ever creep you out just to look at them?

You know, the one from Austin Powers has rosier lips than I would like, but, you know, what are you going to do? It's a toy. I've seen the ones that they made of Michelle Trachtenberg. At least mine are attractive.

Are you hunting for any toys lately for your collection?

Not like hunting, but I would be excited to see some Titan Maximum toys.


Yeah. We have no theory for how the robot transforms, by the way. Just in case someone out there has some kind of mechanical engineering background and wants to help us reverse engineer these ships into a robot. We're not exactly sure but we think it's magic.

Also, we wanted to ask, what's going on with The Freshmen movie?

Well, to tell you the truth, we're just working on the script right now.

Are you going to do some more comics or are you just focusing on the movie?

We're just concentrating on telling the story. It's a complicated translation, because what you can do in a comic book versus what you can do in a movie is so different. Hugh Sterbakov and I are really having to just strip it down to its most basic essentials and figuring out, "What is the story we are trying to tell?" and "Who is it about?" and "How does it work in a movie?"

But, it's been super exciting. And Hugh is one of my oldest friends and we wrote comics together when we were kids. It's amazing to get something published and it's a real treat to get to work on something with your friend. We're taking our time with it because we don't want to rush it. And when it's right, we'll be anxious to show it.

Being on the road on the Robot Chicken Skate Tour that long with your friends and the band and stuff, did you learn anything new about anybody?

You know, we all get along really well. And we got to know the guys in the band well and like them all very much. So it was kind of an extended road trip vacation and none of us had anything to fight about, so we just had a great time.

And especially when you're putting on a show for a different audience all the time, it only bonds you closer together because you're sharing that experience of going to place to place.

Did it all go pretty smoothly? Were there any mishaps or injuries?

I saw a lot of injuries, but none from us. And we were like, "Good luck at the hospital, guys!"

One of the questions we've asked everybody, if money and time were not an object, what would be your dream creative project?

I'm working on a couple of them and I hope that doesn't sound arrogant. I consider myself really lucky because... It's not that time and money isn't ever an issue, you just devote time to the things you care about and you find ways to get the money when you really care about it. So Robot Chicken is a huge passion project and getting to do these Star Wars projects is a dream come true. And having grown up watching all these super-robot-fighting-force shows, getting to make them is f****** preposterous. And then, like I said, I made a comic with one of my best friends and we're going to make a movie out of it.

I can't imagine... It's not that I won't continue to reach high, but I'm definitely taking note that all of these things are happening and I'm putting all my effort and energy into making them great.

We're so fascinated by Billy Dee Williams. What's it like to direct him?

Yeah, what do you say? I love him. I genuinely love him. We hug when we see each other. It's so cool, I don't even know how to put it into f****** words, right?

And Billy Dee is an actor. So for him, to get to come in every day and take a part seriously and be surrounded by people who think he's the cat's meow, it's wonderful.

Honestly, though, what goes through my head when I'm directing is what it needs to be like and how to convey that information to an actor to get them to perform it. I've had to direct George Lucas and it's the same thing. You have to put out of your head everything that's outside of that room and just say, I need this actor to give me this performance and how do I get them to do it.

Is there any question for Titan Maximum that we should have asked? Anything we just dropped the ball on?

Well, you didn't ask me, "How awesome is it?"

How awesome is it?

So awesome you can't even imagine. It's one of these things that I'm getting more and more excited as we're getting ready to show it to people, because we've been working on it for a while. You would have to see the original action figures that Matt and Tom based this on. It's so cheap and low-rent and so homemade. And to get to actually make it as a show and have real puppets and real ships and a real robot and just, the HD photography of it... Everything looks better than we hoped. McKay did a great job directing and it just looks so f***** awesome.

Titan Maximum premieres Sunday, Sept. 27 at 11:30p ET/PT on [adult swim]