"I would love to be a superhero"
February 1999

"I would love to be a superhero," Freddie Prinze Jr. says, not joking. "That's my main dream." At 22, the smooth and soulful star of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and its $72 million-grossing predecessor dreams of many things. "I'd love to be a cowboy; I'd love to be a husband, a big brother, a little brother-there are so many roles out there that I haven't even gotten to touch."

Hollywood has always been in Prinze's blood-his father, the late Freddie Prinze, was the star of television's Chico and the Man-but a career in front of the camera came more from necessity than from desire. "I grew up in Albuquerque, where my only chances of survival were to go to junior college or to work at Price Club," Prinze says. "I couldn't afford to go to college; we were losing our house....I had acted a little bit, so I moved out here."

It was a decision that did not thrill his mother. After all, his father's road to fame ended in suicide, when the actor was just 22. "It's weird, because we're now the same age," Prinze says. "But knowing how I felt as a kid, I don't want to mess up like that. In a way, my father taught me the greatest lesson in life, and that's to make sure the people around you feel loved. That's something that maybe he wouldn't have been able to teach me if he were alive. So I owe him one."

And Prinze is fulfilling some of his dreams; he played a "coke-addicted, woman-raping" bad guy in the recent gambling drama Vig, costarring Peter Falk and Timothy Hutton. And in Wing Commander, a space adventure based on the popular CD-ROM game, he'll fly throuh space, navigating black holes without the aid of a computer. But there's still more. "I gotta be tough," he says. "I gotta get a movie where I'm just badass." Note to casting directors: Star available. Cape optional.

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