Teen Celebrity
Leading Men
October, 2000

Leading Men

These days, there's no actor who makes a better romantic comedy that Freddie Prinze Jr. The 24-year-old first charmed audiences with a small role in To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday and continued on to star in She's All That, Down To You and Boys and Girls. Now, with his next flick, Head Over Heels, about to released, we spoke with Freddie to find out what he thinks of his romantic characters and his new found fame.

Freddie Prinze Jr. by Lisa Gorman

Crowned King of Romantic Comedies

How are you handling fame?

I'm really, really lucky. I don't know why, but I'm very lucky and I'm glad I've been as well recieved as I have been. It's embarassing and I'm trying to get better at it, but it's...I'm from Alburquerque, you know? So, it's weird and I'm trying to get used to it, but it's hard.

Do you get mobbed at the mall or at the supermarket?

Nah. I mean, I go to the store late at night. I try to be smart and not cause problems for people at stores and stuff because I get yelled at by a manager. I guess a lot of people went in there one day after me and the manager said, "Why do you come here?" So, these days, I kind of go there when people aren't there. If I want to be alone, I stay at home. I don't mind when people come up to me and say "Hey, I liked your movie." That's good. It's better than if they are booing and yelling and stuff like that. So, I mean that stuff doesn't bother me.

You seem more comfortable playing someone your own age.

Yeah well, [laughing] I can't pull off 18 anymore. So, that kind of halted any of those roles, but I don't mind the age thing. I like characters and that's always what I've tried to make my decisions on.

You really seem to click with some of your leading ladies--Rachael Leigh Cook, Julia Stiles, Claire Forlani. Is that just the luck of the draw?

Chemistry is just something that you either have or don't. It's like going on a date. I have been very fortunate with the women that I've worked with.

Do you ever wonder whether a girl wants to date you or who she thinks you are?

I think that happens for anyone. I mean, if someone likes you for what you are and not for who you are is something that I think everyone goes through. So, you hope for the best and you can't find out if you don't give a little. You have to take that risk if you want things to work out.

You once said that you had kissed more girls in movies than in real life. Was that an understatement?

Well, that's probably true. I think so.

So, that means you weren't a ladies man in school?

No, when I was in high school I didn't go out much because I didn't really fit in. High school is like a planet that exists somewhere--it's just it's not earth. I mean, I don't know how it was 15 years ago, 30 years ago but when I went, it was weird. There were only like four groups, and if you didn't fit into one of those groups, not even the teachers like you. It's a strange place and I didn't really get along well with the people. I get along better with people now.

Do you remember your first kiss?

Oh, yeah. My first kiss was so bad. My first kiss was on the cheek. Her name was Laura Elkelburger and I had to break up with her the next day because I just couldn't handle it. It was too much. We were at the sixth grade dance. I was barely able to dance with her and I said, "Lets get out of here." We were sitting down outside and I couldn't even hold her hand for like 25 minutes. Then, I finally held her hand and just really quick she leaned over and kissed me and I was like "Hey!" I like yelled at her, but I didn't mean to. It just came out and she asked "What?" and I said "I'm sorry." Then we didn't talk for the rest of the night and just sat there for another hour. The next day, I broke up with her.

Were you prom king?

I wasn't even elected to the prom court. I barely even got to go to the prom. I was a dork in high school. Everybody thought I was this weird guy because I had this strange imagination that nobody understood. I would pretend I was a super hero and stuff like that, and people just thought I was really weird. So they didn't really tolk to me all that much. I didn't really have many dance opportunities at the prom. And that was just as well because I can't relly dance. I've got two left feet.

Did you have many friends in high school?

Not really. I had a couple of friends who knew what I was about, knew what I did. They were cool with it, but it wasn't really their thing.

Have those opinions changed?

Yeah. See, that's the thing. Back then I was considered weird and a freak, and now I'm considered artistic and an actor. And I do the exact same thing that I was doing back then.


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