When Seth Green visited Thailand a decade ago with his friend Dan, the besties were mistaken for honeymooners. This didn’t faze either of them.
“We’re both self-assured with our own sexuality, and with the depth of our relationship,” Green says. “Neither of us are afraid to demonstrate affection for each other.”
Green re-created the experience in writing and directing “Changeland,” opening Friday. “We’re living in a time with a lot of condemnation of toxic masculinity,” the 45-year-old says, “and I wanted to show an alternative to that. A positive exploration of male friendship.”
He stars as Brandon, whose life has come unmoored since discovering his wife (phone-voiced by Rachel Bloom of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) cheated on him. Breckin Meyer plays the friend who accompanies Brandon on a trip to Thailand, originally booked as an anniversary celebration. It’s a contemplative, quiet film from a guy best known for voice work in such raucous animated fare as “Family Guy” (he’s Chris Griffin) and “Robot Chicken,” which Green co-created.
“Changeland” is a love letter to Thailand, and its tourism officials have given the film their blessing. Green says he’s all for the movie being an advertisement for visiting. Most of the adventures in the movie re-create his own, from kayaking to “James Bond island,” to hitting a tiny beach bar that has sand pails full of alcohol and an amateur boxing ring.
Working on a limited budget, Green cast friends who would be down with a scrappy shoot. In addition to Meyer, whom he’s known since both were teenagers, Green brought on longtime pal Macaulay Culkin to play a laid-back boat captain he modeled on one he met.
“The [real] guy took us on a trip to see coral reefs, and then invited us to come watch him box in a Muay Thai ring,” Green says. “He had come from the States and re-created himself as this local celebrity everyone on the island knew.” Culkin, who co-starred with Green in 2003’s “Party Monster,” is the campy highlight of the movie, leading his passengers on a nighttime adventure while wearing bunny ears.
“Each of these parts was written especially for the person,” says Green. He also cast his wife, Clare Grant, as an expat. The couple has, thankfully, a very different relationship than Green’s on-screen marriage. “What’s kept us together is honesty and taking individual responsibility,” he says. “You’re one-half of a team, but your half is your responsibility. You gotta be a good partner.”
This applies to his working relationships as well, and seems almost old-fashioned in the ever-shifting alliances of the entertainment biz. “I think your collaborators should be people whom you’re inspired by, but also that you get along with,” Green says. “I don’t make enemies — I make friends.”
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