By: Dave ItzkoffIt’s been two years since Patrick Fugit made his unforgettable filmdebut, as a wide-eyed adolescent rock journalist in AlmostFamous. Now the actor, who turns 20 this month, has hisinnocence tested in White Oleander (opening October 11), inwhich he plays the devoted boyfriend of the film’s heroine, avictim of troubled foster homes, played by Alison Lohman. Fugittalked with Spin from the comfort of his tricked-outbachelor pad in Salt Lake City (a.k.a. his parents’ basement).
Why follow up your career-making role in Almost Famous with a part in a moody melodrama and not, say, American Pie 8?
I probably would have if it weren’t for my dislike of teen comedies. I’ve turned down a lot of stuff like that. There was one where the wholemovie was based on the fact that teenage boys think about sex every seven seconds. Every seven seconds, they’d cut in with, like, a pictureof a nipple or something.
Are you still the same trusting person you were when you started acting, or has time made you more suspicious of Hollywood types?
So far, I’ve had great experiences on film sets with all the other actors and the crew. It’s the extras, the people who want to be “moviebuddies,” that kind of creep me out. I’ve never been asked by anybody for Cameron Crowe’s phone number, though a lot of guys ask me forKate Hudson’s number. A lot of girls do, too.
Are there Patrick Fugit groupies?
You know, there are. There are these girls who live in Maryland; they’re the Patrick Super Fan Club Association of America. They’ve sentme videotapes of themselves just eating and talking about Hanson, and a loaf of bread that was really moldy by the time it got here.They were more entertaining than annoying.
Since you’ve become an adult in the eyes of the law, have you started spending your money recklessly?
Oh, I’m quite the impulse buyer. Most of what I buy is stuff for my Jeep, ’cause it breaks down a lot. Also, I ride motorcycles with mydad–we own five all together. Meanwhile, I only have three pairs of pants, though I was looking to get another pair tomorrow.
Now that you’ve become more familiar with the work of rock critic Lester Bangs, are you ever tempted to down an entire bottle ofcough syrup and stay up all night listening to Vanilla Fudge records?
No, I have my youthful exuberance to get by on.