04/20/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Interview: Bryan Greenberg Wants to be The Good Guy

Bryan Greenberg laughs ruefully at the question of who's the better kisser: Alexis Bledel or Uma Thurman?

But he's one of the few actors around who can answer it, so it needs to be brought up.

"Don't make me choose," he pleads over the telephone from a Los Angeles press day for the film The Good Guy, the film in which his character poaches Bledel from his best friend, which opens in limited release Friday (2/19/10).

He chuckles again and says, "What a tough life I live. I guess it's a perk of the job. No, really, it's cool but it's weird. It's not as glamorous as you think it would be. It's a job. It's technical. People touching you up with makeup, watching: It's awkward."

He pauses, then adds cheerfully, "I've had worse jobs."

Such as? "I was a bartender. I worked at Chik-Fil-A. I was a mortgage banker's assistant."

None of which prepared him for The Good Guy, in which he plays a straight-arrow tech guy at a Wall Street firm in training to be a stockbroker. He did research for the role with writer-director Julio DiPietro, a former stock trader, who took him to watch deals being made.

"I knew nothing about Wall Street," says Greenberg, 31. "It was a cool look at a whole culture. I was fascinated by how they talk on the phone: They've got two phones, one at each ear, with mute buttons, and they're having multiple conversations and doing deals and playing with a golf club at the same time. And they're jacked up on Red Bull.

"What they were saying was like a foreign language; Julio had to interpret the jargon for me. It was like I was looking at another species, watching how they physically acted. I couldn't understand what they were talking about. It's a very convoluted industry if you don't know what you're doing."

Which, he added, explains a lot about the financial crisis that shook the country in late 2008:

"We shot this pre-meltdown. Just seeing the life these guys live, the value system they have, it's no wonder why we are where we are. There are some good people, but there's a lot of greed involved. It's one of those things where there are too many people in the industry and not enough commodities to go around. That's what brought us here."

Greenberg's character, Daniel, is the antithesis of the Wall Street hard-chargers: a guy with a moral code who is uncomfortable with the idea of getting over on anyone, whether it's a customer on the line or a woman in a bar. It's the first Boy Scout-type that Greenberg has played.

"My character doesn't vibe with that culture," he says.

This interview continues on my website.