Seth MacFarlane is know for his hit Television shows, Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show. For the first time Seth serves as a writer, director, producer, and the voice star of Ted. In the live-action/CG-animated comedy, John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) a grown man whose simple childhood wish brought his teddy bear to life. Thirty years later Ted is reluctant to leave John’s side through the increasing annoyance of John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis). As John struggles to figure out this thing called adulthood, it will take the unexpected help of Ted to make the leap from man-child to a grown man.
At a recent press conference we had the opportunity to speak with Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, and Mila Kunis about Ted’s dialogue, if it was nerve racking taking the role opposite a GC character, what took Seth so long to cross over to film, Seth having great insight into combining youth with adulthood, and if they ever thought they got too close to pushing some boundaries.
Seth did you find yourself rewriting a lot of Ted’s dialogue over in post?
Seth MacFarlane: Yeah we had a little bit of liberty to do new tag lines in post just in case something didn’t work, that was a luxury. We would screen the movie and if something didn’t work we would change the line and try something new for the next screening.
Mark and Mila were you guys a bit nervous starring along side a bear?
Mark Wahlberg: I was a little nervous at first but once we started getting into it I felt pretty comfortable quickly. It was more of a problem working with Mila (laughter) she’s a tough cookie as you can see.
Mila Kunis: It wasn’t so bad because I didn’t have much interaction with the bear. The bear was either to the left or right of me and it wasn’t so frightening for me. You have a stick and two eyes to look at.
Mark Wahlberg: They had done a test too where we got to see a little bit of the bear but it was never a concern.
Seth you’ve been around television for a while what took so long to cross over to film?
Seth MacFarlane: Well “Family Guy” had been cancelled back in the day and I wanted to make sure it was fully on it’s feet before coming back and stepping away from the show. With this film it meant that I had to completely step away from the show for a year and it was something I’ve never done before. This was an idea that was floating around my head for awhile, I actually conceived it as an animated series idea and for a number of reasons shelved it. When it came down to making my first film it just seemed liked it made a better film then series.
Mark you had great comedic timing in this film, who were your idols growing up?
Mark Wahlberg: I just grew up watching a lot of television with my father wether it be “F-Troop” but it’s all in the material. I approach a comedy just like I do a drama, I try to make it as real as possible.
Seth you do a great job clashing youth with adulthood, just wondering were the interest for that comes from?
Seth MacFarlane: Adults acting like children and children acting like adults is generally a pretty reliable comic devise. On “Family Guy” you have Stewie a child who acts like an adult and Peter an adult who acts like a child. This movie is a bit more textured and has more shades to it. In terms of dynamic, we’re playing the teddy bear as the physical manifestation of John’s inability to grow up and get on with his life.
Mark the fight you had with Ted reminded me of the fight Peter has with the chicken in “Family Guy”, was it a bit silly to prepare for?
Mark Wahlberg: Well I just felt sort of ridicules flopping around this room by myself. I was wrong and he was right, everyone loved that scene.
Seth MacFarlane: The chicken fight was broad and cartoony in many ways this was suppose to be something very different. The whole joke of this was that we wanted to play it as realistic as possible. We wanted it to feel like a fist fight in “The Bourne Identity” just with one of the characters being a teddy bear and Mark just sold it 150 percent.
Seth as a writer and a filmmaker where do you decide to draw lines and boundaries for particular scenes?
Seth MacFarlane: Well with a movie like this we adhere to the same rule as we do with the animated shows which is if you’re going to make fun of one group you have to make fun of them all. The cliche is equal opportunity offender, so in this movie every religion, race, creed is poked fun at. As far as going over the line it’s pretty clear what has gone there, especially at these audience test screenings that we do. Our own staff is also not shy about saying we’ve gone over the line but if you get enough laughs on the way there then it’s probably ok.
Mila is comedy one of your favorite genres or would you like to go into more dramas like you did in “Black Swan”?
Mila Kunis: Somebody told me that after “Black Swan” they didn’t expect me to follow up with “Ted” and I was like why because it’s funny? I’ve had this argument with MacFarlane many times but I don’t think I’m funny.
Seth MacFarlane: I disagree
Mila Kunis: Thanks, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like comedy I just would never be able to go on a stage and do a roast, I would panic. But I love comedy when it’s written well. When someone like Macfarlane writes something that I think is brilliant I will say the shit out of it.
“Ted” is in theaters June 29, 2012.