Seth MacFarlane's first spin in the director's chair comes to theatres with a sizeable amount of expectation. After all, the multi-hyphenate creator of TV's funny-offensive "Family Guy" and more mainstream "American Dad" and "The Cleveland Show" has introduced a specific brand of cutaway comedy that sees every societal division and group (be it ethnic, sexual or otherwise) get its fair share of hazing and delights in going there for a laugh. And with his upcoming Ted, it seems that audiences can bank on being offended, being shocked and being entertained in true MacFarlane, no-one-is-safe style.
Mark Wahlberg stars as John, a man suffering from arrested development thanks to his lifelong friendship with a stuffed bear that magically came to life based on his childhood wish. MacFarlane brings the pot-smoking, hard-partying Ted to life and Mila Kunis - who voices Meg in "Family Guy" - is Lori, John's beyond patient girlfriend who prompts him to ditch childish things, ahem Ted, so they can start a mature relationship together. Imagine how well that goes.
Read on for the 5 Things You Didn't Know About Ted.
Patrick Stewart is the film's narrator
Yup, the man who piloted the Starship Enterprise as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" gets a credit as Narrator. Clearly he enjoys working with MacFarlane since he voices the character of Avery Bullock on "American Dad" and has done work on "Family Guy" as well, sometimes even as Captain Picard. His lilting, soothing voice is ideal to bring us into the story of a man and his teddy bear and he's game for R-rated laughs if his guest appearance on Ricky Gervais' "Extras" is any indication. Do yourself a favour and look that up. Right now.
Norah Jones plays herself in the movie and appears on the soundtrack
You wouldn't expect the soft-spoken adult-contempo singer-songwriter to contribute a song to a soundtrack for a movie with this hard an edge but Jones not only sings a song penned by MacFarlane himself ("Everybody Needs A Best Friend") in addition to her hit "Come Away With Me," she also plays herself in the movie, who just happens to be one of Ted's exes. Yup, Norah Jones plays a self-deprecating version of herself who once had a relationship with a talking bear. You've got our attention, MacFarlane.
Ted was supposed to be an animated series
Though it's only getting an audience now, MacFarlane had conceived the idea of a foul-mouthed bear BFF a long time ago and intended to make it an animated series. Shelving it to work on other projects, the idea resurfaced because the technology had improved so much that making a movie about a living, talking stuffed bear seemed totally possible. After finding a rhythm with co-conspirators Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild on "Family Guy", the trio penned the screenplay together and Ted the movie was born.
| Seth MacFarlane records on the set of his comedy Ted, NOT wearing a mo-cap suit (Courtesy of Universal)
Seth MacFarlane wore a motion-capture suit to play Ted
MacFarlane does quadruple duty on his first movie - that would be director, producer, writer, actor - and wanted to make sure he was able to interact with his co-stars and that meant putting on a mo-cap suit. The suit stayed on even when he was directing, so he was able to switch gears and run the show one second while spewing out spontaneous banter with Wahlberg just off-camera the next, something that wouldn't be possible if he was doing his scenes after-the-fact. A combination of his own performance and animation made Ted a character that, hopefully is just as full of life as any of his co-stars.
The Muppets were an influence
Squeaky-clean, morally-superior Muppets don't seem to have any obvious connection to a Seth MacFarlane movie but the writer-director looked to Jim Henson when it came to seamlessly incorporating an inanimate character into the greater world of his movie. "In The Great Muppet Caper, Kermit and Fozzie work at a newspaper and Jack Warden is their boss," MacFarlane was quoted as saying in the film's production notes. "They have the same relationship that newspapermen and their boss have in any movie, they just happen to be puppets. That was what we wanted." And considering the amount of vices Ted displays in the trailer, we're sure his more human characteristics will come shining through.
Ted hits Cineplex theatres June 29.
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