The Animated Life of Seth MacFarlane, From ‘Family Guy’ to ‘Ted’

From The New York Times:

When Seth MacFarlane calls to talk about his directorial debut, “Ted,” he’s multitasking, of course. He’s just finished another day of work overseeing the three Fox animated comedies he produces – “Family Guy,” “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad” – and is preparing to attend a benefit that night. “It’s a little crazy,” Mr. MacFarlane said. “But I can shower and get dressed while we’re on the phone.”

“Ted,” due June 29 from Universal, stars Mark Wahlberg as a man still living with the toy bear he wished to life when he was a boy. Mr. MacFarlane, 38, not only directed the movie (on a reported budget of $65 million) and wrote the screenplay (with “Family Guy” collaborators Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild), he plays the title character: a living, talking, cursing, pot-smoking teddy bear that he portrayed using motion-capture technology.

Q.
Compared to some of the things you’ve done on “Family Guy,” the story of an obscene talking teddy bear could almost seem conventional. Where did the idea for “Ted” come from?

A.
It was an idea that I had for an animated series. And when I decided it’s probably about time for me to make a movie, that seemed like a cool idea. The “Avatar”-slash-“Lord of the Rings” technology had reached a point where you could create a fictional-looking character that was completely real in movement. It’s been in adventure films, in fantasy films. Where more than a comedy do you need subtle character actors?

Q.
How much of your “Family Guy” sensibility – the pop-cultural references; the Patrick Stewart voice-overs – did you want to have in your film debut?

A.
I tend to not overthink that stuff too much. It’s a melting pot of a million different factors. You want to do something that’s fresh, and at the same time, you don’t want to completely alienate your audience by doing a Holocaust drama. It’s a balancing act between wanting to try new things and at the same time being conscious of what your fan base wants to see.

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