The Huffington Post
March 11, 2012
For his feature film directorial debut, Seth MacFarlane didn’t play it safe with a “Family Guy” movie; instead, he wrote an R-rated, live-action-cum-animation hybrid about a man and his talking teddy bear. In the packed Vimeo Theater inside the Austin Convention Center at SXSW on Sunday morning, MacFarlane and surprise-guest Mark Wahlberg unveiled the first public look at “Ted.”
Out July 13, “Ted” follows John Bennett (Wahlberg), a Boston-bred man who, as a kid, wished that his teddy bear, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane), would come alive. Surprise! He did, and — when the initial shock wears off — he and John grow up to be besties-in-arms, smoking pot and watching “Flash Gordon” on the regular. Unfortunately, John’s girlfriend (Mila Kunis) isn’t pleased with their co-dependent relationship, and John must mature — much to the consternation of Ted.
MacFarlane and Wahlberg debuted the first eight-minutes of “Ted,” which sets up the initial premise: that Ted can walk and talk. The funny prologue — featuring “Family Guy” star Alex Borstein as John’s mom — wisely puts “Ted” in the real world; the living teddy bear is featured on news broadcasts around the country and even makes an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” When things shift to the present day, Wahlberg has an easy rapport with his foul-mouthed furry friend, something made all the more impressive since he was mostly acting to nothing.
“It’s a very challenging role, in a lot of ways,” MacFarlane said. “It’s a comedy, but you’re interacting with empty space. One of the great things when we finally got [the effects done], was that Mark was so good and so convincing. When we finally put the bear in, it felt so organic and so real. It would sink or swim on whether you believe these two guys were together.”