If you’ve seen the hilarious (and very R-rated) red-band trailer for Seth MacFarlane’s first feature film, Ted (out July 13), you have some idea of what kind of craziness you’re in for with this talking-teddy-bear comedy. Mark Wahlberg stars as a guy whose stuffed bear (voiced and motion-capture acted by MacFarlane) magically came to life when he was a kid, then just…stuck around. They’re still best pals, but the bear — now a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking layabout — is starting to get in the way of his life. We recently talked to Mila Kunis, who plays Wahlberg’s character’s put-upon girlfriend, about the movie, as well as next year’s much-anticipated, Sam Raimi-directed Wizard of Oz prequel, Oz: The Great and Powerful, in which she plays a witch.
– Kunis is the voice of Meg Griffin on Family Guy, and she and MacFarlane have collaborated for years. But don’t expect their previous work to trickle into Ted: Kunis’ character is decidedly un-Meg-like. “She’s nothing like Meg,” Kunis says with a laugh. “I don’t know how many characters really are exactly like Meg. My character’s got her life together. She’s got a pretty great job. She wants Mark’s character to kind of grow up and man up and be with her. She’s a woman in her late 20s who knows what she wants out of life and desperately wants her boyfriend to be in her life with her in the same way.”
– MacFarlane fans eager to experience his humor undiluted by the constraints of TV will probably not be disappointed. “I’d say it’s as R-rated as R-rated can get,” says Kunis. “I mean, MacFarlane’s truly one of the smartest people you’ll ever meet, but that man can do his poo-fart jokes like no other. If I remember correctly, it’s ridiculous. Like, Sincerely. Just. Ridiculous. It is really raunchy. It’s MacFarlane’s humor, so it’s very smart, but also very lowbrow.” Was there one scene that was so over-the-top she had trouble getting through it with a straight face? “Yes, but I can’t give it away,” she says. “All I’m going to say is it has to do with poop. I was crying, I was laughing so hard.”
– Acting opposite an absent stuffed animal — the bear was added digitally in post-production — wasn’t as strange as it could have been. “It took maybe a little to get used to, but it wasn’t as uncomfortable as one would assume,” says Kunis. “MacFarlane recorded [the bear's voice] live-action with us. So as weird as it is to sometimes act against nothing, you did hear MacFarlane either in your ear or next to you all the time. I think it might have been stranger for Mark, because he had fighting sequences and wrestling sequences with the bear. That must have been a little funnier.”
– Shooting a CG-heavy movie turned out to be good training for Oz: the Great and Powerful, which also stars James Franco, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz and is due out in March of 2013. “Oh, my gosh, it was amazing,” she says. “I don’t even know where to begin. Going from Ted to Oz was great, because I got to work with imaginary, inamimate objects. In Ted I practiced that, so by the time I went into Oz it wasn’t so hard to envision things going on around you. But it was great. Working with Sam Raimi is unlike anything I’ve done in my life. He’s so creative and so incredibly passionate and detail oriented. He so trusts the actors who he hires and has so much passion for every character, for every nuance of the project. He loves film, loves creating movies. He just loves the experience, and it makes you love the experience that much more.” So what will the finished movie be like? “I couldn’t even tell you, because I myself have absolutely no idea. I just remember shooting it and thinking it was just truly magical. So if in the process I was mesmerized, I can’t even imagine what it’s going to look like afterward.”
For more on Ted, check out our Summer Movie Preview issue, on sale now.
‘Ted’: Mark Wahlberg on the hilarious white-trash name scene in Seth MacFarlane’s first film — RED BAND TRAILER
SXSW: Seth MacFarlane previews footage, and a special surprise guest, from his feature directorial debut, ‘Ted’