In the hilarious comedy Ted, starring Mark Wahlberg (John) and Seth MacFarlane (voice of Ted) showed us that true friendship can withstand any test, even if your BFF is a foul-mouthed, sexually charged Teddy Bear! In Ted 2, our thunder buddies are back and ready to face new challenges the only way they know how–as the best of friends! The government has discovered that Ted, although a high functioning and intelligent being, is not an actual human but in fact property. It’s time to legalize Ted!
In comes a young but promising lawyer, Samantha, played by the always lovely Amanda Seyfried. I had a chance to chat with her while she was in London working on her new film. We talked about what challenged she faced working with an inanimate object and how she kept her character grounded in such wild circumstances. We also touched on what her next role will be if she can help it!
This is your second collaboration with Seth MacFarlane, the first being A Million Ways to Die in the West, how did Ted differ from that?
It was set in the present day and Mark Wahlberg was in it! (laughs) My character in Ted is actually completely different than Louise. Samantha is strong, laid back and she’s a happy girl. She’s a hard working lawyer, but she’s cool. She’s somebody I’d want to know. Louise was a bitch! The collaboration is always great with Seth, I look forward to coming into work every day and seeing him. Mark is also so awesome, he’s so easy and funny and such a pro!
What was it like working with an essentially invisible character?
Seth does all the acting behind a monitor, you can hear him loud and clear but coming from another direction. So your first instinct as an actor is to connect and respond to that voice but you can’t because the voice is supposed to be coming from a block of air that’s in front of you or next to you. Or, if you’re lucky a stick with two eyeballs! We couldn’t use the actual doll for visual effects purposes, the only time we could use the Ted doll was for effects. It’s pretty tough, but I definitely got the hang of it after a while. I just watched Mark for a little while and that made things easier.
How much room did you have to improvise?
We had absolute freedom to do anything! Seth basically let us do whatever the hell we wanted. Sometimes it’s good, but sometimes it’s not because I love to be directed. I’d sometimes just ask him to just direct me and he’s great at doing that. He just trusts his actors so much. I’m not so great at improv, it makes me nervous, but I do have the tools to do it. A lot of the improv came from Mark and Seth because they are so smart and would just come up with so many funny things—their dynamic just allows for so much to happen. It’s great being a third wheel for that, because I don’t necessarily join them, but I just watch and laugh hysterically.
Seth MacFarlane movies are known for being joke filled but also having a lot of heart, which is what makes the Ted movies special. How did you manage to nail the comedic timing as well as pull out some real emotion?
The thing about comedy that I learned is that you are grounded as much in reality as possible, all the comedy will fall into place. Especially as the straight man, everything is funnier around you if you can keep things as real as possible. I learned that while playing Karen Smith in Mean Girls. She’s such a dumb dumb! But she believes everything that she’s saying, and if you can believe what you’re saying it comes across as real and helps the comedy move along. I leave the comedy up to the boys!
You and Mark Wahlberg (and Ted) have great onscreen chemistry and I saw the news about the great dog napping incident Mark played on you, tell me more about how you kept the vibe so playful between you guys?
We’re just on that level now. I kept everything playful or so I thought. And then he played that prank on me and I had to just quit and call a truce. He even asked me today if our truce is still on, and I told him we made a pact so it definitely is! I’m never messing with him ever again! He didn’t know it was such a crazy level, he wasn’t thinking in that way you know? Mark has kids so he didn’t realize that my dog is my kid. He was going to kidnap him and take him to New York! He would’ve been fine, but I wouldn’t have been. I’d move mountains for my dog and Mark didn’t realize how much I obsessed over him. So when I was hysterically crying he was like oh shit I went to far.
You did such an amazing job singing in Les Mis, and in Ted 2 you did the quintessential fall in love with the singing girl scene, is it mandatory for you to sing now?
It’s so funny, Seth wrote this song a long time ago and figured he could use it in Ted because hey, Amanda can sing it. I was like, wouldn’t this be cheesy if I just started singing out of nowhere? He said every good comedy has a good ballad or song. So I went with it and got to sing a really cool song. I learned how to play it and it was really freaking hard.
Anymore musicals in your future?
I’d love to do more! Every single interview I’ve been doing I’m trying to get the word out and put it out there, I’ve been training really hard for the role of Glinda the Good Witch in the adaptation of Wicked. I’m dead serious about it, I’m going to audition my pants off for it.
You’d be perfect for it!
I know, right?! I’m really training hard for the role and I’m not going to go down without a fight!
You’ve done almost every genre, is there any one your particularly drawn to?
Yes, straight independent drama. There’s a challenge to it, especially biopics. I had such an amazing experience doing Lovelace, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Telling someone else’s story is as good as it gets for me. As hard as it gets, but as good as it gets too.
Ted 2 is in theaters June 26, 2015.