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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Seth MacFarlane Returns to Direct, Voice For “TED” in Sequel

 
After “Ted’s” phenomenal success at the worldwide box office and in-home entertainment in 2012, it was natural that conversations among the filmmakers and Universal Pictures would turn to a sequel.

For writer-director Seth MacFarlane, however, it was a not given that another chapter would automatically move forward. He explains: “I actually hadn’t planned on making a “Ted 2,” but any time something does well, that always comes up. There’s no reason to do it if you’re going to repeat the same movie. It’s not satisfying for the audience, and it’s really boring for us.”

Still, MacFarlane admits that he has a great deal of fondness for the characters and the genre lends itself to limitless ideas: “It’s a little easier with a comedy, because comedy is generally character-based, as opposed to premise-based, and in a way you treat it like a TV series. You have these characters that can be put in any situation, and we felt that Ted and John could sustain a totally different story. They were very strong in and of themselves, and so it was conceivable to do a sequel that would be worthwhile. So, it was fun to go in and figure out what we could do with these characters that would be completely different from what we did in the last movie.”

 
When it came to discussions of “Ted 2,” it was mandatory that the core creative team return. That meant MacFarlane would once again join Ted writers Sulkin and Wild to pen the next chapter.

Sulkin says that audiences responded to the strong bond between Ted and John (Mark Wahlberg) in the first movie, and he wanted the next film to address more about that relationship. “Those were the moments that people loved, when John and Ted were hanging out, so that was a priority. We wanted to make sure we could have a workable story but keep the core of the movie with the two of them together.”

It was an unlikely 19th-century legal inspiration that would move the writing partners to tell the second chapter in Ted’s tale. Wild shares: “Seth was reading a book on the Dred Scott case and came up with this idea: ‘Since Ted is a stuffed animal that came to life, what if he finds out he’s not a citizen? What if he’s not considered a person and just considered property?’ He wanted to explore that and to find out if there was anything interesting there…or if this would just be a boring court case movie with a couple of jokes peppered here and there. We ended up going off of this idea, which was modeled after the case.”

 
MacFarlane extends a theme from the first movie, offering that as amazing as it would be if a teddy bear came to life, at some point people would start to see it as the norm: “Human beings are very quickly adaptable. Probably fairly soon after Ted came to life, people would be like, ‘Oh well, that happened. Moving on.’ We kept to that idea, and we figured that eventually the subject of Ted’s legal status would come up.”

Producer Jacobs was pleased that the writers took this route with the story. He says: “Ted and John have special, magical chemistry. This is the natural theme for the follow-up to the original film, which explored as far as you could possibly go with a love story between a man and his teddy bear. `Ted 2' takes us to the next level of who is worthy of not being called an inanimate object or of being given citizenship.”

With the serious throughline as an inspiration for the film, Sulkin admits that it was his love of an inescapable television show that spurred on much of the comedy’s dialogue: “I’ve watched `Law & Order' ever since it’s been on. I know all the legalese and everything you hear them say over and over again in court, but it’s funnier when it’s this foulmouthed teddy bear involved in a serious legal drama. That was a focal point for me as we were writing the script, making sure that those moments rang true.”

 
Opening across the Philippines on July 15, “Ted 2” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

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