In 2012, one character stood tall (okay, maybe not tall) in the world of cinema: Ted. Not since Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings had a computer generated character felt so real and relatable. The fact that we’re talking about a walking, talking teddy bear here is a true testament to the talents of writer, director and actor, Seth MacFarlane, who created the unforgettable and gut-bustingly hilarious titular character for his breakout comedy hit, Ted. The concept for the character had been bouncing around in the Family Guy kingpin’s head for years, but it was the advances in movie-making technology that finally prompted MacFarlane to make the film. “Motion capture was a viable process to create the bear,” he told FilmInk. “James Cameron had obviously used it in Avatar, and Peter Jackson had done The Lord Of The Rings, so motion capture technology was really something that had been more or less perfected, but no one had really used it in a comic format before.”
Wished into existence by Mark Wahlberg’s now 35-year-old John Bennett when he was just a little boy, Ted is the embodiment of every childhood dream: a favourite toy that actually talks and loves you back. Over twenty years later, however, Ted (voiced and “played” in motion capture by Seth MacFarlane in a butter-thick Boston accent) is now an adult too. He’s no invisible, imaginary best friend either – Ted is real. Initially a cultural curio, minor celebrity, Ted (through Forrest Gump-style CGI magic, we see him trading quips on The Johnny Carson Show), is now just a part of everyday American life. And though he’s two feet tall and covered in fur, Ted digs the same kind of things that most 35-year-old guys do: namely, bongs, beer, and babes. In short, Ted is a horny bear with a need for weed and the desire to spread his seed.
Ted is a truly hilarious creation – funny, rude, ribald, raunchy, and surprisingly, well, human. Seth MacFarlane actually pulling on the motion capture suit to approximate the moves of his on-screen counterpart obviously played a huge part in Ted becoming so real. “We did it all live,” McFarlane – who would revisit the character in the pretty-damn-good 2015 sequel, Ted 2 – told FilmInk. “We did all the tech character work live on the set when we were doing the actual shooting. That was a deliberate choice to get life into the performance.” Well, as Ted would probably say, “It fuckin’ worked, ya bastard!”