“Ted 2” is bigger than “Ted” in almost every conceivable way: Its slapstick scenes are wilder, the list of guest-stars is more staggering, and the runtime ticks closer to two hours. But the critical elements — the wisecreacking CGI teddy bear voiced by Seth MacFarlane, his “thunder buddy” camaraderie with John (Mark Wahlberg), and a dastardly performance by Giovanni Ribisi — remain intact.
We caught up with Wahlberg, who phoned us from a UK press tour to talk about why he likes “Ted 2” better than the original. Here are seven things he taught us about the filming experience, the difference between Mila Kunis and Amanda Seyfried, and the most intimidating actors he's ever worked with.
1. “Transformers” made the act of talking to an invisible teddy bear a lot easier.
On filming with a CGI costar: “We definitely had on-the-job training with the first 'Ted.' Doing 'Transformers” made that a lot less nerve-wracking. It's tough knowing exactly where Ted is at all times when you're doing a scene, and keeping that believable. “Transformers” was that on such a great scale. Instead of one little teddy bear, you're with ten or fifteen robots that are flying and jumping fifty feet high, while some are still on the ground. I was happy to get back to working with real actors.”
2. Amanda Seyfried replaces Mila Kunis in “Ted 2,” and Wahlberg says the transition was smooth.
“They're both great, absolutely great. I had a blast with Mila and Amanda. You can tell how much they loved each other, John and Lori. It was just a matter of time before that relationship was going to run its course. When we meet John at the beginning of 'Ted 2' he's extremely depressed about his marriage not working out and he's just got to get back in the game.”
3. He dreaded one “Ted 2” scene in particular.
“There were a lot of things I looked forward to filming, but there were honestly a lot of things I was terrified of filming. I mean, the semen being poured all over me? It's the kind of thing when you're reading the scene, you think, 'Oh, this is funny. I'm laughing hysterically.' It's so crazy. But then you have to go back. You remember, 'Wait. Is this happening to me? I am playing John.' And then I remember, wait, that's not going to be fun.”
4. Watching Morgan Freeman deliver lines is intimidating.
“Actually, the courtroom scenes were difficult. Those are the longest days. That's even with a guy like Morgan Freeman coming in, who has long monologues he absolutely nails in in two takes. It's like, 'Oh. OK.' That's what the big boys do. It's an absolute joy to sit there watching him do his thing. Everyone was captivated by him.”
5. The most intimidating cast he ever joined was … for a movie you probably never saw.
“Joaquin Phoenix. Faye Dunaway. Ellen Burstyn. Jimmy Caan. Charlize Theron, all in 'The Yards.' A little movie that Miramax buried back in the day.”
6. He didn't love the idea of a sequel at first.
“It's one of those things where the anticipation is killer. The first was loved by everybody, and I've never done a sequel before. I wasn't interested in making a sequel unless it was better than the first. It's a whole new story, you know? I can't wait for people to see it. I'm not anti-sequel though. 'Godfather II' is out there. There are great trilogies out there. But I didn't want to be something where we're all just picking up a paycheck.”
7. He worships great actors, and the list of movies he's seen the most times proves it.
“It could be 'The Public Enemy' [that he's seen the most times]. Could be 'Body and Soul.' 'Hard Times' with Charles Bronson. 'Great Escape.' 'Godfather.' 'Casino.' I remember the first time I saw “Casino,” I thought, 'Eh, that was great?' But as I watch it more and more, I pick up more of it. That scene with Joe Pesci and Don Rickles. I'm like 'Oh my God.' I've seen it many, many, many times.”
“Ted 2” hits theaters June 26.