Seth MacFarlane’s latest comedy, A Million Ways To Die In The West, is in theaters now (you can read Nerdist’s review here). Recently the Family Guy creator and his Academy Award winning co-star Charlize Theron, sat down with journalists to discuss Charlize bringing the funny, Seth’s love of multiple genres and getting Liam Neeson to play the bad guy.
When you think of Charlize Theron and her Oscar winning turn in Monster, you don’t necessarily think funny. In fact, aside from her quick stint on Arrested Development and her hosting SNL for the first time in over ten years a few weeks back, we hadn’t seen too much comedy from the actress. How was it for Theron jumping into this project with MacFarlane? “Everything about it was liberating. I think what we do is liberating… you have to be able to feel like you can play way outside the box and if you’re with a great filmmaker and someone that you trust, that’s encouraged and Seth was definitely that kind of filmmaker and co-star so everyday just felt like endless possibilities. But at the same time, there was a really good foundation that we’d laid because of him, two weeks leading up to the film, just really knowing what he wanted and how we could be that color for him to paint on that canvas. So, very clear, very precise, and then he’s a fun guy to be around so it was definitely not like going to the dentist every day.”
Similarly, MacFarlane, who is best known for the TV show Family Guy and his feature film debut Ted, has also been defying expectations having produced the science show Cosmos and now making a Western (albeit a comedy Western). Does MacFarlane have any intentions to do something like Cosmos again? He explained, “I don’t gravitate to any particular genre, I like to do things that interest me regardless of genre. I’ve had a blast doing Cosmos and I’m sad that it’s coming to an end and yeah, I would like to do something else like that. I mean, it’s something that we felt was necessary at this point in time but was also just a fun project to be a part of, just something different. So yeah, I would like to keep that kind of thing in my sphere of work as I go forward.”
Finally, what’s a Western without a scary bad guy? Liam Neeson plays “Clinch” in the movie and MacFarlane is still in shock over the casting. “I’m still astonished that he agreed to do the movie. That character needed to be a pretty genuine threat [and] I think one of the things that comedies of this type did so well in the 80s was, the ones that worked at least for me, played the jeopardy real. As ridiculous as The Naked Gun is, that movie does not work without Ricardo Montalban playing it completely earnest and completely real. It just grounds the whole thing and that’s what Clinch had to do and Liam’s presence is, it cannot be over stated how essential that was to the story working as a whole and he was just fantastic and just a great guy to have around.”
A Million Ways To Die In The West starring Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris and Liam Neeson is in theaters now.