IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Jessica Barth Talks 'Ted' Blu-ray and DVD

Wednesday, 12 December 2012 23:37 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Jessica Barth Talks 'Ted' Blu-ray and DVD

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download beginning December 11th is Ted, which marks Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s directorial debut. Not only was the film hailed by critics and audiences alike as one of the funniest films of the year, it is also one of the highest-grossing and in fact, is the highest grossing R-rated film of the year, and the highest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time.

Ted stars Academy Award nominee Mark Wahlberg as John Bennett, a Boston resident who as a child made a special wish for his teddy bear, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane), to come to life. The wish came true and Ted has been by John’s side as his best friend ever since. Ted, who became a national celebrity in the ‘80s, spends his days smoking pot, watching the Red Sox, and having sex with as many women as possible. However, John and Ted’s friendship is tested when John’s girlfriend of four years, Lori (Academy Award nominee Mila Kunis), wants their relationship to go to the next level. Actress Jessica Barth, best known for voicing Sookie Stackhouse on Family Guy, plays Ted’s trashy Boston girlfriend Tami-Lynn.

I recently had a chance to speak with Jessica Barth about her work on Ted. The talented actress discussed the new movie, first reading the script, what didn’t make it to the screen, making out with Ted, working with Seth MacFarlane, creating her character, shooting on location in Boston, and how the local community reacted to the return of their prodigal son, Mark Wahlberg

Here is what the talented actress had to say:

IAR: To begin with, I think Ted is the funniest movie of the year! Did you recognize that right away when you first read the script? 

Jessica Barth: Yeah, I was like, oh my God, how are we ever going to put this all in one movie? Because the script was a lot and there's a lot more in it that didn’t make it to the film. Then when we started filming they started adding other things too and it was hilarious. I fell in love with Tami-Lynn when I read the script I was like; I need to play this part!

Can you talk about what scenes were in the script that didn't make the film and what scenes made the film that weren’t in the script?

Barth: I don't even know if I'm allowed to say all that. There were some raunchy scenes that probably weren't allowed to be in the film, but then as far as my character certain things were added. There was a scene with me and Ted actually on the couch, and it's really freaky when we're sitting there talking and then we get in a little bit of a fight. It's right after he draws the Garfield underneath the girl's chest. Then we get in a fight, I tell him I want to have his children and then we start making out. So you see us making out, but you don't see the entire scene. It's hard when things get cut out because you have to do that animation for the bear, so you can't even put it in the deleted scenes on the Blu-ray because they would have to do the animation for the bear in the entire scene. Does that make sense? But I had to make out with nothing so that was fun. That was actually the hardest thing.

Was that the hardest thing for you to do in the entire film?

Barth: That was probably the hardest thing, and also the little sex scene in the back of the restaurant. I didn’t know where to put my mouth and I was like, is there tongue involved here? That was a little challenging. 

Since most of your scenes in the film are with Ted, can you talk about the technical aspect of filming those scenes and how Seth MacFarlane went about shooting them?

Barth: As far as the dinner scene where we’re sitting there with Mark, Mila, and myself, and a stuffed bear, we had a seat there called “The Stuffy” or we would have just like an eye line, a pair of fake eyes and we would rehearse. Seth was off camera, but he was reading the lines, and he wasn't just reading the lines, he was actually acting. So it was like he was actually there, we just weren't looking at him. It all kind of felt unnaturally natural. It was cool to have other people in that scene. As far as the ones where it was just he and I, again because Seth was so involved and so into the character, they use his voice live and he didn't loop his lines. So it was actually pretty cool, it was a really cool experience.

This is Seth's first feature film as a live action director, so tell me about what he was like to work with on set. Did he look comfortable with his role and interacting with the rest of the crew? 

Barth: Seth is probably the most brilliant person I've ever met in my life. I think he's pretty confident in what he wants and I think that even on set he was very relaxed, very comfortable, and he created a really great atmosphere. He shoots a lot of different takes in many different ways. He's definitely a perfectionist. But I adore him and he knows what he wants. He has a really good report with everybody on set, and he meets everyone on that set from the department heads down to the people that were driving us in their cars with the utmost respect. Everybody in the film was amazing and I think that he set that tone on set.  

Did you have a lot of rehearsal time before you began shooting, and was there a lot of improvisation on the set?  

Barth: Seth was really open to improvisation and we rehearsed right before we shot. We would do a couple takes and it would feel like we were rehearsing, but he would film it. He was definitely open to improvisation. There was a moment in the party scene, I don't know if it made the deleted scenes or not, but Mark and I are at the party and we're just improvising back and forth to kind of get into the scene. So I think that was a base element of the film. I think it makes it a really fun atmosphere when you're not so stuck to the script. 

Can you tell me about creating the character of Tami-Lynn? Was she written in the script exactly the way we see her in the film, or were you able to draw inspiration for the character from real-life people that you have met?

Barth: I think she was written in a certain way, but I grew up in Philly and I really took a lot of her attitude and her in your face kind of charisma from the girls that I went to high school with and maybe even who I was in high school, but only to a certain extent. Philly's a hard town to grow up in. But I took the hair from Snooki, and my makeup from a stylist who was awesome. She was amazing in creating the make-up, which was like key to getting into the character. Seth was really on me about the dialect, to really get the dialect down right. That was like the number one thing for him. 

As someone who grew up in Boston, I think you nailed the accent perfectly, and Seth definitely captured what it is like to live there. Did you enjoy filming in Beantown? 

Barth: I love Boston. I think Boston is so similar to Philadelphia, and I love the East Coast. I live on the West Coast now, but I love the East Coast and the people there. I love the people in Boston and I loved the dialect. It was so much fun to do. 

Finally, since you filmed the movie in Boston and the surrounding neighborhoods with Mark Wahlberg, who is of course from the area and is pretty much treated like a God there, how did the locals treat the cast and crew while you were shooting?

Barth: He is a God there, but he's a God everywhere! He is amazing, but quite a few times cars would drive by and play “Good Vibrations.” So I don't know he was too thrilled about that. But yeah, they love him there. 

That’s the funny thing about Boston, Mark Wahlberg can be nominated for an Academy Award, but he’ll always be Marky Mark to us!

Barth: I know, it’s kind of a shame but it’s kind of awesome at the same time too. 

Ted will be available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download beginning December 11th.

To read our coverage of the Ted press conference, please click here.

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