BEAR IN THERE

TED IS BACK AND READY TO CAUSE TROU­BLE ON THE BIG SCREEN WITH HIS TRUSTY SIDE­KICK MARK WAHLBERG

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - VICKY ROACH

Mar­riage and im­pend­ing fa­ther­hood have mel­lowed Seth Mac­Far­lane’s foul-mouthed Ted in the hotly an­tic­i­pated se­quel to his 2012 hit. Mark Wahlberg, who plays the talk­ing stuffed toy’s best mate, John Ben­nett, ad­mits to hav­ing be­come sim­i­larly do­mes­ti­cated.

The one-time ju­ve­nile delin­quent, who was jailed at the age of 16 for as­sault, is now a God-fear­ing fa­ther of four whose pre­ferred method of travel is a mini-van.

“What’s wrong with that?” he laughs be­fore say­ing that even his wife, Rhea Durham, thinks he’s gone too far with that one. “She hates it. She’s got an SUV with the kids but she thinks that’s far enough.”

Wahlberg, how­ever, be­lieves his beloved Toy­ota Si­enna is se­ri­ously un­der­rated.

“I love be­ing in the mini­van – it’s low-key so no­body recog­nises me. And it’s got satel­lite TV. If some­body takes me to the air­port, I can sit in the back and watch the bas­ket­ball or a foot­ball game.”

Although at 44, the ac­tor could rea­son­ably be de­scribed as mid­dle-aged, he makes no apolo­gies for Ted 2’s crude, vul­gar, ado­les­cent hu­mour.

“We all have that ado­les­cent side to us. I cer­tainly do,’’ he says.

“I am very se­ri­ous and pro­fes­sional with my work but I like to cut loose and have laughs with my bud­dies and you know, go and do things that my wife would have to scold me for – pulling pranks on each other and giv­ing each other crap.”

But at its core, the se­quel is un­der­pinned by a sur­pris­ingly se­ri­ous mes­sage.

When the furry pro­tag­o­nist de­cides to fa­ther a child to save his mar­riage to Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), he en­coun­ters a se­ries of prob­lems.

“The most ob­vi­ous be­ing that he doesn’t have a pe­nis,’’ Wahlberg points out help­fully.

Ted’s first plan is to find a sperm donor. When that doesn’t work out (no spoil­ers here), he de­cides to adopt.

“That’s when the au­thor­i­ties say, ba­si­cally, that he is not a real per­son so we de­cide to sue for his civil rights,’’ Wahlberg says.

Ted’s lack of ci­ti­zen­ship res­onates strongly in re­la­tion to gay mar­riage, which the film ac­knowl­edges di­rectly, but also the grow­ing tide of refugees and even threats to ren­der ter­ror­ists state­less.

“I think Ted be­ing so cute can push these ideas in a harsh way but still be ac­cept­able,’’ the ac­tor says.

For Wahlberg, the strangest mo­ment of act­ing along­side a teddy bear comes when he sees the fin­ished film.

“When it comes to­gether, it seems so real. And peo­ple, well they just buy it straight away.”

In the se­quel, Mor­gan Free­man’s lead­ing civil rights lawyer re­fuses to rep­re­sent Ted be­cause he says he hasn’t con­trib­uted any­thing to so­ci­ety, stress­ing that that is an es­sen­tial el­e­ment in be­ing a mem­ber of the hu­man race.

Wahlberg, who es­tab­lished the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foun­da­tion al­most 15 years ago to help dis­ad­van­taged youth, agrees.

“For me it is ex­tremely im­por­tant. I can’t for­get about where I come from – there are so many kids still in need of an op­por­tu­nity to have a bet­ter life.”

While Ted’s sense of hu­mour is so mean it could al­most be called sadis­tic, not quite any­thing goes.

“For me, I don’t say any­thing that is of­fen­sive to­wards re­li­gion. I tell Seth I don’t want to go there. I say, ‘You can say it, Ted can say it, but that’s not me.’”

Gi­ant ro­bots, talk­ing teddy bears … is there any­thing in Wahlberg’s list of up­com­ing projects that could top that?

“I have gone back to real peo­ple for a lit­tle while,’’ says Wahlberg, putting paid to talk of another Trans­form­ers se­quel.

Wahlberg is cur­rently shoot­ing Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon with di­rec­tor Peter Berg. Costar­ring Kate Hud­son, the film is based on the true story of the offshore drilling rig that ex­ploded in 2010, cre­at­ing the worst oil spill in US his­tory.

Ted 2 opens to­day

I AM VERY SE­RI­OUS AND PRO­FES­SIONAL WITH MY WORK BUT I LIKE TO CUT LOOSE AND HAVE LAUGHS WITH MY BUD­DIES

Mark Wahlberg and Seth Mac­far­lane's Ted in a scene from Ted 2.

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