The foul-mouthed sentient teddy bear and titular star of Seth MacFarlane's hit R-rated comedy "Ted" looks to have a new woman to contend with over the affections of his lifelong pal, played by Mark Wahlberg, in the upcoming sequel "Ted 2."
According to Deadline Hollywood, Amanda Seyfried will play the female lead in the new film, while Mila Kunis, who starred as Wahlberg's love interest in the original, will have a small role or none at all.
The change is strictly a creative decision by writer, director and Ted voice MacFarlane, the report says, and he remains on good terms with Kunis, who voices the character Meg on MacFarlane's animated TV show "Family Guy."
Seyfried, meanwhile, is fresh off another collaboration with MacFarlane, the raunchy western comedy "A Million Ways to Die in the West," opening May 30. MacFarlane plays a cowardly sheep farmer who backs out of a gunfight, and Seyfried plays the unimpressed girlfriend he loses in the aftermath.
The original "Ted" ended — minor spoiler alert — with Kunis and Wahlberg's characters getting married, but MacFarlane has presumably figured out a way around that. It's not surprising: As the trailer for "A Million Ways" demonstrates, he has a knack for out-of-nowhere death scenes and other left-field surprises.
The real question is how audiences will react to Seyfried taking over duties as the female lead. The swap goes against the conventional wisdom of not changing a horse midstream, which has been attempted in the past with varying levels of success.
The sitcom "Bewitched" famously switched Darrins to some controversy in 1969, but in that case the two actors, Dick York and Dick Sargent, were playing the same character. A similar, smoother swap came early in the "Harry Potter" franchise when Michael Gambon took over as Dumbledore after the death of Richard Harris.
MacFarlane could take a cue from "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," which quickly wrote off Elizabeth Hurley's character as a robot and dispatched her in the movie's first few minutes, to be replaced by a new love interest (Heather Graham). The "Austin Powers" films, of course, were intentionally absurd, so it's unlikely anyone lost sleep over the change.
The new "Amazing Spider-Man" series also faces a female-lead dilemma since Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy is currently positioned as Spidey's (Andrew Garfield) girlfriend, but comic book fans know his one true love is considered to be Mary Jane Watson, who may be played by Shailene Woodley in upcoming films.
"Ted 2" will open June 26, 2015 — the same summer weekend as the original, but with at least one big difference.
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