When John Bennett (Mark Walhberg) was a small, lonely child he wished for just one thing—a best friend. His wish came true and Ted (voice of Seth MacFarlane), his trusty teddy bear, came to life. The pair became “Thunder Buddies” for life and the subject of two movies, Ted and this weekend’s Ted 2.
Ted isn’t your usual teddy bear. He smokes pot, swears—imagine rooming with Tommy Chong and Charles Bukowski—and has trouble holding down a job.
In the new film Ted is married to a human woman but under the eyes of the law he is seen as property and not a person. When the couple decide to adopt a child he faces a court battle helmed by a young lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) and a renowned, civil-rights attorney (Morgan Freeman).
Ted may be the rudest and crudest teddy bear to ever star in a movie, but there are loads of other talking teddies that are cool bears and not Teddy Bores. Remember Lancelot from Labyrinth, or the bear in AI: Artificial Intelligence who tells the young robot that 50 years is not such a long time and Winnie the Pooh? Here are three more cinematic bear necessities:
“I’ll never be like other people, but that’s alright,” says the star of the delightful Paddington, based on the much-loved children’s books by Michael Bond, “because I’m a bear. A bear called Paddington.”
The story of Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) the cuddly, orphaned Peruvian bear picks up when he, armed only with a “worrying marmalade problem” and his distinctive red hat, lands at Paddington Station in London. There, a family adopts him and learns to love the little bear, even though chaos follows his every step. The film’s co-star Hugh Bonneville says the Paddington character is so popular he is, “part of the DNA of the UK.”
The movie presents Paddington in his iconic blue duffel coat and red hat but not the usual Wellington Boots because they were not part of the bear’s original design. Manufacturers added his red Welly’s so the toy teddies were able to stand upright.
As voiced by Ned Beatty, Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear is a Southern accented, strawberry scented teddy who looks cuddly, but is anything but. When a misunderstanding threatens to separate the toys, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jesse (Joan Cusack) and the gang take matters into their own tiny hands but when they meet the huggable but evil Lotso the garbage dump or the attic begin to look good.
“The guy may seem plush and huggable on the outside,” says Buttercup the Unicorn, “but inside he’s a monster.” His habit of throwing toys that don’t please him into “the box” is so evil he’s even been compared to the wicked Governor on The Walking Dead.
Unlike Ted Fozzie the Bear doesn’t work blue. The fuzzy brown jokester has been a big screen star since 1979’s The Muppet Movie where he was discovered by Kermit the Frog doing stand-up comedy in a dive bar. In the film Fozzie drives a Studebaker, but how, exactly, does a puppet manoeuvre a car? The film answers the question—“Where did you learn to drive?” Kermit asks. “I took a correspondence course!”—but the real answer is that the real driver hid in the trunk and drove the car by remote control, using a television monitor to guide his steering.
The internet helped Ben Affleck land the role of Nick Dunne (Affleck), the prime suspect in his wife Amy’s (Rosamund Pike) disappearance, in this weekend’s mystery thriller Gone Girl.
Director David Fincher told Playboy he’s very concerned about what facial expressions actors can bring to his movies so when casting Gone Girl he imagined a scene where Nick Dunne smiles while standing next to a poster of his missing wife.
“I flipped through Google Images and found about 50 shots of Affleck giving that kind of smile in public situations,” Fincher told writer Stephen Rebello. “You look at them and know he’s trying to make people comfortable in the moment, but by doing that he’s making himself vulnerable to people having other perceptions about him.”
There is already Oscar buzz surrounding Gone Girl’s actors. Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly called Affleck’s work “the most natural performance of his career,” while Digital Spy’s Simon Reynolds said Pike’s performance, “should bag her an Oscar nomination come awards season.”
Fincher’s careful casting has bagged Oscar nods for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’s Brad Pitt and Taraji P. Henson, Rooney Mara of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Jesse Eisenberg of The Social Network.
The director has an unerring eye when it comes to casting, but it’s not always a smooth process. When he signed on to direct The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo he had actress Rooney Mara in mind to play hacker Lisbeth Salander. She won the role, but not before auditioning five times and beating out better known hopefuls like Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence. “We didn’t make it easy for Rooney, and there was no way to dissuade her.”
Recently Fincher walked away from a big budget remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea when the studio rejected his casting choice Brad Pitt or Channing Tatum in favor of Chris Hemsworth.
One of the director’s best-known films, Se7en, starred Kevin Spacey as serial killer John Doe who offed his victims in the order of the Seven Deadly Sins. He’s fantastic but he wasn’t Fincher’s first choice. The director wanted Ned Beatty, a shorter, rounder character actor who starred in Deliverance and Nashville. “He should look like a postman,” said Fincher. Beatty turned down the role—“This is the most evil thing I’ve ever read,” he said.—opening the door for Spacey. Trouble was, Spacey wanted too much money. It wasn’t until star Brad Pitt intervened and called the studio to ask that Spacey be hired. The moral of the story? “It pays to be blond,” says Fincher.