Inside the 'Million Ways to Die in the West' Premiere': Bluegrass, Mallets and Seth MacFarlane
Universal and MRC threw an old-fashioned hootenanny as it unveiled A Million Ways to Die in the West, Seth MacFarlane’s follow-up comedy to his surprise hit Ted.
The movie blends modern comedic sensibilities with a Western setting and tropes (and musical number to boot) in a story of a sheep farmer, played by the baby-faced MacFarlane, who loses his girl after he chickens out of a gunfight. He must fight to get her back with the help of a mysterious woman who turns out to be the wife of a ruthless outlaw.
Most of the high-wattage cast was in attendance -- Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried and Giovanni Ribisi – except for Liam Neeson.
Following the screening at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, guests moved their way to the nearby afterparty, held in a parking lot converted to look like a country fair in the Old West.
Bales of hay and stage coaches abounded, food stations served up Texas beef chili, BBQ pulled pork tacos and corn off the cob while folks tried their hands at target shooting or their strength with a mallet at a high striker. Others hit the Old West-themed photo station (no smiles allowed) or decorated their faces with fancy felt mustaches.
It was all set to the twangy Bluegrass music of a band called American Primitive. It was probably the most fun to be had at an Los Angeles premiere this summer movie season.
At the center of it all was MacFarlane, with his female lead Theron (and boyfriend Sean Penn) close by.
The Family Guy creator acknowledged a hint of trepidation on execs’ part when he wanted to do a comedy Western, a genre that hit its high peak with the 1974 Mel Brooks classic Blazing Saddles.
“But when we did a table read and it went well, they breathed a sigh of relief that maybe this has shot of working,” he said. And while Westerns may not be in vogue right now, “Something is not popular until it is. They said sitcoms weren’t popular until Bill Cosby brought them back in the 80s. Hopefully this will be popular."
Producer Scott Stuber praised MacFarlane for going against the grain with this movie.
“We had such great success with Ted and he said, 'Instead doing something in the same realm or the sequel right away, let’s try to do something original.' Everyone gives Hollywood a hard time for not doing anything original, for doing sequels all the time. And this is unique.”