A whole lot of people are going to die at the hands of Seth MacFarlane. A Million Ways To Die In The West is MacFarlane’s wild and over-the-top slapstick shoot-’em-up western comedy set for a wide release on May 30th. The Family Guy creator co-wrote, directed and stars in the R-rated film. A Million Ways To Die In The West also boasts a strong and eccentric supporting cast. This article may contain spoilers.
Set in 1882, a cowardly Arizonan sheepherder named Albert (Seth MacFarlane) lives happily with his stunning girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried). Albert’s simple life is shattered when the sheepherder is challenged to a duel. Albert backs down from the duel and loses his capricious girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) to another man (Neil Patrick Harris). Albert soon runs into a gorgeous gunslinger (Charlize Theron) who helps give him the courage to win back his woman though not before her infamous outlaw husband (Liam Neeson) rolls in and wants blood for her disappearance. In the end, Albert will have to put his newly discovered courage and bravery to the test if he is to survive the old west. Giovanni Ribsi, Sarah Silverman and Ralph Garman also features as part of the eclectic ensemble.
Seth MacFarlane has had a long career on television before he decided to make the leap to the big screen. He got his start first as a writer for the Hanna-Barbera Company when his animated thesis film The Life Of Larry caught their eye. While at the Hanna-Barbera Company, MacFarlane spent most of his time as a storyboard artist and writer for Johnny Bravo. In 1996, Seth created a sequel to his thesis short titled Larry And Steve that grabbed the attention of Fox executives. Negotiations began soon thereafter for the prime-time animated series that would become Family Guy. At the age of only twenty-four, Seth MacFarlane became the youngest executive producer in television history. He would go on to create two more prime-time animated series for the Fox network, American Dad and the Family Guy spin-off The Cleveland Show. In 2012, Universal Pictures released MacFarlane’s debut feature film Ted. The live-action comedy starring Mark Wahlberg grossed over five hundred million worldwide off a $50 million production budget.
Near the end of 2012, Seth MacFarlane first spoke of his intentions to make the wild and rambunctious A Million Ways To Die In The West with Charlize Theron’s involvement announced the following month. Principal photography began in New Mexico in early May of 2013 and wrapped around the midway point of August. The western is set to feature many of MacFarlane’s trademarks including grand musical numbers and brutal over-the-top cartoon violence played for a punchline. Though the film will mark MacFarlane’s first time stepping in front of the camera as a non-animated character. The filmmaker has spent his career providing the voices for his creations rather than the physical being. The film boasts a budget slightly above that of his previous film which is sure to promise many outlandish set pieces chock-full of MacFarlane’s brand of humor. Though no stranger to action set pieces as one of Family Guy‘s most beloved running gags involves an intricate fist fight between Peter Griffin and a giant chicken, MacFarlane has yet to do something of this magnitude on a live action scale.
Earlier this month, MacFarlane has even announced plans to release a companion novel to the film. Following the western-comedy is reportedly a sequel to the mega successful Ted. The comedic filmmaker is showing no signs of slowly down as he charges full steam ahead into the world of feature filmmaking. Seth MacFarlane’s wild and rowdy A Million Ways To Die In The West looks poised to be the must-see comedy movie of the upcoming summer season.
By Benjamin Murray