When we speak to Amanda Seyfried, she’s in London, forced to briefly abandon her Off-Broadway show — Neil LaBute’s “The Way We Get By” — right before it entered its final week. (It has since closed.) “I am not happy about playing hooky, I’m telling you,” she tells us. Instead she’s talking about “Ted 2,” her second film with Seth MacFarlane, after last year’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” Both mark a return to comedy for a serious actress who herself got her big break in “Mean Girls,” though the genre is still another welcome challenge.
“The Way We Get By” is your first play. How has that gone?
It’s really the most intensely fulfilling moment of my life, creatively and personally. I have incredible stage fright, so this made me feel like I’ve succeeded at something really big. Almost done!
Even veteran stage actors talk about the physical grind of doing stage.
I couldn’t do a longer run than this. Broadway commitments are four months; I just don’t know if I could do that. If I do a play it’s going to be a month or two, at most, otherwise I’m going to start hating it. You don’t want to start resenting going to work every day. It’s been two months and it’s been perfect.
Speaking of challenges, it seems like improvising with Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg might be difficult. Did you have to do much riffing?
Not for me, because I ad-lib but I don’t improvise. I’m not great at improv-ing. My brain doesn’t work that fast. Mark and Seth are really good at it, and they’re both really smart, and they have a great dynamic. They can riff off each other, and it’s so fun to watch. But I can’t do that. I’m terrible at it.
Do you tend to approach comedy and drama the same way?
You just have to ground yourself in what your reality is. If you believe in your own reality it’s even funnier. With Karen Smith [of “Mean Girls”], she just believed what she said. She was confident in what she was thinking, and it was all the funnier because it’s ridiculous what she believed. You just have to ground it, to play it straight.