Q. Were you surprised, Charlize, at how easily you fit into the world of this film that Seth directed, co-wrote and co-starred in?
SETH MACFARLANE: I think that’s more due to Charlize’s versatility. For me, as a relatively inexperienced actor, I could not have had a better partner, who found the Goldilocks zone for both of us.
CHARLIZE THERON: Don’t you ever call me Goldilocks again.
Seth, which of Charlize’s films suggested she was a great comic actress? “Monster”? “The Cider House Rules”?
THERON: He was looking at “Reindeer Games,” O.K.?
MACFARLANE: All of my research came from “The Astronaut’s Wife.” It was the same process I used for “Ted”: It was important that this be somebody who was able to bring a sincerity to the character, and the jokes carry themselves if you have that.
This is a period comedy set in the Wild West, and Charlize, you’re a female gunslinger?
THERON: She married into that world at a young age and got stuck in a life that really wasn’t her own. Through circumstances, she finds herself outside of that life for a split second and gets to really see the potential of something different and better, and tries to go after that.
And Seth, your character is a coward who needs Charlize’s help?
MACFARLANE: That wasn’t much of a stretch for me. I won’t even get on the freeway without my navigator. There was a parallel between my personal experience on the movie, for my virgin effort at being on camera, and the story itself. As we went along, Charlize was the one person I could quietly turn to, and say, “Hey, did that seem good to you, or was it too James Brolin?” I don’t know why I just said that. He’s never done anything to me. Sorry, James Brolin, I think you’re great.
What did you learn about each other from this film?
MACFARLANE: Third nipple?
THERON: I’d gone through like a two-year period where I wasn’t really enjoying making movies anymore. And this movie really just shook me and made me realize how much I love it. I owe a lot of that to Seth.
Even after he included you in his opening number at the Oscars?
THERON: Don’t talk [trash] about him, O.K.? [laughter] I’ve given you an answer. Take that and don’t talk [trash].
Seth MacFarlane's galloping theme song for 'A Million Ways to Die in the West': Hear the Alan Jackson tune
Western ballads are no stranger to death and bloodshed. Heck, Marty Robbins probably has more people getting shot in his songs than N.W.A. But Seth MacFarlane’s newly released theme song from his mordantly morbid comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West is probably the first ballad dedicated specifically to the act of getting shuffled off the dusty trail of life.
MacFarlane recorded the ditty with country-music star Alan Jackson, and it’s a quick-pickin’ old-timey tune, filled with Elmer Bernstein swells, fiddle sawing, and baritone lines like “six bullets in the gut/or just a paper cut” and “they’ll blast you into shards/for playing good at cards.” Listen to “A Million Ways to Die” below and let us know what you think. After all, you can never go wrong combining westerns and music.