Settings and Design
Ted is told in the Boston, Massachusetts, of today. The filmmakers agree that
you provide realism to a completely unrealistic story when you set the tale in
an actual place. MacFarlane asserts: "Family Guy is set in Rhode Island because
that's one more thing that helps lend reality to something that's out there, and
with this movie we took the same tact and set it in Boston. Despite the fact
that we're dealing with a talking teddy bear, this is, in effect, the real
world. In this universe, Ted's presence is completely normal, which means that
everything else about it had to be completely real."
Clark continues that the team did not want to overstate the level of fantasy
already inherent in the story. He says: "We didn't want to create an
inauthentic, unnamed urban locale. We wanted it to play out in a very specific
location, which is what we delivered with Boston."
Lineweaver was charged with creating a real world in which a talking teddy
bear shares the streets with regular humans. "We created an array of interesting
environments, including Donny the obsessed stalker's wonderful and creepy house.
We also designed our spaces to allow us to see things from a small bear's eye
level, which brings a whole new perspective and look to the movie."
One of the filmmakers' goals was to find an iconic location to shoot the
final moments of the film's climactic chase sequence through Boston. To their
excitement, the Boston Red Sox organization agreed to allow them to film in
Fenway Park, the venerable baseball stadium that opened in 1912. However, the
giant lighting tower that Ted and Donny climb was reproduced on a stage.
During one of the nights lensing at Fenway, the production was graced with
the presence of the Stanley Cup, the ice hockey trophy then recently won by the
Boston Bruins. As filming continued atop the park's Green Monster above left
field, cast and crew raced to the field's first-base line field to be
photographed with the great silver trophy.
Donny and his awkward, aggressive 10-year-old son, Robert (played by The
Hangover Part II's AEDIN MINCKS), live in a house that oozes menace. According
to Lineweaver: "We wanted to create a place that was incredibly creepy and
weird, and we used a sense of falling-down architecture. Donny has never left
the house, but his father has died or gone away. Since Donny is a different kind
of creepy from his father, we updated the badly worn '80s green leather couch
and some of the chrome but kept the disparate pieces made of cheap laminated
wood that were his father's."
The very wealthy Rex lives in a house described by Lineweaver as "over the
top." He shares of this home that serves as a setting for the film's extravagant
party: "In New England, you don't see many 10,000-square-foot modernist houses
on the beach." The actual house sits in a suburb north of Boston called
The climax at Fenway was just one of the many sequences filmed in key Boston
locations. Norah Jones' concert takes place at the Hatch Shell on the Charles
River, home of the Boston Pops' July 4th extravaganzas; John and Ted get high
and run into Donny for the first time at the beautifully manicured Boston Public
Garden, home of the famous swan boats; and John tells Ted that Ted has to move
out while standing amidst the great tanks in the New England Aquarium.
The exterior of John and Lori's apartment was shot on Chandler Street, a
picturesque block in Boston's Back Bay. "Lori might live with a guy and his
teddy bear, but she's not going to live in a frat house," says Lineweaver. "She
wants the place to look nice, while John's just happy to be smoking pot with his
teddy bear. The apartment is a nice, big, open space that we built on the
stage-a place that hasn't been renovated, one that you could rent in a good
area. The real building that we used to shoot the exterior is on a gorgeous
block in Boston's Back Bay and has actually been chopped up into little
Ted cajoles Lori to meet John at Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe, also in the Back
Bay, just down Columbus Avenue from the site where the Union United Methodist
Church, a cornerstone of Boston's African-American community, also plays a key
John takes Lori to Sorellina restaurant for their anniversary dinner, and
their disastrous double date with Ted and Tami-Lynn blows up at the Gaslight
Brasserie. As well, John and Ted wait in a line of costumed fans at the
Somerville Theatre for the opening night of Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom
Just north of the city, John and Lori play miniature golf in the Route 1
Miniature Golf Course, with its dinosaur that is oh-so visible from the highway,
and Rex's modern seaside mansion is set in the North Shore suburb of Swampscott,
Less picturesque, but just as authentic, are the sites used for the exteriors
of Ted's apartment building (after John kicks him out) and Donny's home in
Chelsea, just over the looming Tobin Bridge. Notably, the opening scenes were
filmed in Norwood, Massachusetts, a suburb south of Boston.
Design extended from production to costume. "When you're doing a story that
is so funny, raunchy and out there, keeping the characters grounded in reality
is the most important thing," says costumer Debra McGuire, who has designed on
several Judd Apatow movies, including Knocked Up and Superbad, as well as on the
iconic television series Friends. She notes: "Seth loved Freaks and Geeks, which
was altogether reality based, so he knew that we would accomplish that with Ted.
But even so, in a few instances Seth had to bring me down a bit with some of the
characters, as with Rex, who we might have taken a little bit further."
Ribisi's early take on his role was not as subtle as what ultimately appears
on screen. "I started out with this insane concept," says the actor, "and we did
some experimentation in wardrobe. I wanted to have a wig and a headband, as well
as glasses and dolphin shorts with rainbow suspenders. It was so out there that
Seth said, 'Let's rein it back in.' However, the mustache was part of that
original concept and is the one thing that stubbornly refused to go."
Though not a creepy dresser, John still sports a distinct look. McGuire
describes him as a complicated guy. "From the first scene, when we see John as
an adult on the couch, smoking a bong with Ted, you know that he's a bit of a
slacker, so he wears T-shirts, jeans, sweatshirts and things that are in that
youthful, adolescent mode but without the look being too dead-
on. He also has to be attractive and interesting enough for Mila's more
sophisticated character to find him attractive. So there's a fine line there:
You can't grunge him up too much because you have to maintain that chemistry
Lori's sense of style informed both the way she dressed and how the apartment
the couple shares was designed and decorated. The costumer notes: "Lori works in
a PR firm where the dress is a little upscale; her clothes are not super
expensive but definitely in the designer realm, and the fit is perfect. Her
wardrobe is hip and trendy but not over-the-top. Everything is believable, and
Mila is so beautiful you can put almost anything on her and she looks
Every self-respecting bear is suitably dressed for the right occasion. So,
what would Ted wear? McGuire concludes: "Blair Clark and I communicated early on
about whether or not Ted was going to wear clothes. My feeling was that going
minimal would take us a long way, and I was happy when everyone agreed to only
the little jacket Ted wears to his job interview and his Star Wars costume."
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