In Seth MacFarlane's new animated film "Ted," Mark Wahlberg plays a man whose best friend is a teddy bear who came to life after he wished for it, but the actor's real-life childhood fantasy involved no stuffed animals.
"I did always have the dream that every time I was playing basketball, that I was playing for the Celtics and it was Game 7 of the championship and it was always 3-2-1 ... I had a great imagination," Wahlberg told OnTheRedCarpet.com.
The actor did, however, have a favorite toy when he was a kid - a monkey.
"We were inseparable," he said. "My parents would try to throw it out and I'd pull it out of the trash. But I don't think I ever dream that that would come alive."
Wahlberg, a longtime Celtics fan, grew up in Boston before he moved to Los Angeles to pursue an entertainment career. He modeled for Calvin Klein - an experience he later described as a "debacle," released rap and pop music and starred in films such as "Boogie Nights," playing a porn star, and the 2010 movie "The Fighter," which won two Oscars.
He was also the executive producer of the hit HBO series "Entourage," which ended last year. The show is loosely based on his life. It focused on actor and heartthrob Vincent Chase and his goofy brother and friends, who were often his roommates. They sometimes had trouble dividing their time between their girlfriends and their buddies - a theme that is the focus of "Ted."
The movie hits theaters on Friday, June 29. Mila Kunis plays Lori, the live-in girlfriend of Wahlberg's character, John. His teddy bear friend lives with them too and feels free to do what he wants - which includes talking smack, smoking pot, snorting cocaine and partying with prostitutes. His behavior puts quite a damper on the pair's relationship.
"I heard the concept and I was like, 'I'm not really interested in this movie. I don't want to be doing a movie with a teddy bear. But then my agent said, 'Just read the script' and I said, 'Okay.' I read the script. Thirty pages into it, I forgot that it was a bear. I thought, 'Wow, this is a great buddy movie and I really get the dilemma."
"This guy's got this amazing girlfriend, which doesn't come along too often in that neck of the woods, and then he's got this friendship with this dude and they're inseparable. I got that dilemma," he said, adding: "When I met my now-wife, I was living with five friends in my apartment. She liked my friends but she wasn't having it, so I got it completely."
Wahlberg and his wife, Rhea, began dating more than 10 years ago and married in 2009. They have four children - daughters Ella Rae, 8, and Grace Margaret, 2, and sons Michael Robert, 6, and Brendan Joseph, 4.
"Ted" marks MacFarlane's big-screen directorial debut. He is known for creating the long-running FOX series "Family Guy," which features standard 2D cartoon animation. "Ted" uses advanced motion-picture effects.
"If had done this movie six or seven years ago, I probably would have to use a hand puppet or something," MacFarlane said.
"With movies like 'Avatar' and 'Lord of the Rings,' the motion-capture technology had been perfected so that I was able to create a character like Ted that would, in the final product, in the final edit of the movie, be something that was so life-like and so realistic that people would forget they were watching an animated character and feel like these are just two guys," he said.
In one scene, John has to fight with Ted. Wahlberg said it was "not fun" to film the brawl and that it "felt so ridiculous."
"I felt like an idiot, kind of flailing around on the ground," he told OnTheRedCarpet.com. "But we got it done. And it's crazy because I really kind of question my judgment now because that's one of the talked-about scenes. That and the white trash names are like the talked-about scenes in the movie, so what do I know."
In the latter scene he mentions, Ted has John guess the name of a woman he met - Tami-Lynn - by telling him that it is a "white trash" name.
John then rattles off an entire list, which includes the following names: Mandy, Marilyn, Britney, Tiffany, Candace, Brandy, Heather, Channing, Brianna, Amber, Serena, Melody, Dakota, Sierra, Bambi, Crystal, Samantha, Autumn, Ruby, Taylor, Tara, Tammy, Lauren, Charlene, Chantelle, Courtney, Misty, Jenny, Krista, Mindy, Noelle, Shelby, Trina, Reba, Cassandra, Nikki, Kelsey, Shawna, Jolene, Urleen, Claudine, Savannah, Casey, Dolly, Kendra, Kylie, Chloe, Devon, Emmalou and Becky.