Can you explain why you wanted to get on board this project? You have worked with Seth before.
The truth is that I was about 24-years old when Seth told me that he had this script he wanted me to read. He was looking for some suggestions as to which actress might be right for the part. At that point, the character was in her thirties. I gave him names of some actresses who I thought would be great for the role. Over the next few years, there have been a few revisions to the script and I gave him various names that would fit the revisions. By this time, I was old enough to actually play the part (laughs). Seth said, “why don’t you just do it? And I said okay.
Didn’t you once get a part by lying about your age?
I was 14-years old and yet to be legally emancipated. I walked into the audition for That 70’s Show and when they asked me if I was 18, I answered, “soon.”
Having worked with Seth on Family Guy, what difference in his style did you see between the two sets?
Well, we have no set on Family Guy. We just go into a recording studio and record our voices. The way that MacFarlane deals with me on a weekly basis for Family Guy is just by talking to me. We have a short hand.
Was there a challenge at all working on this project?
I didn’t have one. It was a great process with people I love, adore and respect. Honestly, my biggest challenge was the weather in Boston. I said it as a joke but it is true. It would go from rainy to cold to windy to humid all in a span of four hours. The weather in Boston sucked. That was my biggest challenge. The people were fantastic though.
Did you ever have anything as a kid, like a stuffed animal, that you gave a real life to?
No, I think it is wonderful but I was not that kid. I was outside a lot with my brother. I grew up in a very different time and place. My god-daughter has a lamb that she calls Meow. She will not go anywhere without him. She puts him to bed when she goes to school. That is the kind of relationship we see in TED.
Was there a childhood wish that you had? Kids are always wishing for something magical.
I never did. I am sure I wanted a lot of things when I was little though.
Were you a Barbie-doll kind of girl?
No, I didn’t play with toys. I played soccer and climbed trees. My knees and legs are completely scarred. I was outside all the time. My dad used to go on all these business trips and bring me back the most incredible dolls. I had no interest in them.
What is your best childhood memory?
I was five-years old and my grandfather was lying on the couch in the living room. It was in Russia and this was right before New Year’s. We didn’t celebrate Christmas as we do here, so New Year’s was the big thing. As a kid, I would get bubblegum and tangerines for New Year’s. I don’t know what else to compare it to but that was the best gift you could give a kid at that time. My grandfather sat down and told me what the Holocaust was. He told me in a loving way. He was explaining to me what I was given and how lucky I was to get those tangerines and bubblegum. When he was younger, this is what he went through. It was not dark or a sad moment. It was an amazing memory that I have. I cannot tell you exactly what he said. I just remember him lying on the couch and talking to me. He was just telling me the story and I was eating my tangerines. That is my favorite memory.
So as we see in the movie, when you do meet a guy you like, how do you balance that with his group of crazy friends?
If you love this guy and he has these crazy friends, you just have to accept him for everything. You are not going to change who he is. Maybe he will change with you and maybe he will want to make compromises for you. You cannot expect it to happen nor should you assume that he will do it. You can’t give him ultimatums or pressure him to do it. My answer would be that if you love him, you love all of him.
In TED, your character has to put up with your boyfriend’s crazy roommate. Have you ever had to deal with a crazy roommate?
I have never had a roommate in my life until recently. Now I live with my best friend. Last year, I only spent three weeks in L.A., so I needed someone to take care of my dog. I need someone there I can trust. He is not really a roommate. He is my best friend.
What kind of dog do you have?
I have Audrey. She is my English bulldog. She is kicking it and will be around for a while. My other dog, Shorty, passed away.
With some of the men you have known in your life, what kind of eccentricities have they brought to the table? I am sure they don’t bring a stuffed teddy bear, but what do they have?
Does paparazzi following them around count as their stuffed doll? In TED, my boyfriend has the world’s only talking stuffed teddy bear, so at this point you just have to go with the reality of it. If it is real and everyone sees it, then it becomes the norm. I cannot think of any guy that I have in my life that has this sort of thing. Maybe my friends are too normal.
Does it help that your boyfriend, in TED, was Mark Wahlberg?
Mark is the nicest sweetest guy. What about the concept of a guy doing something special for you? Can something be too silly or stupid? I think anything a guy does for you is not silly. I will take it.
What about singing to you off-key in public? If a guy sang a song to me that meant something to the two of us, I am sold. I am very easily pleased. As long as there is heart and soul put into it, that’s all it takes. At the beginning of the movie when Ted first starts to get famous, there is that line from the TV that gives a laundry list of young kid stars, including Justin Bieber, that came and went as a fad. Starting out in TV, we have seen a lot of kids who have become very famous and then are never to be seen again. You were able to make the transition. Were you ever worried that you wouldn’t be able to continue your career? Did you think you could make the jump to film? I ended That 70’s Show when I was 22-years old and there was a period when I knew I had to make a decision if I wanted this to be a career. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do this for the rest of my life nor did I go into it thinking that this would be my career. I grew up thinking that you couldn’t have a job without having a degree first. I just thought a full career of this was not an option. When I realized this wasn’t the case, I knew I could do something with my life more than what other people told me I could do. So here I am and having come off a successful show for eight years. I don’t live a lavish lifestyle. I am smart with money and financial dealings so I knew I could be smart with my career. Was BLACK SWAN the turning point? BLACK SWAN happened because of FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL. Everything happens because of something else. Where did that passion to persevere come from? The industry is full of no’s and rejections. I knew that the only way I could have this career was to prove people wrong. I knew I had to let go of my ego. After That 70’s Show, I could have gone and just done television. Not that I didn’t love doing TV. It is a steady job that allows me to see my family a lot but when I turned 22-years old, I knew I wanted to travel and see the world. I also needed to test myself because I knew there was so much more that I could do. The only way I could do that was to prove myself. People always kept saying I was funny but I had to show them that there was so much more to me. Is there one role that stands out more for you? I am proud of everything that I have done. When I turned 22, I knew that all of the decisions that I made career-wise would be for all the right reasons. I would be proud of the work that I did regardless of the outcome. I knew I couldn’t predict the outcome. What are your hopes for TED? I just hope people are entertained by it. This is not brain surgery. We are not curing the world of anything other than providing entertainment and laughter. That would be the only thing I would hope for with this film. “TED” is released and distributed by United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corp. Showing on Oct. 4, 2012. Nationwide