It all seems so clear now: Seth MacFarlane has Machiavellian plot to take over Hollywood, starting with a cancelled sitcom called "Family Guy," then an uncancelled sitcom called "Family Guy," then an animated television empire that dominates Fox on Sunday nights, then a blockbuster comedy about a teddy bear named Ted. Soon, he will host the 85th Annual Academy Awards. There's only one place to go from there. One surefire way to guarantee his total dominance over all the entertainment media in the world. A guaranteed success by any measure. A… comedy western?
Yes, Seth MacFarlane seems eager to test his the love of the entertainment industry by co-writing, directing and starring in A Million Ways to Die in the West, which will hit theaters as early as next summer, in 2013. MacFarlane has co-written the screenplay with his Ted collaborators, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, and the story has (predictably) been compared to Blazing Saddles, the only comedy western that most audiences are familiar with, and actually like. Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story, adds that the western will be a period piece with "contemporary humor" and describes an overall theme of "just how painful life really was in the late 1800s."
A Million Ways to Die in the West would be Seth MacFarlane's first live-action starring role, and is expected to have a romantic lead in the film as well. There is no word yet on how the film's unexpectedly swift production cycle (seriously, next summer?) will affect the planned sequel to his first live-action comedy smash, Ted. Presumably he'll get to that afterwards.
We joke about the comedy western genre, which used to be a major box office draw when westerns were a more prevalent force in theaters. There are some truly wonderful films that fit the comedy western description, like John Landis's Three Amigos, Burt Kennedy's Support Your Local Sheriff, Hugh Wilson's underappreciated Rustler's Rhapsody and Elliot Silverstein's Oscar-winning Cat Ballou, all of which CraveOnline heartily recommends, but the genre has hit hard times. Shanghai Noon was okay, but do any of your remember Wagons East? Do any of you want to remember Wagons East?
If anyone can pull it off, it's probably Seth MacFarlane. Besides, if it tanks, he can always say, "What did you expect? It was a comedy western!"