Actor, writer, singer, producer and voice of Family Guy’s Stewie Griffin, Seth MacFarlane, 45, is back in the second season of sci-fi series The Orville (starts Fri., Jan. 4 at 9pm; SBS Viceland - watch the trailer below).
What can fans expect from the new season?
There is more action. Season 1 was an experiment in a lot of ways and now we’ve gotten the response we wanted, and the studio and network have been really pleased with what we’ve done, they’ve allowed us to stretch a bit, and given us the time and resources to do more complex scenes.
You seem to have 20 things on the go at any one time. How do you juggle your day?
It’s a full day. The one stipulation I have with The Orville is we have to have all the scripts written before we start shooting. I have no desire to spend 12, 14 hours a day filming something I am not absolutely sure I’ve polished to a perfect shine. As for the animated shows, I haven’t been [an executive] at Family Guy since 2010. I record them on weekends, but that’s really all I do. I’m more disconnected from those shows than people think.
How different has it been working on a show in person rather than just providing your voice as you do for American Dad! and Family Guy?
With animation, obviously you don’t have your face to work with – it’s all got to come from your voice, so everything has to be dialled up a notch. I find the trick in adapting to on-camera work is to make sure everything is not dialled up too hot. You can’t be shouting like Peter Griffin when your face is right there. You just don’t have to do as much.
Are you conscious of how jokes are perceived – now and in the future?
You have to evolve with the times, in comedy more than anything. The second you tweet something or write a joke, you have to think into the future and say, “How is this going to be perceived?” I look back at early Family Guy and there are times when I wince a little bit.