"A Million Ways to Die in the West" is currently being shown in the U.S. theaters. Here are some facts about its writer and director, Seth MacFarlane.
MacFarlane began drawing as a child. According to Uproxx, he developed his love for drawing when he was two years old. When he turned eight, he already had his first comic strip (photo) entitled, "Walter Crouton." It was published in a Connecticut newspaper, "The Kent Dispatch."
"A Million Ways to Die" Creator MacFarlane almost died at the tragic 9/11 terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center. He is still alive because of a hangover and not a layover. He had a ticket for American Airlines Flight 11 the same plane hijacked by terrorists and flown straight into the Center. His agent mistakenly told him that his flight was scheduled to depart at 8:15 a.m. instead of the scheduled 7:45 a.m. This caused him to miss his flight and thankfully evading death. In his interview on "The Adam Carolla Show," (video below) MacFarlane reflected on his brush with death.
"I was booked on the first flight that hit the tower and I was drinking the night before, overslept a little bit in conjunction with the fact that my travel agent screwed up the itinerary by about 15 minutes, so I arrived 10 minutes late to get on the plane."
MacFarlane self-parodied his 9/11 experience with an episode of "Family Guy" titled "Back to the Pilot." According to Washington Post, this episode shows baby Stewie and Brian employ clones to carry out the complicated task of toying with past events in an effort of preventing the 9/11 tragedy from happening. Its ultimate moral dilemma was, "alter the course of history or let it go unchanged?"
The writer-director is also a skilled pianist and released his album. This is backed up by his love for theater and musicals, as shown in a scene in "A Million Ways to Die in the West," where the girls and boys tapped danced and sang.
Uproxx noted at the end of the day MacFarlane unwinds at home by playing Frank Sinatra's tunes on his nine-foot Bosendorfer piano. His love for classical music led him to release a Grammy-nominated album titled, "Music is Better Than Words." He recorded the songs in the album with a microphone used by Frank Sinatra and with vocal coaching by two of Sinatra's former teachers.
Before creating his own movies such as "A Million Ways to Die" and shows such as "American Dad," MacFarlane dreamed of being an animator for Disney. His inspiration was the successes Disney made with their animation movies like "The Little Mermaid" during the 1980s. But these all changed when "The Simpsons" came out.
MacFarlane then switched from creating "wholesome" animation to adult, "non-family audience" animations like "Family Guy." According to Washington Post, "Family Guy" was cancelled in 2002 for its "parody-filled" episodes and "matured" content.
His middle name Woodbury is named after the town's drunk. MacFarlane's greatgrandmother named him Woodbury because she thought the town's drunk was the funniest man she had ever met.
"A Million Ways to Die" was inspired by Clint Eastwood's classic movie, "Hang 'Em High." While on a break from making "Ted," MacFarlane and movie writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild watched the movie. They thought "Hang 'Em High" was a depressing romantic movie so they decided to create its movie parody, thus the birth of "A Million Ways to Die."