'Family Guy' pic possible, MacFarlane says

By Georg Szalai
JFL wrap-up: Comics bank their laughs at fest

MONTREAL -- The team behind Fox's hit animated show "Family Guy" has been looking at possibly working on a "Family Guy" movie down the line, creator Seth MacFarlane told The Hollywood Reporter here Saturday. He also said Fox comedy "The Winner," on which he serves as an executive producer, may not be dead yet after new developments in recent weeks.

"It is looking like there could be a future life for 'The Winner.' I hope it pans out," MacFarlane said, without providing specifics. "We have been trying to figure out how to do that and the series at the same time without the series suffering," he said about a potential "Family Guy" feature, adding that this is a challenge that also caused the "Simpsons" film to come about so late.

One possible solution, according to MacFarlane, is to have Ricky Blitt, the creator of "Winner" and a longtime ex-writer for "Family Guy" who has since moved on to other work, start on the movie script.

However, he emphasized that he had no plot ideas yet, and Fox studio executives would have to sign off on a film project as well. "Nothing is official," he said, adding that if all things come together, a movie could be ready in a couple of years.

MacFarlane also said he would like to find a small story about the Griffin family that can be explored in a feature-length film. "I don't want to do 'The Griffins must save the world,' " he said. Asked if the success of the "Simpsons" movie would affect his interest in a big-screen version of "Family Guy," MacFarlane said no, predicting that "Simpsons" will make good money. "But it will be interesting to see if it works," he added.

MacFarlane talked to The Hollywood Reporter after a press conference with many of his "Family Guy" colleagues here. They are in town for some "Family Guy Live" readings as part of the Just for Laughs comedy festival.

Asked in the press conference about some Sept. 11 and terrorism jokes on "Family Guy" and how difficult it is to pull them off, MacFarlane said he feels enough time has passed for comedians to slowly explore the issue carefully.

"People are sort of trepidatiously dipping their toe in it," with skits on "Saturday Night Live" and the like, he said. Asked about gags that never made the air, MacFarlane said the team once had a Last Supper scene written. In it, when Jesus tells his disciples to drink the wine for it is his blood, "there is this huge comedy spit thing" that ensues, he said.

The "Family Guy" team didn't discuss in detail any other new projects they are looking at, but Alex Borstein said "some of us are developing some TV stuff." Mike Henry has been producing weekly videos for KickedInTheNuts.com, which he runs with his brother. Joked Seth Green: "I'm starting an online casino to get kids and their families together and make money for myself."