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Seth MacFarlane, Paul Rudd

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Seth MacFarlane shouldn't sell himself so short!

But then again... Paul Rudd is a lot to live up to in terms of awesomehood.

"We did not get Steve Buscemi for Neil's part," he mock-complained to Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on Today about securing the cast for his very R-rated comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West, which he cowrote, directed and stars in. "So we had to settle for [Neil Patrick Harris]."

And it turns out that MacFarlane wasn't even MacFarlane's first choice to play the wild West's resident skeptic, Albert.

"I went out to Paul Rudd, and he said 'no,'" the Family Guy creator revealed. "I'm like the poor man's Paul Rudd."

Hugh Jackman also apparently turned down the chance to saddle up.

"Oh, he's turned me down for a lot of things," MacFarlane cracked.

But all seemed to work out for the best, and now MacFarlane and costar Charlize Theron are getting all sorts of compliments about their easy onscreen rapport.

"I've got to say, it was the most intimidating thing when I started," he said about working with the gorgeous Oscar winner. But "she's so cool, she's so fantastic...the world's greatest laugher. She makes things that aren't that funny seem funnier."

Charlize Theron, Seth MacFarlane, A Million Ways To Die In The West

Universal Studios

MacFarlane added: "She's the kind of person who makes everyone around her better. For me, someone going into this as a relative virgin, she just put me at ease from the get-go and I felt like I'd been working with her for years."

And who better to play his love interest?

"They promoted the raunch factor, which is there," he said. "It is, believe it or not—you go to see the movie from start to finish—it is a romantic comedy of sorts. As shocking as that may sound. It is an old-fashioned Western in that regard."

And this is a mutual admiration society.

Theron told Collider about working with MacFarlane: "You have to be able to feel like you can play way outside of the box. If you're with a great filmmaker and someone you can trust, that's encouraged, and Seth was that kind of filmmaker and costar. Every day felt like endless possibilities, but at the same time, there was a really good foundation that we had laid because of him, for two weeks leading up to the film...He was very clear and very precise, but he's a fun guy to be around. It was definitely not like going to the dentist...every day."

Cue her great laugh.

A Million Ways to Die in the West hits theaters May 30.

(E! Online and Universal Pictures are members of the NBCUniversal family.)