With “The Muppets” just around the corner in an early Thanksgiving weekend release (November 23rd), Muppet advocate and all around convivial actor Jason Segel is doing a lot of talking regarding his personal quest to finally bring “The Muppets” back to the screen.
Early word says Segel and director James Bobin have knocked this one out of the park, and every trailer and clip we’ve seen so far has been wonderful -- charming, funny and amusing – just liked you’d hoped. It all bodes well for a quality film and a bountiful box office debut.
This past weekend Playlist correspondent Jeff Otto sat down with Segel for a lengthy chat about “The Muppets,” and during the conversation revealed two interesting nuggets. When Segel met with Disney a few years ago around the time of his success with “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” the studio asked what properties he was interested in, and his immediate answer was “Muppets.”
Now that it’s in the can, Segel’s hope is to return to his very first project in Hollywood, a script he sold a decade ago. “I actually just got back into possession my first script I ever sold when I was 21-years-old,” says Segel. “It sat on a shelf and they didn’t know that it was the same Jason Segel. I came to them because the contract was up and I went to buy it up and they were like, ‘No, wait, that was you? That was your script?’ And I was like, ‘Yep, sorry dudes.’ So I now own it and I want to make it. It’s a kids adventure movie in the style of ‘Goonies’ or ‘Labyrinth’ or something like that. I think that’s the next big thing I’d like to try to tackle.”
Segel is mum on specifics, but he did admit it will combine live action and puppets and maybe an entirely new kind of puppet. “I don’t want anyone to steal [the idea] yet,” Segel responded when asked to discuss the story. “There are parts I could play, but I’d be happy to just produce it. It’s a really cool kids adventure story and there could be puppets involved. I have an idea for a type of puppet I’ve never seen before.”
Segel just finished shooting a brief appearance in Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up” sequel, “This is Forty,” which will feature Paul Rudd’s Pete and Leslie Mann’s Debbie from the original as they step into the lead roles. And Segel confirmed to us that he’s playing the same role from “Knocked Up,” Jay, the inappropriate stoner (see the clip below).
“We just finished [shooting],” Segel tells Playlist. “It’s the same character and it’s only a few scenes. I just pop in. It was kind of like a cameo that I did in that, which was fun. I’ve never done anything like that. I popped in for a couple of days and they treated me real nice. It was very little pressure. It was just about coming in and being funny and hanging out with the old gang. It was actually really fun.”
“This Is Forty,” or whatever it’s called as of today, hits theaters December 21, 2012. “The Muppets” arrive on November 23. More from Jason Segel and this ‘The Muppets’ conversation soon. – Reporting by Jeff Otto