Three years back when Jason Segel began promoting his first lead role on screen in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” he was already discussing his hopes of working with Disney on a Muppet revival. At the time it seemed like a bit of a long shot. While Segel has found success on the small screen with the cult classic “Freaks and Geeks” and the long-running “How I Met Your Mother,” his big screen appearances up until that time had been relegated to smaller supporting roles like Seth Rogen’s wingman Jason in “Knocked Up.”
But throw out a full frontal scene or two and people tend to take notice. 'Sarah Marshall' was a breakout hit and suddenly Segel found himself headlining comedies such as “I Love You, Man” alongside Paul Rudd, and now, Segel’s passion project has come to life, teaming with his childhood heroes in the upcoming return of “The Muppets.” Early buzz on the heavily promoted film has been very positive, and all signs seem strong that we’ll be seeing a lot more from Segel in the coming years. The Playlist spoke with Jason Segel recently about his future after “The Muppets.” He’s got a lot of promising projects in the pipeline including plans to produce and possibly star in the children’s adventure script he first sold at 21-years-old. Here's what the actor had to say.
If “The Muppets” is a hit, it’s hard to imagine Disney will allow this franchise to sit dormant as they did in the past. Considering Segel’s success in shepherding their comeback, we asked him what he’d like to do next if Disney turns to him and co-writer Nick Stoller once again. “Bringing back ‘The Muppet Show’ would be absolutely amazing,” Segel tells the Playlist. “I think they’re primed and ready for it. And I also think The Muppets belong on the big screen, so I guess hopefully we’ve set the stage for maybe The Muppets themselves to take the torch and decide what they want to do. Because they were always best when they were a singular vision of themselves and, you know, it is a big franchise and there are things like rides and toys and all that when something becomes so big. But The Muppets being a small, self-contained band of comedians is sort of how I think they’re best.”
2. "Five-Year Engagement" Is "Awesome," But "Sex Tape" With Reese Witherspoon Not Quite There
Also in the can for Segel is the relationship comedy “Five-Year Engagement,” which re-teams him with 'Sarah Marshall' director and “The Muppets” co-writer Nick Stoller. Segel stars opposite Emily Blunt as the commitment-phobic protagonist, Tom. “That’s the next one Nick and I have coming out. So that one’s finally done and I’ve seen it now and it’s awesome.”
Other projects linked to the actor recently include “Undercover Cop,” in which Segel will play an ‘80s undercover cop in New Jersey, and “Sex Tape” a potential pairing with Reese Witherspoon, about a couple who decide to spice up their relationship by filming their sexual exploits only to find the video missing the next morning. “Those are just in the early stages of development,” says Segel, “but yeah, those are both really cool ones also. We haven’t even gotten into talking with [Reese] about that one yet. It would be really fun. Nick and I, as you can tell, try to keep things mixed up. We like to explore new challenges for ourselves. So ‘Sex Tape’ is definitely different than ‘Muppets’ which is different than ‘Five-Year Engagement.’ It’s fun.”
Some jokes had floated about on the internet after the release of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” that the outlandish Dracula musical in the film produced by Segel’s character, Peter Bretter, could have a future of its own. “I get asked that a lot,” Segel says with a laugh. “I don’t know that it could be sustained for a full length opera because it’s intentionally 10 percent bad and I think eventually you’d get tired of it.”
4. Jason Segel Prefers Making Movies To TV
With an eighth season of “How I Met Your Mother” on the horizon and all the feature projects we just discussed, we asked Segel whether he has a preference between the big and small screens and where he sees his future going. “I like doing movies best of all,” says Segel without hesitation. “Just in that you do it for a short period of time and then you’re free from it and you move on to something else. The TV show’s been an amazing blessing, but it's been seven years now. We definitely have an eighth year. It’s a long time to play the same character. I couldn’t be more blessed to be around a better group of people. And if I’m going to be on a TV show for this long, this is the one to be on because it’s the best thing ever, but I do enjoy the lifestyle of going in with intense focus for three months and moving on to another type of thing.”
“The Muppets” hits theaters on November 23rd.