By Jeff Otto | The Playlist April 17, 2012 at 3:39PM
The past six months have been a whirlwind for Jason Segel. In November he successfully revived a long-dormant franchise with “The Muppets." Last month, his semi-dramatic turn in the Duplass Brothers’ “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” was released to strong critical praise. And now he’s on the verge of releasing a third team-up with co-writer/director Nicholas Stoller, “The Five-Year Engagement.” All the while continuing to work on his long-running sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”
Despite having spoken with Segel multiple times over the past year, there never seems to be a shortage of projects on the horizon to discuss. This weekend The Playlist sat down with Segel at the press event for “Five-Year Engagement.” We’ll have more on 'Five-Year' in the coming weeks, but first we have an update on the seemingly endless stream of projects Segel is attached to.
When it was recently announced that Segel would be stepping aside for "The Muppets" sequel, which is being directed by Stoller (who is writing with James Bobin), most figured the actor would still have some sort of involvement. He’d probably contribute a few lines, hang around the set, at least make a cameo, right? “No, no cameo,” Segel tells The Playlist. “It was a very distinct choice on my part. Of course I was asked to do it. I did exactly what I set out to do, if that makes any sense. My goal was never to take over the helm of ‘The Muppets.’ They have people who are better equipped for that. My only goal was to bring back the Muppets that I loved. And I did that. I kinda don’t know what I have left to do in that regard. I like doing these R-rated comedies. I loved working on ‘The Muppets’ but, you know, it took me six, seven years. That’s a lot of time working with puppets. I think I enjoy acting too much to repeat myself in any way. ‘Muppets 2’ would feel like repeating myself and I feel like maybe there would be no upside for me either. Well, it wasn’t as good as the first. I know where to leave it.”
Returning To An Old Character For Apatow’s “This is 40”
Later this year, Segel will pop up on screen once more in Judd Apatow’s “This Is 40,” a spin-off of the director's 2007 hit “Knocked Up.” Segel will play the same character named, of course, Jason. “It’s a cameo. It’s only a few scenes, but it was so much fun. The function of that kind of part is just to come in and be funny. It was a really fun way to show up to set," he said. "You show up to a movie like [‘Five-Year Engagement’] and I have to be heartfelt and honest and dig deep and really do some acting. A movie like ‘This is 40,’ I’m like a pinch hitter. My job is just to come in and give them a home run.”
It was recently reported that Reese Witherspoon had bowed out of Segel’s planned re-teaming with director Jake Kasdan, “Sex Tape.” But the actor says she was never officially involved in the first place. “Well, we never had [her signed on],” says Segel. “It was reported but we didn’t even have a completed script yet. The rumor mill got started. That’s something I do have to write. Jake Kasdan and I are going to take a pass at the script this summer and hopefully do that next year.”
Segel also signed on last year to star in “Undercover Cop” based on the true story of an ‘80s cop that infiltrated the New Jersey criminal underground. “I don’t know the status of that yet. I’m not writing or producing that, so right now it’s in the hands of the writers. I don’t know if they’ve gotten a draft they like yet.”
Re-teaming With Stoller and Apatow?
Even though Jason Segel won’t be involved with Stoller on 'Muppets 2,' he says the duo will definitely unite again, and have already been spitballing ideas. “We have some plans,” he says, declining to elaborate. “Not yet because we haven’t chosen which one it will be. After ‘Sarah Marshall,’ we came up with three or four ideas and settled on ‘Five-Year Engagement.’ Whenever we’re working, we’re always keeping a journal of ideas. And so we’re going to go through and see what hits us.”
Segel says he had a great time working with his other long-time comedy partner and the man who, for all intents and purposes discovered him, Judd Apatow. We asked whether he has any plans to team with Apatow in the near future. “I’m not sure yet. I think we’ll find something to do together.”
Last time we spoke with Segel, he mentioned he was working on a children’s fantasy script in the vein of “Labyrinth” and “Goonies,” telling us that it would indeed have puppets. Now the actor says that project is a possibility along with a few ideas rattling around in his head. This summer he’ll take some time to flesh out his next project. “I’m going away this summer for the first time in seven years,” Segel tells Playlist. “I’m not going to do a summer movie. So I don’t know what I’ll write, but that’s certainly an option. I have a couple of other ideas. I haven’t gone anywhere with the intention of writing not on deadline in forever. So I’m just going to go and remember what it used to be like when I was writing for pleasure.”
More to come shortly on “The Five-Year Engagement,” which opens in theaters nationwide on April 27th.