EXCLUSIVE: Jason Segel talks 'The Muppets'

Monday, 06 June 2011 11:38 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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EXCLUSIVE: Jason Segel talks 'The Muppets'

“Its time to play the music, its time to light the lights … it’s time to meet the Muppets on The Muppet Show tonight!”

Those are the unforgettable opening lines to The Muppet Show theme song, which the world will finally get to hear once again next fall when the loveable Muppets make their triumphant return to the big screen. Scheduled for release on November 23rd is The Muppets, a brand new film featuring the classic characters that was written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, the writer and director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, respectively. The music for the movie was written by Flight of the Conchords star Bret McKenzie, and James Bobin, who co-created the popular HBO series, also directs the film. The Muppets, which is their first theatrical release since ‘1999s Muppets From Space, promises to return Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal, and the entire gang to the forefront of popular culture … exactly where they belong.

I recently had a chance to sit down and talk with actor/writer Jason Segel while he was out promoting his latest film Bad Teacher, which co-stars Cameron Diaz and is scheduled for release on June 24th. Segel is best known to audiences for his role on the hit CBS series How I Met Your Mother, and in movies like Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, I Love You, Man, and Despicable Me. I took the opportunity to speak to Segel about The Muppets, and I began by asking the actor about the recent release of the first poster for the film. The poster featured full-body poses of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, and Animal walking towards camera and it also gained criticism by many in the media, including comedian Bill Maher, for being too “creepy.” I specifically asked Segel about the controversy and his thoughts on the criticism of the poster. “I haven’t heard the comments on it but I love that poster,” replied Segel. “You saw the legs in the original movies. When they’re riding the bikes, and when Fozzie is dancing on stage. So it’s not new territory and I think we do it really well in our movie,” he said. “I think it is so cool,” continued Segel regarding the poster. “When they first showed it to me I flipped out.”

I continued by asking Segel how post-production is going on the film. “We’re really hard on our movies in general when we hit post. That is one of the things that we learned from the Judd Apatow School, which is you hammer, and hammer, and hammer away at it,” Segel explained. “So we’re doing cut after cut, and just trying to get it down to its best. We’re doing some visual effects as well.” I also asked Segel, who co-stars in the movie with Academy Award nominated actress Amy Adams, which classic Muppet character he thinks will end up being the breakout star of this film. “Well there are so many great old Muppets but I must say … Walter our new Muppet is going to be a stand-out. He’s awesome and really sweet and hilarious,” Segel answered. “The guy who plays him is Peter Linz and he’s just genius. But Animal has quite a great storyline in this,” he confirmed. “I think we tried to do good justice to everybody in there.”

I followed up by asking if Segel, who is an accomplished musician in his own rights, gets an opportunity to sing with Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem in the new movie. “Unfortunately I didn’t. I did not … well … I mean sort of, there are a couple of big musical numbers that involve everybody,” he teased. Finally, Segel explained why musician Bret McKenzie was the perfect person to write the music for the film. “It was a perfect match because the Flight of the Conchords are a little like the Muppets. You know, they never say anything bad about anyone, and they’re kind of outsiders bopping through the real world.”

The Muppets is scheduled for release on November 23rd.

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