It’s felt up, as the Muppets prime for a comeback.
Anticipation is high for “The Muppets,” Disney’s reboot of the Jim Henson crew, opening just in time for Thanksgiving. Its star and screenwriter, Jason Segel, is much too busy to talk to outlets like lil’ ol’ us, so the Mouse House sent a canned interview to me. Rather than be a corporate puppet and run it as is, I thought it’d be more fun to change the questions, but leave Segel’s answers intact, so I feel like I actually contributed.
Personally, I think it makes for a better read. The studio should be paying me. Enjoy.
R&R: Jason — if I may call you Jason — can you please discuss the inception of this film, but using a phrase that a woman might use to let others know that she’s pregnant?
Segel: The Muppets were my first comic influence and I was in love with puppetry. I just thought it was an amazing art form. We ended “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” with a lavish puppet musical, and The Jim Henson Company designed the puppets. Something started growing in my belly, and Nick (Stoller) and I came up with this idea and pitched it to Disney. Disney liked the idea, so we wrote the script.
R&R: “Belly,” good one! I also would’ve accepted “I was craving raw meat” and “Oops, I missed my period.” Now, whenever you tell anyone about taking on characters as beloved as these Muppets, what is their response? Scratch that: What are two of their responses?
Segel: Whenever I tell anyone, the response is always twofold: “Oh my God, that's awesome.” And then, “You better not mess it up.”
R&R: How about that Amy Adams? She seems super-sweet and super-innocent, and with credits like “Enchanted,” she seems just perfect for this role. You really lucked out.
Segel: Amy Adams is super-sweet and super-innocent, and with credits like “Enchanted,” she was just perfect for this role. We really lucked out.
R&R: If you could compare Kermit to ... oh, I don’t know, say an iconic Gregory Peck character, who would he be?
Segel: Kermit's the everyman. He's like Atticus Finch. He just wants to be an upright citizen and be kind. It’s all about laughter and love and doing what's right.
R&R: Let’s cut to the chase. Miss Piggy: She’s a diva, am I right?
Segel: Miss Piggy is the ultimate diva.
R&R: Do you think you could talk about Animal while making a Shakespeare reference that no one but English-lit majors will get? Bonus points for a Freud reference, too. You realize that if you pull this off, the academic world may stop thinking of you simply as the guy who wiggled his wang around in “Sarah Marshall.”
Segel: Animal is the part of all of us that is unhinged. Animal is like our Id. He's like Caliban from “The Tempest.”