Jason Segel stars as a small town guy called Gary in Disney’s The Muppets. With the Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD about to be released, we sit down for a chat with the comedy hero to find out more…
Stay tuned tomorrow at 8am and 12pm EST for interviews with Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy!!
How exciting does it feel to be part of the new Muppet movie?
It feels amazing to be part of The Muppets. One of the things I’m really excited about with this new movie is the fact that we have a new Muppet. His name is Walter and he was born in my brain! I helped co-write the script, so I feel very close to Walter. He’s adorable.
What can you tell us about the story of the new movie?
Walter is the number one fan of the Muppets. He heads to Hollywood along with my character, Gary, to visit the Muppets Studio – but when they get there, they discover that an evil oil baron is trying to tear the place down in order to drill for oil.
Eek! What happens next?
That’s when we decide we have to find Kermit and get all of the Muppets back together again. We have to save the Muppets Studio!
How much fun did you have creating a new Muppet for the movie?
I absolutely love Walter. I had a ton of fun creating him! I guess he’s like Kermit before Kermit was famous. He’s very young, sweet and naïve. He’s a great little guy.
Why does Walter want to meet the Muppets?
In the movie, Walter is trying to figure out who he is. He keeps thinking things like, ‘What am I? Where do I belong? Where do I fit in?’ Thankfully, he eventually finds out the answers – but initially, it’s his dream is to meet the Muppets because they are the only people he has seen who are like him.
There are a loads of cool celebrity cameos in the movie. Why do Hollywood stars love the Muppets so much?
Because the Muppets are so much fun! Also, a lot of Hollywood actors want a bit of kudos with their children. They get to say to their kids, “Hey, look… Daddy is cool because he’s friends with Kermit.” Everyone wants to have their picture taken with Kermit and Miss Piggy. Huge Academy Award winners came on to the set of The Muppets and asked for a photo with the gang. It was incredible.
Why are you such a big fan of the Muppets?
I think the root of my enjoyment goes down to the fact that the Muppets are always kind. They never resort to mean humor. They never try to destroy their villains. Instead, they try to reform them. They want to show these villains the error of their ways.
When did you first discover the Muppets?
The Muppets were my first comic influence as a kid. I was a little too young for The Muppet Show when it first came out, but my mom would show me old VHS tapes of the show – and I immediately fell in love with them. The show was amazing!
Is it true that you made your own Muppet movies when you were at school?
I started to make short films in high school. I was an athlete at the time, so I didn’t have any actor friends to star in my movies. That’s when I started making short films with puppets – and that’s when I first saw their potential. In fact, that's when I fell in love with puppetry.
Was Kermit your favorite Muppet when you were little?
I loved Kermit, but I also had a real love for Fozzie Bear. Fozzie is awesome! When I was growing up, I was not a great joke teller – just like Fozzie. I thought I was funny, but I wasn’t that funny. However, I kept trying – and that’s exactly what Fozzie does. He just keeps going and going. Nothing fazes him.
What was it like to meet the Muppets for the first time?
I was definitely awestruck when I met the Muppets on the first day. At first, I was really nervous to meet them – but they are incredibly down to earth. I finished the movie with an even bigger appreciation of them. They are lovely.
What did it feel like to walk on to the set of the movie for the first time?
For me, that was the coolest moment in this whole experience. I was so happy the first time I walked on to the set of the movie, especially because there were so many amazing sets. Our set designers were outstanding.
What was your favorite set in the movie?
Kermit’s house is gorgeous, and so is Kermit’s old office. The Muppet Studios are also very beautiful – but I lost it a little when I walked on to the set of the Muppet theater for the first time. I was completely overwhelmed because it was so perfect. I couldn’t believe my eyes!
What was the toughest part of playing your character in the movie?
There are a number of song and dance numbers in the movie. They were great scenes to work on, but they were also a little daunting.
Why were they so challenging?
To some extent, I’m fine with the musical part of this role. I’ve already written music for other movies, so the singing part was fine for me – but the dancing was a little different.
Are you a good dancer?
I don’t have a lot of dance experience but you can tell from my body that I’m a born dancer. I’m very lithe and agile. When music starts, my body wants to move to the rhythm, so I guess it came very naturally. Well, some of it came naturally. Some of it was much tougher!
Was part of the appeal of the movie the chance to create an old-fashioned musical?
The movie is shot like an old-fashioned musical, which I think is great. The story starts in a place called Smalltown, which is where Gary and Walter grew up. It’s a small place where everyone knows each other. Everyone knows the butcher’s first name and everyone reads the local paper. The movie opens with a big lavish musical number where I’m in a powder blue tuxedo dancing around with Muppets and it feels like one of those old MGM musicals. The scale is crazy and it looks amazing. I couldn’t be more proud!
The Muppets came home on March 20th!
The Wocka Wocka Value Pack, contains the movie on Blu-ray high-definition, DVD and Digital Copy (3 discs) plus a download card for the film's soundtrack from Walt Disney Records! Go buy yours today!!
For extra activities and fun for the kids, check out the Muppets Activities page!!