“I’ve just grown a little disappointed with ’Muppets in the Old West,’ ’Muppets Under Water,’ and all these weird concept movies,” sighed the 28-year-old “How I Met Your Mother” star, speaking for the first time on his recently-revealed plans to resurrect Rowlf and the gang. “I just want to go take it back to the early 80’s, when it was about the Muppets trying to put on a show. That’s what I’m trying to bring back.”
In next month’s buzz-heavy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” Segel plays a broken-hearted musician with a hilarious desire to make a puppet musical out of Dracula’s life. Segel wrote the scene based on a real-life idea he once had, and was thrilled when it came time to live out his lifelong fantasy of becoming Jim Henson.
“When you see the movie, you’ll see that there’s a puppet musical at the end. I’ve always loved puppets, and the Henson Studios designed those puppets for us,” Segel explained of his inspiration. “While I was there, I was talking to them and asking when the next Muppets movie was coming out, and they said ’We don’t control the Muppets anymore, Disney does.’ And that just made me think back to those early 80’s Muppet movies, and The Muppet Show.”
Citing his love for “The Muppet Movie,” “The Great Muppet Caper” and “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” Segel revealed plans to similarly enlist big-name cameos for the flick; in fact, he’s already approached several members of the Judd Apatow stable that includes Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig and Paul Rudd. “All of our friends that I’ve brought it up to are pretty excited by the prospect of it. Everyone loves the Muppets; they’ve got a warm place in most people’s hearts,” he explained. “We want a lot of cameos. You look back at Charles Grodin, Charles Durning, there were just such great performances in those movies.”
“I remember thinking that Kermit was the original Tom Hanks – he was the everyman for a kid,” Segel said, revealing that the plot would focus heavily on the banjo-picking frog. “I remember watching Kermit and thinking ’That’s what I want to do when I grow up.’ I don’t think I realized he was a puppet.”
Adding that “Miss Piggie and Fozzie Bear” were also among the stars of his script, Segel stopped short when asked about ill-received 90’s newcomer Clifford, the Rastafarian Muppet. “We shall see on that one,” he laughed. “We’ve got a great plot. I think if we can execute it right, it will be terrific. But I can’t tell you more – it’s top secret.”
Segel hopes to dive in to the flick after his soon-to-shoot movie “I Love You, Man,” and is currently on the fence about whether he’ll be the primary flesh-and-blood star of the Muppet revival. “We haven’t figured that out yet,” he said of the lead role. “Right now, we’re just focused on trying to turn in an amazing script.”
Which Muppets do you want Segel to put in the movie? Which ones could you do without?