Jason Segel, the Force Behind Disney’s ‘The Muppets’

Comic actor Jason Segel (“I Love You, Man” TV's “How I Met Your Mother”) is the moving force behind the return of Kermit the Frog and the rest of the gang in Walt Disney Pictures' new comedy “The Muppets.”

Says producer Todd Lieberman, “Jason was super passionate about the Muppets and a massive fan. He was the spark.”

Segel was so passionate about the project, he not only helped write the script, he wrote a part for himself—a part that required him to sing, dance and act opposite some of the most iconic characters in the world. “In the finale of the movie there are 200 extras, 100 dancers and 50 Muppets,” says Segel. “It was very surreal and it happened to take place on my birthday. I walked out from my trailer thinking I was coming to film, and everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday,’ including the Muppets. I kept thinking, ‘I’ve tricked everyone. Somehow I’ve made this weird childhood dream come true.’ It was the craziest thing ever.”

In the film, Segel plays Gary, the loyal brother of Walter who is probably the world’s No. 1 fan of The Muppets. “Gary is from Smalltown, USA,” says Segel who created the role with himself in mind. “He’s very naive, sweet and innocent, and he’s very much in love with his girlfriend, Mary. He’s torn between his brother and growing into a new phase of maturation where it’s time to be with his girlfriend. He’s lived with his brother forever, so that is his big struggle.”

The plot thickens when the Gary, Walter and Mary (Amy Adams) decide to take a vacation. Says Segel, “The movie starts out with me and my brother, Walter, whose wildest fantasy is to meet the Muppets. My goal is to take a vacation to L.A. with my girlfriend, Mary. So we all come to L.A., and while taking a tour of Muppet Studios, which is now decrepit, we find out that they’re going to be torn down to drill for oil. So we have to find Kermit, reunite the Muppets—who have disbanded because of professional rivalries—and put on a show to raise enough money to save the studio.”

Gary throws himself into the effort, putting his relationship with Mary on the back burner—again. Will he ever be able to grow up and embrace true love?

Segel says it’s the Muppets’ sense of humor that differentiates them. “Modern comedy makes jokes at other people’s expense,” says the actor.. “The Muppets never make fun of anybody. They’re all about being good and nice and trying to make the world a better place. It’s easy to get a laugh out of making fun of somebody, but the Muppets never relied on that.”

Jason Segel first gained wide attention for his role in Judd Apatow’s hit comedy “Knocked Up.” He subsequently wrote the screenplay, and starred as Peter, for director Nicholas Stoller’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” He also served as co-producer and received a writing credit on that film’s sequel, “Get Him to the Greek.”

Segel’s other feature-film acting credits include “Bad Teacher,” “Gulliver’s Travels” and “I Love You, Man.” In addition he provided the voice for Vector in the animated hit “Despicable Me.”

On television Segel currently stars as Marshall opposite Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor and Neil Patrick Harris, on the hit CBS comedy series “How I Met Your Mother.” He had a recurring role as Eric on the Fox series “Undeclared,” produced by Judd Apatow. He also portrayed Nick Andopolis, a lanky, fun-loving freak dreaming of stardom as a rock-and-roll drummer on Apatow’s Emmy® Award–nominated NBC series “Freaks and Geeks.”

Opening soon across the Philippines, “The Muppets” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.

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