One of the many benefits of hanging out on the set of I Love You, Man earlier in the week – with my online peeps from Latino Review, IESB, Hollywood.com, Collider, and Movieweb! – was getting to pester Jason Segel about his Muppet movie, which he’s currently developing with his co-conspirator Nicholas Stoller. It’s bizarre to think that the staging of a Vampire puppet musical at the end of a savagely ribald romantic comedy would help get Segel the greenlight to reintroduce the Muppets, but it’s really happening. And, according to Segel, it could be ready to go during the next How I Met Your Mother off-season.
The lead-in question is goofy because we were just talking about Segel spreading around his “mojo” in I Love You, Man…
Q: So is Kermit going to have mojo in the Muppets film?
Jason Segel: Let me tell you, anyone who can walk around in life completely naked all the time has got to have some mojo. I actually just turned in my first draft of the Muppets, and I’m really excited about it. I think we’re bringing them back.
Q: Is Sam the Eagle in it?
Segel: Sam the Eagle is definitely in it. Statler and Waldorf. The whole gang!
Q: Have you talked to Kermit?
Segel: No, I haven’t.
Q: We interviewed him last week and he was surprised there was a movie coming out, he didn’t know.
Segel: Really? We’re keeping it under wraps. (Laughs)
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the story? Which way you are headed with the Muppets?
Segel: All I can say is that we are trying to bring it back to the early 80s movies where it’s not Muppets in the Sahara or Muppets Underwater. It’s the Muppets getting back together to put on a show to save the studio.
Q: No “Pigs in Space”?
Segel: I can’t give that away.
Q: Have you contacted Paul Williams about doing the music?
Segel: No, we’re still just doing the script at the moment, so as soon as that gets in shape we’ll hopefully get it going.
Q: Do you think you’d be interested in bringing Paul Williams back?
Segel: Oh yeah, absolutely! Those songs were the best! We’ve written temp songs but we’d like to fill them in with legitimate musician songs.
(We then moved on to another subject, got interrupted by Andy Samberg again, and finally returned to the Muppet subject.)
Q: And the hope is to stay 100% traditional with the Muppets right?
Segel: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Q: No CGI Muppets ?
Segel: No, no, no. Hopefully it will fall right in the pantheon of The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Muppet Movie. You know, we’re trying to make one of those.
Q: You said you had written something for Charles Grodin?
Segel: Yeah, a brief cameo. We’ll see if he wants to do it. There are some great cameos in there.
Q: What your favorite original Muppets episode?
Segel: There’s a Muppets episode where Peter Sellars sings [“Cigarettes, Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women”] that is just… Peter Sellars on The Muppet Show. I remember, even as a kid, it was the coolest thing ever. That’s my favorite.
Q: Thought you were gonna say Alice Cooper.
Segel: No, you don’t know me very well. (Laughter) How dare you! God!
Right now, it’s between the untitled Muppets movie and Five-Year Engagement (for comedy tyrant Judd Apatow). I’d be happy with either, but a traditional Muppets movie… it’s been too long, man.
And, yes, that was me asking about Sam the Eagle and Paul Williams.