“The Muppets” movie brings back the endearing group of puppets to the big screen, thanks in large part to Muppets megafan Jason Segel, who is one of the stars, writers and executive producers of the film. The Muppets (created by the late Jim Henson) were first introduced to the world on TV, and there have been various movies made with these memorable characters, which include Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Statler and Waldorf, the Swedish Chef, Rowlf and many more.
In “The Muppets” movie, Segel plays Gary, who has a Muppet brother named Walter. Their dream is to visit the Muppets theater in Los Angeles. But when Gary, Walter and Gary’s girlfriend, Mary (played by Oscar nominee Amy Adams) get to the Muppets theater, they find out the theater is about to bought and be torn down by a greedy oil baron named Tex Richman (played by Oscar winner Chris Cooper), who wants to drill the land for oil. It’s up to Gary, Mary and Walter to reunite the Muppets for a fundraising show that will save the theater. Here is what Segel and Adams said when they talked about their “Muppets” movie experience at the Los Angeles press junket for the movie.
Interview with Jason Segel
What was the most fun part about working with Walter in “The Muppets”?
Segel: Walter reminds me very much of myself. Walter is an actor, obviously, but the character he’s playing is based loosely on me. So to see an actor as good as Walter sort of portray me, it was an honor for me to see [him] do that … Except instead of growing up in a small town, I grew up in Hollywood. And instead of having a really beautiful girlfriend, I’m single.
[Says jokingly] Did you have any advice for Walter as an actor?
Segel: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been telling him the whole time. While he was filming, he was fine. He had no problem. I’m a little nervous as the movie comes out, and I believe it’s going to be a big success, I hope. I am just worried about fame going to Walter’s head. He’s assured me that he’s going to be the same old Walter … He just bought a Maserati.
Interview with Amy Adams
At this point in your career, do you feel like a movie star?
Adams: No. This is what I always tell my niece: “I’m an actress.” Movie stars always have pedicures, and I don’t have any time for that.
What was it like working with Miss Piggy in “The Muppets”?
Adams: You know, the important thing to remember about Miss Piggy is to give her a lot of compliments, don’t flirt with Kermit, and always treat her like she’s the biggest star in the room. So I understood those rules, and we get along just fine.
Miss Piggy is known for being bossy. Did she have any advice for you?
Adams: She doesn’t like to share her secrets. Just by watching her, I learned that if you eat a lot of donuts before a take, you’ll have extra energy.
What is your earliest memory of becoming aware of the Muppets?
Adams: It’s hard to pinpoint a specific time when I became aware of the Muppets, because I feel like they always existed in my life. I sort of came to awareness in life, and the Muppets were there with me. But we always watched “The Muppets Movie,” and I loved [the song] “The Rainbow Connection.” We sang the songs a lot. It was always just a part of our life.
What type of audience will “The Muppets” appeal to the most?
Adams: Ones that want to see really good, funny movies that they can take their whole family to. I think what’s cool about the Muppets is that there’s a generation that took their kids to the original “Muppets” movie. So you have them and their kids, who have now grown up and have their own kids. So it’s a three-generational [thing]. It’s a pretty big span of ages that I think are going to enjoy this movie.
Since “The Muppets” is the first movie that you’ve done with puppets, did you have to do anything different to prepare for your role in the movie?
Adams: Not really. There’s not a lot of roles where you have to do a Mariah Carey riff. And Mariah, you’re safe. I don’t think there’s any competition. But that was a lot of fun: to get to pre-record the songs.
What do you think is the message of “The Muppets”?
Adams: That we’re better together than apart. And that each of us has our own unique and individual talents. And as a group, we should celebrate those, but always remember that together we’re stronger than separate.
How was it working with Jason Segel?
Adams: I had a lot of fun working with Jason. Jason is like a 6’4” Muppet. He really is. He’s very Muppety. [“The Muppets” director] James Bobin always says, “There are Muppety people, and there are non-Muppety people.” Clearly, I’m Muppety, and Jason is even more Muppety.
For more info: “The Muppets” website
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