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Interview: Jason Segel

We chatted with Muppets star Jason Segel about continuing Jim Henson's legacy and why parents will enjoy watching The Muppets every bit as much as their kids.

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Photograph: Patrick Wymore


Actor Jason Segel has been a fan of the Muppets since he was a kid ("I've always had a soft spot for Fozzie Bear," says Segal. "No matter how bad his jokes were, he just kept going. He reminds me a lot of myself"). Now the star of How I Met Your Mother and movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall is making Muppet history—he's cowritten a new film about the little creatures and he's starring in it, too.

What can you tell us about the The Muppets?
JS My girlfriend [played by Amy Adams] and I decide to take a vacation, and we take along my little brother Walter, who's a muppet, so he can see the Muppet studios. While we're there, we find out the Muppets have disbanded and the studio is going to be torn down. We decide to get all the Muppets together to put on a show that might save it.

Does the movie appeal to parents as well as kids?
JS The movie is truly for everyone. It's sort of the same tone as the original Muppet movies. Parents are enjoying it for a whole different reason than kids are, but they are still able to enjoy it together.

Exposing a new generation of viewers to such beloved characters is a big undertaking. Was it ever intimidating?
JS The only thing intimidating was to make sure I honored this amazing legacy. But I feel honored to even be a footnote in the story. I think it's really important to introduce kids today to the Muppets we grew up with. The Muppets are never mean to anyone. I think that we sort of moved into a time where people get cheap laughs by making fun of other people, and the Muppets never do that—even with their villains. They don't want to destroy their villains, they just want to reform them.

What do you think would think of the new film?
JS He was such a force for good in this world. That was always on my mind—to just maintain the spirit he created.

The Muppets (PG) opens in theaters on Nov 23.

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