When we reported last week that Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nick Stoller and writer/star Jason Segel had signed on to develop the next Muppet movie, I speculated that these would be the guys to get it right (“The early Muppet films were absolutely genius, but the last few failed due to an attempt to dumb down the plot/jokes to appeal to young viewers”). Segel spoke with MTV, and his views seemed to mirror my early thoughts.
“I’ve just grown a little disappointed with ‘Muppets in the Old West,’ ‘Muppets Under Water,’ and all these weird concept movies. 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,” said Segel, who also wants to bring back the big name cameos of the earlier films. “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. We want a lot of cameos. You look back at Charles Grodin, Charles Durning, there were just such great performances in those movies.” “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.”
When asked if he plans to star as the lead human role in the new film, Segel admitted “We haven’t figured that out yet. Right now, we’re just focused on trying to turn in an amazing script.” Segel would only say that the plot would focus on Kermit the Frog (duh). And if Segel has not yet convinced you that he might have the vision to make the next big muppet film, I think this next quote will:
“I remember thinking that Kermit was the original Tom Hanks – he was the everyman for a kid. 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.”
One of the fey factors of the original muppet movies was that the muppets were treated like normal people in the real world, and I think Jason gets that. The later films focused on Muppets being part of these magical fantasy worlds (be it Pirates, Oz, or Treasure Island).