Question: I know you have a lot of contemporary stars with cameos and stuff. Are there any classic Muppet stars that make a cameo?
Jason: I’m not allowed to talk about a lot of them, but we’ve got some great cameos. Mickey Rooney kinda harkens back to that, Alan Arkin. We’ve got some really great cameos in there.
Question: When it was announced that it was actually happening, did you get letters or calls?
Jason: I got a lot of calls, especially my contemporaries who have kids all wanted to be a part of it for their kids, and the idea of bringing their kids to meet the Muppets, or even to be able to show them the movie eventually. People love the Muppets. There’s a lot of Muppet love out there.
Question: Did you write any of the songs? Could you also address those songs for adults and kids?
Jason: Bret McKenzie wrote most of the songs. And then we have a couple reprises of some of the old Muppet songs. I wrote one of the songs, but it’s a jokier song. Brett really just took the songs and ran with them. They’re awesome; really, really gorgeous.
Yeah, they’re catchy so kids will be bopping along, but some of the lyrics are definitely adult-based. Part of the movie is Kermit trying to come to terms with the fact that the Muppets aren’t together anymore. There’s a beautiful song that Kermit sings that is truly heartbreaking.
Question: Can you tell us what some of the Muppets are doing when you find them in the film?
Jason: I don’t want to give too much away. But we’ve got them in various states of success or disarray. Some are famous. Some are…destitute is the wrong word; you are not going to see any destitute Muppets.
But some aren’t doing what they wish they were doing. So everyone is doing their own thing and it’s a bit of a struggle for all of them to come back and become The Muppet Show again.
Question: Is there anything left you would like to do?
Jason: I’d like to be President of The United States. [laughs] No, I’d like to play the villain in a superhero movie. I think I’d be really good at it. I’m like 20% creepy.
No, I really am. I have 20% creepy. I exclude it from this movie. But look, when you watch Sarah Marshall, the Dracula musical is funny, but it’s 20% creepy. So I really want to play a villain in a superhero movie.
Question: What about playing Vector? You played Vector, obviously. He’s kind of a super villain.
Jason: Yeah, but I didn’t get to do my creepy face. I do a really good creepy face.
Question: What was more impressive, Kermit or Julie Andrews? Your first meeting?
Jason: I must say it was Kermit. I can’t say honestly that Julie Andrews was one of my childhood idols. [laughs] I mean she was awesome, but Kermit truly formed my sense of comedy. I’ve said this before ad naseum, but when you’re a kid, Kermit is Tom Hanks. He’s Tom Hanks for kids or Jimmy Stewart for kids. He’s truly the every man. I think even as a kid wanting to be an actor, I thought that’s what I want to do. That’s who I want to be. He’s so nice and sweet and he’s running the show, and everybody loves him. That was it.
Question: Can you talk about the challenges of working seven day weeks with also thinking about other things?
Jason: Well, Nick, we write in my trailer a lot. We start filming Five Year Engagement as soon as this ends, which we also wrote; Nick’s directing. It’s hard. But I spent 21-25 totally out of work. So now that I have a chance to do stuff, there’s a part of me that feels like I’m not letting this opportunity pass by. Because you see it go away very quickly. And it’s very fickle.
And I like writing. I genuinely do. I get tired and all that stuff, but when you think about it…It’s like the movie Alien when the aliens get to burst out of your chest. When I get an idea, it’s kinda hard not to do something because it feels like the alien is going to burst out of my chest. I’m not good at setting it to the side and say, “I’ll get to this eventually.” I want to start writing it, even if it means staying up all night, which is basically what’s happening at this point.
But I don’t know. I’m a pretty lucky dude. It’s tough to complain. I mean look, there’s like a million Muppets over there. It’s crazy. I mean it’s really insane. I bought a house. [laughs] What do I have to complain about? A little lack of sleep? That’s all right.
Question: Can you do your creepy face?
Jason: No, I’ve gotta save it! Plus, it doesn’t translate well to the written word. If this was being filmed I would do it. [laughs]
Question: Just for our own entertainment.
Jason: [laughs] No, no. You gotta buy a ticket for that.
Question: Can you talk about incorporating Jim Henson Studios into the actual film?
Jason: That was something I wanted to do. The idea was born at the Jim Henson Studios. They designed the Sarah Marshall puppets. While I was there I asked if I could see a Kermit or a Miss Piggy and they said, “We don’t have them here anymore. We’ve sold them to Disney. Disney owns all the Kermit’s and Piggy’s.” That literally was the moment the idea was born, was that the Muppets weren’t at the Henson studios anymore. Then it grew from there. And Nick Stoller, I must say, is a tremendous writing partner. He came up with a huge amount of the idea. And James Bobin, when he signed on, really refined the script. We’re a good triumvirate; not since the days of Rome.
Jason: Thank you guys! It’s good to see you again. You’re always all so nice.