Loud and proud Muppets fan Jason Segel has not only written the fluffy ones’ upcoming movie, but as The Hollywood Reporter unsurprisingly reveal in their Heat Vision blog, he’s signed on to play the lead role. According to their piece, the plot is under wraps but… er… I’ve read two different drafts of the screenplay, so it isn’t that secret.
Segel’s role is as human Gary, a chap whose best friend is the puppet bear Walter. Together they go on a journey with Gary’s girlfriend Mary to defeat the evil Tex Richman, a man who doesn’t find the Muppets funny and thinks he can smell oil beneath their studio.
There are plenty of celebrity cameos written into the script (please, Sean Penn, say yes) and a great showcase piece each for most of my favorite Muppets. Honestly, I can’t wait for this one. You’re living the dream, Segel, and you’ve turned my eyes green.
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If you thought the prospect of a new Muppet film co-written by Jason Segel was exciting, prepare yourself for another potential dose of awesome. Vulture is reporting that Flight of the Conchords co-creator James Bobin may end up directing the project. There’s no solid deal yet, but a Disney insider told Vulture “the movie is James’ to direct — if he wants it.” The project may seem like a perfect fit for Bobin — who also wrote for Da Ali Gi Show — but another potential directing gig with Segel’s bestest bud Judd Apatow may prevent him from committing.
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Muppets’ July 4th Viral Video
The Pitch: Have no idea where this comes from, or who created it, but once I saw it I knew that we needed to post this second Video of the Day on July 4th. “I, Sam the Eagle, present a musical salute to America.”
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Disney has released photos of an upcoming series of action figures of Disney / Muppet Characters dressed as Star Wars characters. The Disney characters will be sold individually for $9.95, and include Mickey Mouse as Anakin, Minnie Mouse as Amidala, Goofy as Jar Jar, Donald Duck as Darth Maul, and Stitch as Yoda. These figures will be on sale inside Disney Theme Park Gift shops by early June 2008.
The Muppets Star Wars figures will be packaged separately or in a boxed set. Characters include Kermit as Luke Skywalker, Miss Piggy as Princess Leia, Beaker as C3PO, Fozzie as Chewbacca, Rizzo as Yoda, and Gonzo as Darth Vader. These non-articulated pvc figures will be released in July at the Disney Theme parks’ gift shops.
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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).