Segel isn’t known for kids entertainment, but he’s determined to bring back a critical piece of family entertainment from his own childhood. “The Muppets were my first comic influence as a kid, and I don’t know if you remember, but when you’re young, Kermit is Tom Hanks,” he said at the CinemaCon convention of theater owners.
“I realized there is a whole generation of children who haven’t gotten to have the same experience I had. The Muppets never make fun of anyone. It’s all about kindness and laughter and love and friendship. That’s been missing in a lot of movies, and to bring that back for a new generation is a real honor,” Segel said.
He and co-star Amy Adams revealed some details of the story, set to open Nov. 23. They play a long-dating couple whose relationship has stalled, partly because Segel’s character won’t commit. He shares an apartment with a new Muppet, Walter, who is sort of like the couple’s third wheel. “Or I’m the third wheel,” Adams says later backstage. The trio takes a trip to Los Angeles and her character’s hopes it will lead to a proposal from Segel.
When they get to L.A., they find that the Muppet studio is “decrepit and broke down,” Segel said. The Muppets haven’t done anything for a long time, but they find Kermit and attempt to create a reunion broadcast that will save their old studio “from an evil oil baron played by … Academy Award winner Chris Cooper,” Segel said, shaking his head in mock disbelief. “I somehow tricked Amy Adams and Chris Cooper into being in this movie”
Though they’ve done some television, the late Jim Henson’s showbiz-loving puppets haven’t made a feature film in 12 years (the last was 1999′s Muppets From Space,) so this movie imagines what might have happened to them in the downtime. “Fozzie Bear is doing a terrible lounge act in Reno, Nev., singing old Muppet songs,” Segel said. “It’s no Vegas. And I wrote a scene for Miss Piggy hoping we would shoot in Paris, but it turned out to be incredibly easy to fake on a green screen.”
Sorry, Kermit, but sometimes it’s TOO easy being green.