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Interview

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The Jason Segel Webchat Transcript
The Five-Year Engagement star takes your questions

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One of the stalwarts of the Judd Apatow comedy crew since the early days of Freaks and Geeks, Jason Segel's become one of the biggest comedy stars in the world. This summer, he's working with Apatow again on The Five-Year Engagement, out this week, and This Is 40, later this summer. We invited him in for a webchat to find out more about his career to date and his preferred bread snacks...

The Jason Segel Webchat Transcript

HarryMoore95: Hi Jason. Love your work. What’s your favourite show on TV and do you see yourself pursuing more dramatic work in the future?
My favourite show on TV is probably Top Chef, because I love food. Specifically the eating of it. And yes, I look forward to pursuing many more dramatic roles in the future. I would particularly like to play a villain.

JonathanBlake: On the Forgetting Sarah Marshall commentary you recommend Get Me Away From Here I'm Dying by Belle and Sebastian; what other songs do you have on your iPod?
We'll start alphabetically...Well, my favourite album of all time is Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. I travel all the time for work, but every time I hear the opening strains of that album I feel at home. That's why we used Sweet Thing and other Van Morrison throughout The Five Year Engagement, opening June 22 in a theatre near you.

Samantha: Hi Jason, I'm a big fan of Freaks and Geeks (as well as all of your work!). Do you ever wish the show got a second series to finish its story?
Let me start by saying you have impeccable taste. Oddly, I think the show ended at the perfect time. Only a few months after cancellation, John Daley went through puberty and is now a 6' 3" man.

emperorob17: Hi Jason, loved your role on The Muppets; you had a great singing voice! Any other singing roles coming up?
Music is very important to me in my films. I wrote the Dracula song in Forgetting Sarah Marshall along with a great deal of Russell's music in Infant Sorrow, so I definitely enjoy that they're forced to indulge me in my hobby.

Adam: Did you expect How I Met Your Mother to get so big and do you worry about getting typecast because of it now?
I always go into any project prepared for failure, given the experience on Freaks & Geeks. What a pleasant surprise - now I have a house! But I do look forward to playing a villain to counter my nice guy persona. PS - go fuck yourself.

Happy!: What lines do you fans most often say to you in the street when they see you?
"Hey Sarah Marshall, show us your dick!"

punygod: Bit of an odd one, but I always wondered this: who decided you and Walter would wear matching sky-blue suits? It's adorable!
Thank you. That was one of the first things I wrote in the script. I wanted the movie to open with an old time MGM musical feel, and nothing says naiveté like a powder-blue suit.

aldridge96: What was your favourite film growing up?
That's a great question. My mother showed me Harold & Maude when I was 10 years old. This may be why I am strange, but that started me on my love of odd beautiful filmmaking.

marksimpson: How much do you really love Paul Rudd, and do you slap the bass with him often?
Paul Rudd is one of my favourite people on Earth. We have played a fair amount of music together. A little known fact about Paul Rudd is that he is 4'3" tall.

punygod: Are there any plans to bring HIMYM to a close at some point soon? I'd hate for it to be cancelled for some shocking reason and never actually get to meet Ted's wife.
One thing I can guarantee you is that by the time the series ends, you will meet the mother.

dylanisis: Hello Jason, I'm a huge fan of your work as an actor and writer: any chance we'll see you direct as well?
If I ever read or write something that leaves me feeling like nobody could direct it better than I could, then I will direct. Until then, I would prefer the movie be good than direct for the sake of pride.

skoldobsessive: Would you like to work with any particual director in the future? Maybe someone you've always admired?
There are so many directors who have inspired me. The list goes on and on...but to work with somebody like Gus Van Sant, Jim Sheridan, Spielberg, Scorsese would only amplify my current feeling that I have tricked everyone.

punygod: Who is/was your comedy hero(es)? Have you been lucky enough to meet/work with them?
My comedy and acting idol is Peter Sellers. Like comedy, he is often overlooked in the pantheon of truly transcendant actors, but his range is unlimited. Everything I do is an attempt to copy him.

The Jason Segel Webchat Transcript

JonathanBlake: Hey Jason, huge fan, love your work. I recently saw a picture of yourself, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Emma Watson, Aziz Ansari and Paul Rudd amongst others, titled End of the World. What more can you tell us about that project?
That was not a project; that was our weekly Scrabble game.

punygod: Which project(s) have meant the most to you personally? I know all about you and The Muppets thanks to Empire, but anything else? The Five-Year Engagement?
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It was the first movie I wrote that was produced, and my first leading role.

punygod: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects? How's The Muppets 2 coming along? Do you reckon you'll be referenced in a Maris-in-'Frasier' capacity? You are Walter's bro, after all?
Muppets 2 is currently being written by Nicholas Stoller and James Bobin, and I know they have amazing things in store. I have sequestered myself in the middle of nowhere and am currently writing a few scripts in hopes that one turns out decent.

nickandopolis: Do you still keep in contact with the Freaks and Geeks gang: Linda Cardellini, James Franco etc?
I see most of them at our weekly Scrabble game.

Happy!: Do you ever get embarrassed by just how wonderful Emily Blunt is?
I am not quite sure why that would embarrass me, but I was born without a sense of pride or shame, so I rarely find myself embarrassed in general.

Tim: A lot of film actors these days tend to do work on stage as well. Have you considered performing in front of a live audience, and if so what would you like to do? (Shakespeare, Albee, Mamet, Pinter, etc)
I got my start in The Zoo Story by Edward Albee, so I would very much like to perform onstage again. However, doing the television show is very much like theatre, so I will probably need a bit of a break after we finally meet the mother.

Boom: What's your best ever scrabble word? One you're most proud of?
Sticktoitiveness.

punygod: Has anyone been stupid enough to criticise the fact Walter is your brother? What I mean is, has anyone said, "Hey, how can you be Walter's brother?"
I understood you the first time, dumbass. Just joking. That conceit is in the great tradition of Kermit and Fozzie Bear playing identical twins in The Great Muppet Caper.

punygod: I'm sure you've said it somewhere, but what is your fave Muppet movie? Much as I love the first, Christmas Carol has a special place in my heart.
I have become an old man. My favourite activity, and I am not being sarcastic, is to sit on the porch and listen to the radio.
I think that my favourite is The Muppets Take Manhattan. It is everything a Muppet movie should be, with the potential exception of a strange musical montage called You Can't Take No For An Answer.

Paul: What did you think of Russell Brand on Forgetting Sarah Marshall?
The first words out of Russell Brand's mouth to me were, "You'll have to forgive me, mate. I've only had a chance to take a cursory glance of your little script. Perhaps you should tell me what it is you require." He has since become a great friend.

MattHooper: What's the trick of making a great rom-com?
I will start with the pitfalls. You know how the movie is going to end; the two people on the poster will end up together. The trick is to get there in a new and surprising way. Sorry, but I've already taken Dracula puppet musical.

Gary: Have you ever done any stand-up? If so, how as did it go? Any favourite jokes? If not, why not?
I have done stand up twice. It went fine. Here is a joke: a man walks into his living room and sees his flatmate staring at a box of orange juice. "What are you doing?" he says. "The box said, 'Concentrate', he replied.

dylanisis: Do you have fond memories of playing watermelon man?
Here is another joke. What is the difference between marmalade and jam? You can't marmalade your cock up someone's bum.

mccloskeynat: What's your favourite film?
My favourite four films, in no particular order, are Badlands, Being There, Broadcast News and Harold & Maude.

Salander87: What are your favourite things to do on your day off?
I have become an old man. My favourite activity, and I am not being sarcastic, is to sit on the porch and listen to the radio.

Salander87: What's your favourite Broadway musical?
I see Les Miserables at minimum once per year. For fun, feel free to YouTube me and Neil Patrick Harris singing Confrontation.

Clarisse Loughrey: Mr. Segel, you seem like you have pretty impeccable culinary tastes. If you were to make me the best sandwich possible right now, what would it be?
So many sandwiches, so many ingredients. I think to best answer that question, I will simply tell you the top 5 sandwiches in no particular order. BLT, Reuben, grilled cheese, tuna melt and peanut butter and jelly.

Quentin_Cappucino: Jason, you did an impersonation of Antonio Banderas on Saturday Night Live. What is the secret to a good Banderas, and what other celeb impressions can you do?
I also did my Andre the Giant, which is by far my best impression. The secret to a Banderas is a confidence, completely unrelated to anything going on in the vicinity.

JonathanBlake: This Is 40 looks great; what can you tell us about your role in that?
I reprise my role as Jason from Knocked Up. I spend several scenes lasciviously hitting on Judd's wife, who was helpless behind the monitors. Boom!

Gary: What's the YouTube video you find yourself watching over and over when you're bored?
There is an amazing video called Drinking Tea Out Of Cups where a man who has taken too much acid is recorded by his friends having an incoherent and terrible diatribe. They animate it. It is incredibly cruel of his friends to stand there while this man is clearly in trauma, but he ain't my friend.

Quentin_Cappucino: You worked with Bret McKenzie on The Muppets. Is he as amazing as he seems, and did you resist the urge to yell "Band meeting!" at him?
Working with Bret was truly an honour, as I am a gigantic fan. So proud that he earned the Muppets their first Oscar.

The Jason Segel Webchat Transcript

Gary: If you could cameo in any upcoming movie, what will it be?
I would say The Avengers 2, but I am still waiting to hear back if I have gotten the role of Captain America.

Oops. Someone at Empire just told me they not only made Avengers 1, but also Captain America.

psmith92: Do you have any special hidden talents?
I have used any talent or semi-talent or barely-discernable skill and squeezed any creativity I could onto the screen. I am a shell of my former self.

Big_Pants: Can you ever see yourself in a gritty thriller or horror movie?
Only with a mirror or in the theatre.

andy2730: Just found out your also a puppeteer!! If you had to turn a celebrity into a puppet, who would you choose and why?
My dream was always to become a Muppet. This dream finally came true in The Muppet Movie. They let me take home the Muppet Jason Segel. He has become my best friend.

punygod: Favourite comedian who's not in your social circle? Ricky Gervais? Larry David? Ever heard of Chris Morris?
Ricky Gervais is a giant idol of mine. To see somebody produce such brilliant material from scratch so prolifically is a huge inspiration in never being lazy.

kathen: Any screenplay writers you really want to make a film with or are you all about trying you write your own scripts? Also is the improv approach more fun or more arduous?
No, I would love to just be invited to the party for once without having to set up all the decorations. So many amazing screenwriters - Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson jump to mind. As for the improve question, all styles of acting present their own challenges. On the pro side of improv, you don't have to memorise. But the catch is you better show up sharp.

marksimpson: Are you going to watch the England "soccer"game today?
Yes.

Lauren: What actor have you been the most nervous to work with before meeting them?
I was most nervous to work with Kermit the Frog. So much so that I cried during the first table lead.
Honestly, I was most nervous to work with Kermit the Frog. So much so that I cried during the first table lead. I wish this was a joke, but it is on film. I remember thinking, "Maybe they think this is charming." Then realising that they were terrified because I was a producer.

neddavies: Can I slap bet you that if I ever meet you face to face, I get to slap you in the face?
This reminds me of the Threshold Guardians from Labyrinth. I do not have the mental energy to indulge your wit, so I refer you to one of my previous answers - go fuck yourself.

Jerwin: Who are the best bands/musicians you've ever seen live? (You and Rudd doing Rush don't count)
I see Van Morrison every year, and I also recently saw U2 at the Hollywood Bowl. Both left me with the same thought. What I do, as is true for most of us, is a choice. There were many potential career paths. There is no version of Bono or Van Morrison being anything but what they are.

BigGebowski: What's the first film you ever saw at a cinema?
The first film I ever remember seeing in a cinema was one of the Superman movies. Lois asked Superman if she could be his girlfriend. My brother, only a bit older than I, stood up and screamed out, "He's Superman, he doesn't need a girlfriend, Lois!"

wardy: Half the world probably wants to be friends with Jason Segel. How would your mates describe you?
Probably much quieter than you picture me. I have learned there is much more to be gained by listening than by speaking. Sorry. I didn't hear the question.

JinXD: Do you follow sport, if yes, what sport and what are your favorite teams?
I follow basketball,as I played in high school. My two teams are the Lakers, since I was raised in Los Angeles, and the English National Basketball Team. Or do you call it netball?

mccloskeynat: At what age did you start acting?
I started acting around 16 years old.

alander87: If you were to star in The Avengers 2, which superhero from the comics would you like to be, apart from the roles already taken?
I would likely make up my own superhero. His power would be unlimited pocket space, as often my suits look bulky due to the number of modern-day gadgets.

kathen: What are your thoughts on penguins?
Penguins are a bullshit bird. Show me a flying penguin and I'll give you everything I own. For all those reading, please do not throw a penguin out of the window and take a picture.

ThePilk: What did you want to do before you started acting?
I suppose I would have been a lawyer, as there is a great deal of performance in trial law.

Kesker: What was the last book you read?
The last book I read and let me assure you, it was recently and not when I was 12, is sincerely Winnie The Pooh.

wardy: Are there any scenes in The Muppets that got cut that you still wish was in the film?
We had created a backstory for where all of the Muppets were when Kermit set out to gather them. Sadly we were only able to use a few, but I believe many are available on the DVD.

NoYo: Who would you have play yourself in a Jason Segel biopic?
I think the obvious choice is usually the best, but I don't know if Brad Pitt has gotten too old.

Angie-Norris: If you could have a fantasy dinner party with only five guests, who (dead or alive) would you invite?
Bo Derek, Natalie Wood, Cleopatra, Nefertiti and a really good doctor with antibiotics.

Luke: If you could voice a cartoon character, which show would you like to contribute to and what sort of character would you be?
I would be honoured to play myself on The Simpsons.

Kesker: Favourite song at the moment?
My favourite song at any moment is The Way Young Lovers Do, by Van Morrison.

rachelmacgregor: Who, in your opinion, has the best beard ever? You always seemed to be down when you had to shave (on twitter).
It is hard because there are so many great beards. But I would be remiss not to acknowledge Zach Galifianakis as the reigning beard champion.

KellyHodges: You say you would one day like to play a villian. Who is your favourite villain from the big screen?
My favourite villain from the big screen has got to be Gary Oldman from The Professional / Leon.

undeclaredfan: It took a few years after Undeclared for your career to really take off. Did you ever consider another career during this time?
There was a very scary moment when I thought that I might have to choose another profession. It was at that point I realised I had no discernible skills, so I started writing. Necessity is the mother of invention.

fmora98: What's the word with the Dracula Puppet Rock Opera?
I think the smartest move is to leave the Dracula opera as it is. In context, it was allowed to be intentionally bad. As a standalone project, it might not stand up on its own two feet. But fang you for asking.

JonathanBlake: Do you really eat your cereal out of a giant bowl, like in Forgetting Sarah Marshall?
When I was young, and an athlete, I had a crazy metabolism. I would eat both cereal and giant hot fudge sundaes out of a huge silver mixing bowl. Then I stopped being an athlete, but continued eating huge chocolate sundaes, and now here we are.

The Jason Segel Webchat Transcript
Jason takes control of the webchat...

punygod: Favourite rom-com? Is it Harold and Maude, if you classify it as such?
I love the caveat to your question. I believe the best of the genre we are speaking about cannot necessarily be classified, but in that vein, I would choose Annie Hall. Both it and Broadcast News are the only movies that come to mind that had the balls not to have their protagonists end up together.

Thank you for your questions. I had a fantastic time. Please check out The Five-Year Engagement and be kind to everyone you can. Bye!

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