Once more Mr Nice Guy
Blame the internet. There would, in previous eras, have been nowhere to print half this stuff.
“Yes. And the camera phone. You can’t escape the weird feeling that somehow they’ve ‘got you’ when you’re photographed doing something ordinary. ‘Jason Segel buys milk?’ What’s that question mark mean?”
Jason doesn’t strike me as the kind of fellow who will buckle under pressure. He has a very easygoing manner. But he also comes across as a man with a disciplined mind and a quietly unshakable will. Just consider his triumph with The Muppets. The story goes that he told Disney, who currently own the rights to Jim Henson’s puppets, that he was going to make the thing and that was that. Happily, it then turned out to be a critical smash and a box-office hit.
“Two stories got combined,” he laughs. “I went and pitched it to them and they thought I was joking or I was too deep into irony. I had to explain that I really wanted to make a sincere Muppet film like from the 1970s.”
As is the way with such things, the project then slipped into a sort of limbo. Disney hadn’t said yes, but they hadn’t quite said no either. Segel decided to take the initiative.
“I was on a talk show and, when they asked what I was doing next, I said: ‘Well, Disney just announced we are making the Muppet movie.’ Now, either the movie won’t get made and one of us will look stupid or we will make the movie and neither of us will look stupid.”
He reshuffles his aw-shucks face just a little.
“It was a ballsy move. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do that sort of thing.”
He’s nice. But he’s no fool.
THE APATOW MOB
Producer, director and writer Judd Apatow has launched an entire generation of comic performers.
They include . . .
Starred alongside Segel in Freaks and Geeks, Apatow’s well-remembered, short-lived TV series, and went on to feature in Judd’s first two films as director: The 40-Year Virgin and Knocked Up. An alter-ego, perhaps.
Now known as a big serious actor who writes novels on the side, Franco got an early break in Freaks and Geeks and appeared as dissolute stoner on the Apatow-produced Pineapple Express.
Mrs Judd Apatow, an angular comic actor with a good line in put-downs, has turned up in 11 of her husband’s projects. Later this year, she takes the lead role in Apatow’s next film as director This is Forty. Can the laureate of male angst tackle female mid-life crises?
Began life as a younger – though no smaller – sidekick to Rogen, but he has now gone on to become an equally acclaimed (indeed, Oscar-nominated) star of major movies. Appeared in seven Apatow projects including Superbad and Knocked Up.
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