On Toshi's third birthday, I took him to a very unusual puppet show, unusual because it wasn't being staged for a real audience. It was on one of the soundstages at Paramount in Hollywood, and it was a musical called "A Taste Of Love," with all the puppets by the Henson Studios. The only people witnessing take after take of the big finale of this show were extras, hired for the day, and the crew of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." If you've seen the film, you remember the moment, the big wrap-up for the character played by Jason Segel. This is his life's ambition realized, and watching Segel and his co-star Bill Hader actually operate their custom-created Muppets for a full day of shooting was one of those great random glad-I-was-there moments.
Toshi had no idea what was going on, but he enjoyed the noise and the energy and the puppets, and at one point, I had a conversation with Segel about his training with the Henson performers, and how that was the fulfillment of his own life-long dream. He confessed his Muppet love to me at that point, and talked a bit about how he'd very much like to one day figure out a way to make a movie with the Muppets. It was the first time he'd mentioned anything like that, but seeing him work with his Dracula puppet all day, I could see how firmly the idea had hold of him.
It seems fitting that Toshi would get his chance to interview the Muppets thanks to Jason Segel actually finding a way to turn that dream into reality. I wanted to sit down with Jason myself to continue what has been a multi-year conversation at this point, and also to meet the newest member of The Muppets, Walter.
Muppet Performer Peter Linz may have helped coach Walter for our interview, but during our chat, it was just me, Jason, and Walter, with Toshi and Allen watching from just out of frame. I've noticed that Allen is particularly drawn to Walter, and to the ballad that Jason and Walter share late in the movie. When I hear my three year old walking around the house, belting out "Am I a Muppet, or am I a man?" at the top of his lungs, I'm tempted to vote "both." I think audiences are going to be charmed by this newcomer, and Segel certainly seems to have had a great time working with him.
We've got a few more "Muppets" interviews coming up tonight and tomorrow, so keep checking back.
"The Muppets" lights the lights and starts the music in theaters everywhere starting tomorrow.
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
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