Cinema Con Video: Jason Segel And Amy Adams Bring Old-Fashioned Optimism To The Muppets
Tonight's presentation at Cinema Con from Disney was crammed with all kinds of information and footage, from the news that the new Monsters Inc. film will be a prequel to entire action scenes from Cars 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. But the most exciting thing for me by far was seeing what looked like an extended trailer for The Muppets, the new movie written by and starring Jason Segel that's the first big-screen appearance for Jim Henson's creations in 12 years.
They weren't revealing too many plot details about the film beyond what we already know-- Segel plays a character who just so happens to have a Muppet, Walter, for a roommate, and both of them have grown up idolizing the Muppets. When they take a road trip to Los Angeles to finally see Muppets Studio they find it in disrepair, and decide along with Amy Adams's character to reunite the Muppets gang and put on a show to save the studio. Segel did reveal some of the places we find the Muppets when they're down on their luck-- Miss Piggy is holed up in Paris, a place Segel said is "really easy to fake with green screen," and Fozzie has fallen on hard times doing a terrible comedy act in Reno, Nevada. When I caught up with him later and asked specifically about the Swedish Chef-- you can see that and more in the video below-- Segel assured me he would be "doing what he's best at," which I assume means chopping things up and talking incoherently.
The Muppets trailer, which started with a cute reference back to the original old Mahna Mahna sketch, went by quickly and in flashes of musical numbers, goofy facial expressions and unmistakable good cheer. There seems to be something deliberately old school about the movie, not just hearkening back to the 70s when the Muppets first premiered, but the kind of 1940s "let's put on a show!" musicals that starred Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. Then again, it's also unmistakably modern-- we see Segel's character go on the Jimmy Fallon late-night show, where Statler and Waldorf heckle them both from the balcony. And the Disney executives also promoted the new Muppets viral videos intending to introduce the Muppets to a new audience; the notion of any studio promoting a viral video can often be annoying, but seeing Beaker harassed by YouTube commenters is unmistakably hilarious.
After the presentation, on the red carpet, I talked to Adams and Segel about that old-fashioned vibe, what seems like the inherent optimism of the Muppets, and the moments when their director James Bobin had to tell them to tone down the enthusiasm a little. Check out the video below, and join me in my ridiculous anticipation for when The Muppets opens November 23.
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