Jason Segel Talks "Gulliver's Travels", "Muppets" (2022)

Jason Segel Talks "Gulliver's Travels", "Muppets" (1)

(CBS) Just in time for the holidays, Jack Black stars in an adaptation of Jonathan Swift's 18th-century classic, "Gulliver's Travels," with a contemporary spin added to the source material.

One of his co-stars, Jason Segel (of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" fame) recently spoke to CBSNews.com about this new family-friendly film, dropped details about his starring-role in the new "Muppets" movie (due in late 2011) and talked about his next collaboration with Judd Apatow.

CBS News: In "Gulliver's Travels," Jack Black is huge. Your neck must have hurt from having to look up in the sky at him.

Jason Segel: Yeah, there is a lot of looking up, but luckily I am the same size as everyone in Lilliput [the miniature-sized region in which Gulliver finds himself], so Jack had to do a lot more looking down than I had to do looking up. But I did do a fair amount of looking up.

CBS: Since Jack Black is huge and you are tiny, how did you film those scenes together?

JS: We shot most of the scenes separately. On separate soundstages at separate times. But we would always go and be there for each other off-camera. So we did act quite a bit together, just not necessarily on-camera. But there are a couple scenes where they invented a special rig called the dual-Moco Roco. A dual motion-controlled remote control camera...that's the real name. So we were on separate sound stages doing the same things at the same time with two cameras moving at different times. So we could just hear each other.

CBS: Sounds complex.

JS: Yeah, it was pretty cool.

CBS: Tell us a little bit about your character [in "Gulliver's Travels"], Horatio. What is he like? Where did he come from?

JS: Well, Horatio basically is a really, really sweet commoner who is imprisoned in Lilliput for flirting with the Princess...Princess Mary played by Emily Blunt. The Lilliputians, by nature, are a bit naive and very trusting. And so that part was easy, then you just do this face. This is a naive innocent face [intimates a quizzical facial gesture]. Then I added whenever I had to deal with the Princess, which separately is this face [another facial gesture], so then I put them together and I got basically this face [final sad-faced gesture.]

CBS: Did you read "Gulliver's Travels" at all before this?

JS: I read the Cliffs Notes in junior high, I think that's the best I can say. Then once I got the part, of course, I read it over and over and over again. [He's joking.]

CBS: This is one of your first PG-rated starring movies?

JS: Yeah, and "Dispacable Me." This is my second family film. And, "The Muppets," which comes out next year, will also be PG. So, I'm riding the family wave for a minute.

CBS: Do you like that? Kind of transitioning from more adult humor to---

JS: Well, I'm trying to keep it mixed up. I also have a hard R-rated comedy called "Bad Teacher," coming out next year. And another R-rated-kind-of-drama with Susan Sarandon and Ed Helms. So, I'm just trying to keep it mixed up. I don't want people to be able to say, 'THIS is what Jason does.'

CBS: You've focused a great deal on comedic roles in the past. Are you going to eventually transition to more dramatic performances?

JS: Yeah, well I'd like to. Like I said, I just want to keep things mixed up. I do one next year called "Jeff Who Lives At Home" like I said which has Susan Sarandon and Ed Helms, which has a fair amount of drama in it. So it's sort of a good mid-way between comedy and drama.

CBS: So, with the Muppet movie, you have two movies coming out next year?

JS: Actually, I've got three. "Jeff Who Lives At Home," another movie called "Bad Teacher," and the Muppet movie, which will come out on Thanksgiving.

CBS: "The Muppets" is going to be little or no CGI, as in traditional Jim Hensen-style?

JS: Oh yeah, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Kermit, yeah.

CBS: And who do you play in that?

JS: I play a human, along with Amy Adams, who plays my girlfriend. And Academy-Award winner Chris Copper plays the villain. Pretty serious.

CBS: Going back to "Gulliver's Travels," now this isn't just a film for kids, there's a lot of adult humor in it?

JS: Yeah, there is. It's a film for the whole family. Which is, for me, the hallmark of a really good family film. That everyone can go and the kids are entertained, the parents aren't sitting there like its Barney the Dinosaur and having to roll their eyes while their kids have a laugh. Everyone in the family will find something to enjoy. It brings families together, it's pretty good.

CBS: How did you like living in London while filming "Gulliver's Travels?"

JS: I loved it. I had lived there before. I wrote the first draft of "Muppets" while living in London so I had a built-in group of friends there, so it was just perfect.

CBS: What do you enjoy more? Writing or acting? Or both?

JS: I like generating my own material. I like seeing something from concept to finished product when I have a hand in it. That's what I like most.

CBS: Did you have a writing hand in Gulliver's Travels?

JS: With writing? No, we did some work when we got there but, funny enough, my writing partner Nick Stoller is one of the writing partners on it.

CBS: Did you improv at all?

JS: Yeah, there is a fair amount of improv, but it was a little tricky because we were shooting separately on separate sound stages so we had to match whatever the first person did. So by the time it came to your turn...But, we found room to improv a little bit.

CBS: And how do you think fans of the source material will respond to this film?

JS: Well, it's certainly a modern adaptation of a classic story. But I think it's very much like Shakespeare. Great writing transcends time and can be adapted to any sort of environment. And I think that's what we've done here.

CBS: What about the 3D element, how do you think that will play?

JS: I just saw the movie for the first time on Saturday, and it was awesome. The 3D was really cool. We didn't know it was going to be 3D until after the fact. They did that in [post-production]. But it's fantastic.

CBS: If this does well, do you think there will be a sequel?

JS: Oh, interesting. Well...we really only did like one and a half chapters--one and half books-of the four-book Gulliver's. I wouldn't mind "Gullivers' Travels 2: Horatio's Tale"

CBS: You never know, right? Is Horatio a character in the original books?

JS: [Throws his hands up in the air as if he has no idea how to answer that.]

CBS: What about Judd Apatow? Are you guys going to work together again?

JS: Yeah, we're going to work on something next year. Nick Stoller, my writing partner who also directed "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" will direct it. It's called the "Five Year Engagement" and Judd Apatow will produce.

CBS: "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" had a spin-off...

JS: "Get Him to the Greek," yeah.

CBS: But, will there ever be a direct sequel?

JS: No, I don't think so, we've put those characters behind.

Ken Lombardi

Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.

JASON SEGEL (Gary/Written By/Executive Producer) first gained wide attention for his role as Jason in Judd Apatow’s hit comedy “Knocked Up.” He subsequently

JASON SEGEL (Gary/Written By/Executive Producer) first gained wide attention for his role as Jason in Judd Apatow’s hit comedy “Knocked Up.” He subsequently wrote the screenplay for, and starred as Peter, in director Nicholas Stoller’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” He also served as co-producer and received a writing credit on that film’s sequel “Get Him to the Greek.”. Segel’s other feature film acting credits include “Bad Teacher,” “Gulliver’s Travels” and “I Love You, Man.” In addition, he provided the voice for Vector in the animated hit “Despicable Me.”. Our whole goal was to make sure that if we were going to do a new Muppet movie that it live up to the expectations of how everyone feels about the Muppets.. What is Disney’s “The Muppets” about?. The movie starts out with me and my brother Walter, whose wildest fantasy is to meet the Muppets.. The Muppets are the only people he’s ever seen who were like him, so his quest is to become one of the Muppets.. Describe some of the other characters in Disney’s “The Muppets.”. The Muppets never make fun of anybody.. On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze Muppet Studios and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds.. To stage a telethon and raise the $10 million needed to save the studio, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate.. Featuring signature celebrity cameos, Disney’s “The Muppets” hits the big screen Nov. 23, 2011.. Don’t forget to check out MUPPET MONTH on Sorcerer Radio as well as upcoming reviews from The Muppets coming soon!

    Back in September, I had the chance to head out to Los Angeles for a Disney Dreamworks Event. While there, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Jim Henson Studios for a tour and also interview the people who are behind the The Muppets, which will be released into theaters on November 23rd. In the next 3 […]

We had the amazing opportunity to interview Jason Segel {who I LOVE!}. My favorite Muppet movie I think is actually Muppets take Manhattan.. And then one was make a Muppets movie.. Jason Segel has been a puppet lover for a long time.. Nicholas Stoller told us a fun story of Jason Segel’s puppet love.. We had a meeting with various puppet companies to decide who we were going to — of course we ended up going with Henson company but we had our meeting with the Henson company and they passed out puppets to everyone in the meeting.. The entire meeting Jason has his hand in the puppet going like this like this with the puppet.. Since Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller are so passionate about The Muppets , we asked if they had a mentor that they looked to for the movie.. I’m sure we can all imagine how amazing it must be to work with The Muppets and Jason and Nick told us their experiences!. Something that I love about The Muppets is that is a family friendly movie.. Talking about how amazing the puppeteers are and if they improvised while filming The Muppets , Jason says:

I had the fun of attending the Gullivers Travels (the movie) press screening on December 16 with a group of mom bloggers. First I posted with some behind the scene tidbits about the movie. But I also wanted to share more information from the press interviews with Jack Black (Lemuel Guliver), Jason S

But I also wanted to share more information from the press interviews with Jack Black (Lemuel Guliver), Jason Segel (Horatio) and Emily Blunt (Princess Mary).. The movie Gullivers Travels opens December 25 , so I will be heading to the theatres to share the movie with my family.. We asked Jack Black “since every kid can’t be transported to a fantasyland, is there a way that people can reinvent themselves in their own lives?”. Then we asked him if there was a time in his life that he really had to put himself out there, make a big leap?. In the Gullivers Travels movie Jason Segel plays a character that starts out under-estimating his own ability to achieve his goals but then overcomes his fears (and lets out his charm).. We asked what he was like as a kid:. I put on a play called the Zoo Story by Edward Albee, which is a really challenging play.. We asked him about doing kids movies:. Mr. Jason Segel : You know, there are worldwide charities that are incredibly important and all that….But, there is so much you can do in your local environment in terms of sending kids to school... I think it’s really important to do make those movies, because people want an escape.. Ms. Emily Blunt : I started stuttering around six.. But, the thing that helped me was acting and–because there are so many actors I know who stutter.

Read these direct interviews with Jack Black, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt! The actors star in Gulliver's Travels, FOX's new 3-D movie that opens on December 25, 2010.

The actors star in Gulliver's Travels , FOX's new 3-D movie that opens on December 25, 2010.. Are your kids going to see Gulliver's Travels?. But, since it deals with a giant and tiny people, we thought it would be cool to have that insecurity theme about being a small person in a big man's world and being insecure about being lost in the shuffle.. Do you think that doing modern versions of the classics makes people more interested in reading and literature, or do you think they're like, "I don't need to read the Swift book.. I saw Jack Black's movie.". He also plays a really sweet, innocent guy as "Horatio" in Gulliver's Travels.. You don't want your kids to be like me.. Did your mom just kind of give up after a few years of fighting with you about wearing the Superman outfit?. The kids didn't really like me that much.. My parents sent me to the local, Community Theater to take acting class just to help get me out of my shell.They figured I would make some friends.. There's something real nice about making a kid smile.. In today's day and age, what are valiant acts of bravery that we can do as opposed to Lilliput?. Did you enjoy wearing the very feminine costumes in Gulliver's Travels?. I think it's really important to do make those movies, because people want an escape.. Go see FOX's Gulliver's Travels and then leave another comment saying what your favorite part of the movie is.

Jonathan Swift's classic tale of a man in a land of miniature people is turned into a comedy vehicle for Jack Black

I am not sure at what point this started to come about and suspect it might have had something to do with the various film versions, most notably Gulliver Mickey (1934), a Disney cartoon short in which Mickey Mouse inherits the role of Gulliver, and the Fleischer Brothers’ feature-length animated Gulliver’s Travels (1939).. Most of the film versions and children’s story reprintings of the book eliminate the last two sections of the story – wherein Gulliver visits the floating island of Laputa that is inhabited by scientists and the land of the talking horses known as Houyhnhnms – and simply concentrate on the first two parts involving Gulliver’s travels in the lands of Lilliput and Brobidnag where he is respectively at giant and miniature size.. Some of the film versions – the 1939 animated version and Gulliver’s Travels (1977) – even drop the journey into Brobdingnag and keep the story entirely in the land of Lilliput.. Indeed, the only adaptation to film all four parts was the Hallmark tv mini-series Gulliver’s Travels (1995) starring Ted Danson, which is incidentally also remains the finest version of the story to date.. Gulliver’s Travels 2010 appears to be following suit, although there is a brief sojourn towards the end where Jack Black ends up in another land and becomes the toy in the playhouse of a giant child, even though this is never mentioned as being the land of Brobdingnag.. Principally, Gulliver’s Travels 2010 has been intended as a vehicle for Jack Black who also acts as a co-producer on the film.. Even given that most versions of Gulliver’s Travels regard it as a children’s film about one man’s adventures in a land of little people and giants, you are still taken aback at what the 2010 version has done to the story.. By contrast in Gulliver’s Travels 2010, the story becomes a springboard for Jack Black to do the Jack Black thing in a land of little people amid much in the way of cutsie popular culture humour.. It mostly centres around a series of vulgar gags – the Lilliputians firing grappling hooks that pull Jack Black’s pants down across his butt; he putting out a palace fire by pissing on it (which to its credit is a scene that does come from the book); the showdown with a giant Transformer robot that defeats Black by giving him a wedgie (oh yes, this is also a version of Gulliver’s Travels where the villain builds a Transformer robot for himself).. The classic scene in the book and most of the films where Gulliver defeats the Blefuscian armada of ships by towing them away is now reduced to a scene where the ships fire on Jack Black and he repels their cannonballs back at them off his protuberant belly.. Other versions of Gulliver’s Travels are:– Georges Melies’s (1902); Segundo de Chomon’s Gulliver in the Land of the Giants (1903); a Russian version The New Gulliver (1934); Max Fleischer’s animated version Gulliver’s Travels (1939); The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960) from cult stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen; a Japanese anime version Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon (1965); a live-action Czech version in 1970; a live-action Hungarian version for tv in 1974: Gulliver’s Travels (1977), a partially animated Belgian version starring Richard Harris; Gulliver in Lilliput (1982), a four-part BBC tv version; The Voyages of Gulliver (1983), an animated Spanish version; an American animated tv series Gulliver’s Travels (1992); Gulliver’s Travels (1995), a tv mini-series starring Ted Danson, the finest and most faithful of the adaptations and the only one to cover the entire book; and the animated sequel Gulliver Returns (2021).

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