Throw a metaphorical stone on any given news day, and you’re likely to hit a puffed up story covering the latest reboot du jour — a known cinematic property that, having exceeded its apparent box-office life, is being fitted with replacement parts in order to sucker in consumers anew. We’ve seen it happen with an assortment of superhero flicks, plenty of hit ’80s films and a flippin’ heap of horror movies.
Well, amidst all that clutter, I’m thrilled to report that one of the most deserving and potentially amazing revamp endeavors is thankfully moving full speed ahead!
I’m referring, of course, to a fresh take on Jim Henson’s classic creations, the Muppets, who sadly haven’t graced the big-screen in over a decade (their last major hoorah was 1999’s funny, but insubstantial, “Muppets from Space”). However, glories that be, Kermit and crew’s latest venture — in the works since 2008 and rumored to be called “The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time” — has added its first living, breathing human cast member!
According to the Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog, that person is none other than Jason Segel, the mountainous star of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “I Love You, Man,” and co-writer (alongside Nicholas Stoller) of the felt-filled feature-film. While the notion of Segel lending his acting talents to the project is hardly a surprise, given his crucial creative involvement in bringing the whole thing together, it’s still a very exciting development, as he’s proven himself to be one of the more charismatic, quit-witted and genuinely endearing comedy actors working today.
Although no official details have yet leaked as to the nature of Segel’s role within the film, it’s seems likely — from the plot synopsis given over at The Playlist — that he’ll be tackling the role of Gary, a struggling entertainer who’s forced to reunite the now-retired Muppets in order save the gang’s original television studio from an evil oilman named Tex Richman.
I have no doubt in my mind that Segel can pull off this job swimmingly. He’s effortlessly humorous, without being overbearing, and has the ideal relaxed, almost childlike, energy to stand opposite the wacky, and often anarchic, gaggle of disparate Muppet personalities. Plus, judging from his “Dracula” puppet musical at the end of “Sarah Marshall,” the man was born to share the stage with stuffed co-stars.
With comically gifted “Flight of the Conchords” co-creator and “Da Ali G Show” writer James Bobin entrusted with bringing Segel and Stoller’s no-doubt unique vision to vibrant life, “The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time” stands a better-than-even chance at being an irreverent, innovative and hilarious family-movie experience. Who knows, with the right ingredients, this just might be the perfect vehicle to introduce an entirely new generation of ankle-biters to the joyfully crazed antics of the delightful Muppet gang.
Maybe then we old folks will finally get our much-desired “Pigs in Space” movie …
To help reacquaint you with Segel’s quirky puppetry skills, I’ve attached an amusing live video of the actor’s now-classic “Dracula’s Lament” musical number:
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Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.