Good and bad news regarding a sequel to November's The Muppets: It's happening, but it won't include Jason Segel's voice -- at least not in the screenplay.
Segel is reportedly too busy -- between his hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother and upcoming film commitments -- to pen the follow-up, but James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller will reprise their behind-the-camera roles as director and screenwriter, respectively.
Segel, who stars in April's Five-Year Engagement (and co-wrote it with frequent cohort Stoller) and December's This Is 40, may still reprise his acting role as Gary in the Muppets sequel.
This past Thanksgiving, we all got a very special reunion with the individuals who have been most important to us throughout our lives...for, after we managed to sneak away from our visiting relatives and friends on break from chiropractor school, we all got a chance to reunite with the wide-eyed, wider-smiling Muppet clan via Disney's The Muppets.
The Muppets, the first feature film to celebrate Jim Henson's family of good-natured showpeople since 1999's Muppets from Space. This new movie, brought to us through the directorial eye of James Bobin and a script co-written by the film's human star Jason Segel, proved to be a film not only about the Muppet characters, but about Muppet-fans just the same. Along with new characters Gary (Segel), Mary (Amy Adams), and Walter (playing himself), the familiar gang of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and the like delivered a laugh-infused, whimsical piece of film that reminded many of us exactly why we started loving the Muppets in the first place.
And now, the film is coming out on Blu-ray and DVD, releasing in a special "Wocka Wocka" Value Pack. The package releases on Mar. 20, and the details about the special features are listed below. If you haven't seen The Muppets yet, consider it highly recommended.
3-DISC "WOCKA WOCKA VALUE PACK" [1-Disc Blu-ray, 1-Disc DVD, Digital Copy and Soundtrack Digital Download Card]
The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think): A laugh-out-loud look at the actors’funny gaffs and gags from behind the scenes of making Disney’s The Muppets.
Disney Intermission: Groundbreaking Blu-ray feature. Pausing a movie will never be this much fun, as the Muppets take over the screen every time you stop the disc!
Scratching The Surface - A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney’s The Muppets: Hosted by unit production manager monster J.G., the cast and crew take a behind the scenes look at making Muppet and movie history.
Explaining Evil - The Full Tex Richman Song: Rapping his way through the story of his miserable life, Tex tells audiences why he turned out to be such a rotten guy.
A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read Through: This hilarious footage follows the Muppet gang as they go to their first table reading of the script.
Eight Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary with Jason Segel, James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller
The Complete Soundtrack
The Combo Pack also comes with the popular theatrical spoof trailers 2-DISC COMBO PACK [1-Disc Blu-ray + 1 Disc DVD]
The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think)
Scratching the Surface - A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney’s The Muppets
Explaining Evil - The Full Tex Richman Song
A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read Through
Audio commentary with Jason Segel, James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller
Hidden Easter Eggs 1-DISC DVD with Soundtrack Digital Download Card
The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think)
Complete Soundtrack1-DISC DVD
The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think) DIGITAL BONUS EXCLUSIVE
Inside Walter’s Trailer: Take a peek inside Walter’s star trailer as he prepares to play his big role.
Now here is a reboot to cheer for. The Muppets heralds the return of Jim Henson’s beloved furry creations resurrected from pop-culture irrelevance and lovingly restored to their former greatness in a vibrant comedy-musical.
Jason Segel in addition to co-writing and starring in the film served as executive producer and the project's resident evangelist. His choice of collaborators is inspired. Directing is James Bobin best known as the co-creator along with Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement of HBO’s Flight of the Conchords a show whose good-natured and yet slyly irreverent tone often recalled that of old Muppet Show episodes. (I’ve never quite recovered from its premature departure.) McKenzie served as music supervisor contributing several original songs to the soundtrack. Segel’s co-star Amy Adams is the rare breed of actress who can transition from playing a pugilistic potty-mouthed waitress (in The Fighter) to the role of an angelic schoolteacher with ease. And few actors portray cartoonish villainy with more verve than Oscar winner Chris Cooper.
The film opens with a montage introducing the character of Walter a Muppet raised in Smalltown USA who figures himself the first and only of his kind until he happens upon an old Muppet Show rerun after which he is inexorably transfixed. Together with his “brother ” Gary (Segel) and Gary’s fiancé Mary (Adams) he travels out to Los Angeles to meet his idols only to find their studio vacated and on the verge of being demolished by Tex Richman (Cooper) a sinister tycoon who covets the oil reserves beneath it.
The only way to save the studio naturally is a kick-ass variety show reuniting the Muppets long estranged after the demise of their television series. Kermit the Frog is now holed up in a sprawling Bel Air mansion which he once dreamed of sharing with his former flame Miss Piggy who has gone on to become Vogue’s “plus-size” editor in Paris. Consummate entertainer Fozzy Bear is slumming it in Reno with a tribute band dubbed the Moopets; Gonzo is consumed by his work as CEO of the plumbing company Gonzo’s Royal Flush; and Animal is seeking treatment at the Fresh Pathways anger management clinic.
Segel and company’s affection for the original Muppets property is clear so much so that some viewers may dismiss the film as a tedious exercise in nostalgia. Pay them no heed. Kermit and the crew are as fresh and funny as they were three decades ago and their anarchic brand of humor with young and old alike. The film suffers from an over-emphasis on its human characters (Gonzo’s miniscule screen time is particularly baffling) and McKenzie’s songwriting while more than adequate yields no memorable standouts in the vein of “Rainbow Connection” or “Mah Na Mah Na ” but these are minor quibbles. Only cynical curmudgeons like Statler and Waldorf would waste time finding fault with an experience this joyous.
Members of the Pixar “brain trust” have agreed to help out parent corporation Disney with their new live-action Muppet movie. Principal members of the Muppet movie, which stars Forgetting Sarah Marshall puppet extraordinaire Jason Segel, were flown to Pixar headquarters in northern California for a table read with the animation experts.
Pixar’s brain trust, which includes filmmakers John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Michael Arndt, Bob Peterson and president Ed Catmull, has been responsible for the studio’s perfect record: producing 11 consecutive commercial hits and critical successes. While Pixar had been kept separate from Disney in prior years, Disney has recently begun to tap into the storytelling team’s potential by consulting them for story advice, such as before starting reshoots of their live-action computer adventure Tron Legacy.
Disney, whose recent releases When in Rome, The Last Song, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and The Sorcerer's Apprentice have been short on critical and commercial success, seem to be poised to adopt a more Pixar-like production schedule, or to at least take advantage of Pixar’s storytelling success. Pixar has long relied on peer feedback to produce their films. President Ed Catmull described the process: “Every two or three months, they present 'the film' to the other filmmakers, and they will tear the film apart. And it's very important for that dynamic to work because it could be a brutal process; there needs to be the feeling they are all helping each other who wants that help.”
Disney is wise to start taking advantage of Pixar, who have proven their mastery of storytelling basics time and time again. And it certainly won’t be a one-sided arraignment, since much of the Pixar crew (especially Up director Pete Docter) are long-time muppet fans. Basically, this seems like a best-case scenario for everyone involved.
The new Muppet movie, directed by Flight Of The Conchords’ James Bobin, is due out December 2011.
Jason Segel, who wrote the latest Muppets movie with Nicholas Stoller, will also play the non-Muppet lead.
According to the Heat Vision blog, Segel will also join David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films/TV as a producer on the project.
James Bobin is on board to direct. The plot is under wraps but it is known that Segel plays a man on a quest to find and reunite the Muppets.