Jason Segel may play Horatio, a little person in the undiscovered land of Lilliput in his new movie Gulliver's Travels, but in real life he is larger than life. We spoke with Jack Black first -- and he warned us that Segel would charm the room -- and he was right.
Segel, who you may know from TV's How I Met Your Mother, or from the hit movies Forgetting Sarah Marshall (which Segel co-wrote) and Knocked Up, sat down with us at a roundtable discussion at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills to discuss everything from Gulliver's Travels to meeting Jack Black and how his life often imitates art (nude break-up scene ring a bell?).
Jason Segel speaks!
SheKnows: We loved the movie!
Jason Segel: Thanks. I haven't seen it yet, to be totally honest with you.
SheKnows: Oh, really?
Jason Segel: Well, by the time they had a finished product, I had started Muppets. And I'm doing the TV show, so I'm doing seven-day work weeks at the moment.
SheKnows: You are busy. I was reading your bio and you are doing a million things.
Jason Segel: My mom is really upset, honestly, about my schedule.
SheKnows: Are you guys really close?
Jason Segel: Yeah, I'm really close to my family.
SheKnows: That's so nice. And it's good because you're local. So, that's good.
Jason Segel: Yeah, they're here. It's not like we get to have dinner all the time, especially with my schedule. But, we talk all the time. And my mom is just uberly concerned. She wants me to quit. She wants me to be happy. And every time she talks to me I'm tired. She says, "Son, you can't live like this." It's really, really sweet. Then my dad goes, "Work, work, work..."
SheKnows: Well, you were so good in the movie. How hard was it to be the little person, because in real life you are so tall?!
Jason Segel: See, I viewed it the opposite. We were normal size, and Jack was huge. That's how I always viewed it. Because we were to scale of all the buildings around us. We were just acting regular. Jack did most of the green screen.
SheKnows: Jack said one of his favorite scenes was when he was doing the scene where you were wooing the Princess…giving you the words to Kiss. Was that one of your favorite scenes also?
Jason Segel: It was. It was really fun. And we did three different songs, I think.
SheKnows: What were the others?
Jason Segel: Yes. So, there was the Kiss song. There was the Roy Orbison song. Pretty Woman, I think, was one of them.
Meeting Jack Black
Jason Segel: You know, I've been waiting to work with Jack for 10 years. He gave me my first writing job.
SheKnows: Oh yeah?
Jason Segel: I mean, we may have done little cameos together. But, he gave me my first job when I was 19 as a writer. It was an HBO pilot that never got made. But, I had just done a pilot with Judd Apatow as an actor.
SheKnows: Freaks and Geeks?
Jason Segel: No, no, no. It was something called North Hollywood. I had already done Freaks and Geeks, which I guess Jack had seen. And I came home one day, and I had never met Jack Black, and there was a message on my machine. And I pushed play, yes this is when there used to be answering machines! So I pushed play and it just went, "Jason Segel, this is Jack Black. [Expletive] you, dude," click. And I did not know what was going on. I had no idea what was happening. I was thinking, "Did I somehow offend Jack Black?"
SheKnows: So, what did you do?
Jason Segel: He didn't leave his number. I played it for a few people. That was about it. And then, three months later, he called me in. And it turned out he had seen this pilot that never got picked up, and said, "I think you're really good at what you do. Do you want to write a show for me?" And so, I did.
SheKnows: Did you ever get any clarity on the...?
Jason Segel: We finally talked about it for the first time in a previous interview. And he said that he wanted to compliment me. And as soon as my answering machine picked up, he froze up. And that was all he knew what to say.
His "Lilliputian" accent
SheKnows: So you have an English accent in Gulliver's Travels. Did Emily [Blunt] help you with that? Did you have a dialect coach?
Jason Segel: I had a dialect coach and I have to say it was really awkward. The lady was really nice. But, at one point she said, "I think we've done enough of the elocution lessons. Why don't you and I just sit and we'll have lunch, and we'll just talk in English accents."
SheKnows: Oh, no. In a public place?
Jason Segel: Yeah, yeah. And so, we go and we show up for lunch, and we're talking. And then, the talk starts to get real serious and she starts telling me about her divorce and how she doesn't get to see her kid as much as she would like. And she's crying. And then, I have to respond in a British accent. "That's the worst thing I've ever heard. Oh, I'm so sorry." And it was just super awkward. I had such empathy for this woman, but I had to do this dumb British accent. It was really awkward. And so, then I didn't want to do that anymore.
Next page: Jason Segel gets personal plus watch the Gulliver's Travels trailer!