Feature: Jason Segel Talks I Love You, Man
Mon, 23 Mar 2009 16:56:22
Jason Segel Videos
For I Love You, Man, Paul Rudd and Jason Segel got close—really close.
"We had a great time," exclaims Jason. "I was asleep one lunch, and I felt Paul's soft touch on my shoulder. He said, 'Wake up little guy.' I slowly opened my eyes, and Paul was standing there with his dick out [laughs]. He winked at me and walked out of the room [laughs]."
The script didn't actually require that degree of cozy bromance, but such comfort didn't hurt the actors' screen chemistry. I Love You, Man tells the tale of friendless real estate agent Peter Klaven (Rudd) who needs to find a best man before his wedding. Sidney Fife (Segel) turns out to be the perfect guy for the job.
Jason breaks down the film's two-pronged narrative with an interesting perspective. "The movie is ultimately about Peter finding himself," says Jason. "There are two storylines going on. There's Peter's relationship with his fiancé Zooey, and there's his relationship with the potential guy friend in his life, my character, Sidney. I care mostly about my part [laughs]. Peter learns that it's okay to let your guard down with other dudes and that's an important dynamic to have. My character learns that it's time to grow up a little bit."
There's not too much growing up though, since the film is strewn with laugh-out-loud raunchiness. Sidney becomes the catalyst for most of the movie's action, and Jason was more than happy to light the proverbial fire under everyone. He explains, "I felt very lucky to play that character. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I play a very lovelorn puppy dog. On How I Met Your Mother, I'm a whipped husband. I was a little bit jealous of Russell Brand in Sarah Marshall, and I Love You, Man was my chance to take on that type of role."
“[Sidney] doesn't have a sense of regret. I've played my fare share of neurotic characters, and Sidney is quite the opposite.”
Jason immediately took to Sidney's carefree demeanor, finding it refreshing. "He has a quality that I don't have in life that I really admire," says Jason. "He is a 'this is who I am' type of guy. He doesn't have a sense of regret. I've played my fare share of neurotic characters, and Sidney is quite the opposite.
Sidney's extremely cool, like every guy's id run wild. That unbridled sense of fun gave the duo vibrancy reminiscent of Harold Ramis and Bill Murray. Jason continues, "Our dynamic is so comfortable, and we understand each other's rhythms. There were a couple of scenes we improv'ed entirely, like our first man-date. The instruction was just to get along on camera. So they kept bringing us out tacos and fake beer, and it was our job to enjoy each other's company, which was easy."
Sidney's a lively character, and Jason brings him to life. "To some extent, my performances are an amalgam of my comic influences. As opposed to cultivating my own style, I study people that I admire. There's a lot of Russell Brand in there. There's some Gene Wilder in there. I tend to feel like a fraud because I'm ripping off my comic influences [laughs]"
With upcoming spots in Gulliver's Travels and Despicable Me, there's a very bright future ahead for Jason. "I started on Freaks and Geeks when I was 18, so I didn't go to college. I was out of work and I thought, 'Shit, I might've made a terrible decision. Am I going to have to live with my parents?' Being older, I look back and think, 'What was wrong with me that I thought the two alternatives were either movie star or live with your parents?' The idea of getting a real job just wasn't an option [laughs]."