Ricky Gervais in Talks to Star in 'Muppets' Sequel (Exclusive)

Ricky Gervais
<p><strong>Ricky Gervais</strong>, scourge of Hollywood for his controversial run as Golden Globes host, braves the red carpet with a smile</p>
The actor is in negotiations to play one of the movie's human lead characters opposite Ty Burrell.

Comedian Ricky Gervais is in negotiations to star in The Muppets sequel as the Disney movie’s human lead character, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

The follow-up movie to the 2011 hit, which starts production in January, is a European-centric adventure. And while the film will be populated by a slew of cameos, there are three main human roles. THR reported Dec. 7 that Ty Burrell, one of the stars of ABC's Modern Family, is on board as a lazy Interpol inspector.

Gervais, however, would play the lead -- as much as one can be a lead opposite Kermit, Fozzie and Miss Piggy -- with his stature being compared to the role played by Jason Segel in the 2011 movie. But the nature of Gervais' character is unknown because the script is being kept secret. Also unclear is whether the part calls for singing, a requirement for the first movie (but here's hoping).

Gervais shot a cameo for the first movie, but the scene didn't make the final cut. 

James Bobin, who directed the 2011 Muppets film, is back as helmer and co-wrote the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller. Segel will not return.

David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, who produced The Muppets, are back to produce the sequel, which will shoot in London.

If a deal is made, the role would be Gervais’ first feature lead since the 2009 comedy The Invention of Lying.

He is repped by WME and United Agents.

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com

Twitter: @Borys_Kit