'Jeff, Who Lives at Home' Star Jason Segel on His Secret Athleticism and Improvising With Ed Helms (Video)
The actor spoke to THR about playing a stoner who lives in his mom's basement but is determined to discover his destiny.
Jason Segel stars in Jeff, Who Lives at Home as a 30-something stoner who lives in his mom’s basement, but firmly believes that destiny will lead him to an amazing life. He’s got a distant relationship with his brother (Ed Helms) and his mother (Susan Sarandon), no job and no girlfriend.
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Segel, known for co-writing and starring in The Muppets, and also starring on How I Met Your Mother, is famous for his comedic work, but Jeff takes him in a slightly more serious direction. While there are plenty of funny moments, the film has a more serious undertone than most of his previous work.
“I didn't even view it as a dramatic role,” Segel tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It was just so beautifully written in the tone of life and that is how I saw it. It's not a heavy drama, it's just sort of what people are like."
Segel adds that he was excited to be a part of the Paramount Vantage film because it’s directed by Mark and Jay Duplass, who he says “brings out the best in actors.”
The Duplass brothers are known for letting their actors improvise in their films. Segel says he enjoyed doing a scene with Helms where they both sit in a bathtub and just talk. He tells THR that the Duplass brothers just ran the camera for 40 minutes straight. “That was an honor to do that with Ed,” he says. “We just talked for 40 minutes.”
Segel says that he didn’t know Helms before the film, although they had traveled the same circles.
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“They’re not that close and I think that it helped that we both knew who each other were, and respected each other, but didn’t know each other that well,” he tells THR. “It was kind of the perfect dynamic.”
While the film explores the idea of destiny and fate, Segel says he believes that “you make your own destiny.”
“My life has been a series of weird coincidences,” he says, “but it wasn’t until I took control that my life really changed for the better.”
While the film is primarily a drama, and takes place over the course of a single day, Segel’s character does a lot of running, and there are some minor stunts involved.
“I’m very athletic,” Segel tells THR, adding that he had to tone down his athleticism for the role of Jeff.
“I just tried to make it look like a normal guy. In reality I could probably be in the Olympics,” he says.
What sport would Segel play if he was in the Olympics?