Remembering Jason Segel

by Beacon Staff • April 16, 2008

Berkeley Beacon: Did any particular breakup inspire you to write the movie?

Jason Segel: I have ten years of relationships ending with me being dumped and some woman driving off in a car, totally excited to be free.,During the press tour for his latest film, Jason Segel, writer and star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, stopped in Boston for a college roundtable interview. Below is an excerpt of his discussion with The Beacon.

Berkeley Beacon: Did any particular breakup inspire you to write the movie?

Jason Segel: I have ten years of relationships ending with me being dumped and some woman driving off in a car, totally excited to be free. I tend to see life as funny.

I got dumped while I was naked once and I thought that was hilarious while it was happening. I had to act like I was really upset and the whole time I was thinking, 'You're giving me comedy gold!' I think that the way I view the world tends to help me write stuff like this. I think humiliation's pretty funny. I was born without a sense of shame or embarrassment for the most part, and so that helps too.

BB: How did you get your start in acting?

JS: I was taking an art history class that I found intensely boring and so for whatever reason, I would go into the drama department before that class and steal a play to read. One day, I read The Zoo Story by Edward Albee and I was really intrigued by the challenge of it, because at one point, the character I wanted to play has a twenty-five minute monologue. I just didn't know if I could do it. That's my favorite feeling in the world.

So I put on a little production of this play and the drama director came up to me afterwards and he said, "I think you're really good, you should consider becoming an actor."

I kinda laughed it off, but he told me to come on Saturday because he was teaching a mock audition class. So I showed up on Saturday and there was no one else there, just me and my acting coach and at first I thought, "Shit, some weird shit's about to go down."

But he brought me into this room and there was a woman there, and they just had me read side after side after side. After about two hours, I left and didn't think much of it.

A week later, my parents sat me down and said "That woman in your mock audition was the head of Paramount Casting. They've been talking to us all week and they're ready to put you in movies if it's something you want to do."

I drove to Paramount that night and I parked outside and just tried to make this decision. I ended up falling asleep in my car and I woke up in the morning, just as the sun was rising over Paramount Studios and my decision had been made.

I decided not to go to college, which was crazy in my family, and then I met Judd [Apatow] and that was it.