The Envelope: Jason Segel’s career influences and inspirations

Jason Segel in Los Angeles, CA July 14, 2015.

Jason Segel in Los Angeles, CA July 14, 2015.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Jason Segel’s tastes are eclectic, to say the least (or as he says, “weird and interesting and unique”). So The Envelope asked him about his influences and inspirations:

Peter Sellers

“Well, Peter Sellers is the big one for me. I carry a picture of Peter Sellers to set with me. I have it in my trailers. I just don’t know how to define him, that’s a great quality. Like, I don’t know what you would call Peter Sellers.”


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Gary Oldman

“Gary Oldman in ‘The Professional’ rocked my world when I was young.”

Edward Norton

“Edward Norton in ‘Primal Fear,’ I saw when I was about 17 years old and that made me want to be an actor. It was his first movie, right? So he was kind of unknown, so you can identify with that. There’s a real ‘if he can do it, I can do it’ kind of thing because he’s unknown and giving this great performance. And I think it was so smart. It was such a smart performance, in the same way that Gary Oldman in ‘The Professional’ was kind of scary. It felt like somebody really walking the tightrope without a net, you know? Like, ‘Oh, the fall-flat-on-your-face factor on this one is gigantic.’ That’s scary. It’s the difference between when you watch CGI action versus a Jackie Chan movie. You watch a Jackie Chan movie and say, ‘You could really get hurt doing this.’ That’s how I like to feel when I’m watching acting. Like, ‘Oh, this person is inches away from being embarrassing, but instead it’s so compelling.’”

Michael Fassbender

“I think Michael Fassbender in ‘Frank’ recently has really inspired me. He does 90% of the movie in a prosthetic head and it evokes more emotion than most actors could hope to without even being able to see his face.”

Tilda Swinton

“I’ve been on a real Tilda Swinton kick because she, like Peter Sellers, to me is undefinable. She is just uniquely her. I don’t know what you would call her style. She can do anything and everything. You read a quote from her that says like, ‘I haven’t decided if I’m going to play that Marvel character [The Ancient One] as a man or a woman.’”


“The Jimmy Stewarts, the Tom Hankses and Kermit the Frogs of the world. The guys who offer that surrogate experience as the everyman. Like for [‘The End of the Tour’] I am you. I’m the one you identify with. I’ll take you through the story. I really like that as well.”

— Gregory Ellwood