Judd Apatow disciple Jason Segel has worked his way up from the ensemble of Freaks and Geeks to a Frat Pack regular in films like Knocked Up; now he's written and stars in Forgetting Sarah Marshall for director Nick Stoller. Segel's co-stars are mostly familiar: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Mila Kunis (That 70s Show), and Jack McBrayer (30 Rock). Russell Brand, not yet well known to American audiences, but the English comic personality will also soon appear in the Adam Sandler comedy Bedtime Stories. On February 22, 2008, the whole gang, shepherded by director Stoller, entertained the crowd at San Francisco's WonderCon with tales from the set of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, beginning with the horrors of Jason Segel being naked.
Jason Segel: I had a little bit of whiskey, and, uh, I tried to get the room as warm as possible because, you know, there's three hundred people there. That was about it. I tried to focus on good things. That's all I can say.
Nick Stoller: That's it...?
Jason Segel: OK. Look. If we're going to do this, let's do it. You know, you have this short window where you're gonna shoot the scene, and you don't want to go out looking like you've been in a freezing cold room. But you also don't want to go out looking like it's—you know, like you're ready to go. You know what I'm saying? So there's a fine line of just the proper amount of—five minutes, that's all I need. Five minutes.
Nick Stoller: Also there's "R" [versus] "NC-17."
Jason Segel: Yeah. Absolutely.
Nick Stoller: It's a fine line, so--and Kristen, what was it like acting against him during this?
Kristen Bell: You just keep your eyes up. Concentrate on keeping your eyes up.
Nick Stoller: I'm told, though...
Kristen Bell: But there was a point where we were so clearly shooting coverage and Jason was still naked. And I thought, "Let's just check the frame on this one." And he had been naked for the last hour and a half, and it had not been on camera. So I think he put his bottoms on at that point. But there is a point where you can wear like a sock, which draws a lot more attention to it than if you're just free-wheeling.
Jason Segel: But to find a sock that big is not easy...With a sock, it looked a little like a puppet on the outside.
Nick Stoller: Which you're familiar with.
Jason Segel: Yes, which I'm familiar with...
Nick Stoller: Mila, what was it like doing your scene with Jason...?
Mila Kunis: His penis is great.
Jason Segel: I'm having T-shirts printed up: "MILA KUNIS: 'His penis was great...'"
Mila Kunis: It was great...Jason on top of me. It was very comfortable, my boyfriend was fine. You know, it was all copacetic.
Nick Stoller: How concerned was your boyfriend [Macaulay Culkin]?
Mila Kunis: Incredibly unconcerned, for some reason!...You know, it was Jason. Why be concerned? I'm kidding!
Jason Segel: That's how you end up with...movies like this. 'Cause this is how women treat me.
Mila Kunis: For the record, Jason is one of the nicest, sweetest people. I was totally kidding. I love you...
Russell Brand: I found doing the sex scenes with Jason very challenging also, but I was disappointed to find that there were no cameras present. Nonetheless, I feel like a natural woman now.
Jason Segel: At least they didn't last very long.
Russell Brand: No. You were a perfect gentleman. I am now with child. I'm going to have it naturally...
Nick Stoller: Jack...how did you prepare for your sex scenes?
Jack McBrayer: Well, it was all such a new experience. I went along for the ride the whole way. They had me in little flesh-colored panties. I was just like smooth like a Ken doll. So it wasn't very sexy at all. But get a couple of Bud Lights in you, and you think you're a porn star, y'all...
Groucho: Other than those that we just heard about, what was your greatest acting challenge on this movie?
Kristen Bell: Um, Segel?
Jason Segel: Okay, sure. I had to play quite a bit of music in the movie, which I was a little nervous about because I hadn't really played in any sort of public venue ever in my life. So that was pretty scary, but it turned out pretty funny 'cause I got to sing in my patented Dracula voice. What's sad is that it seems like it was written for the movie that I'm writing this Dracula puppet musical, but the sad reality was that for several years while I was out of work I had been writing a Dracula puppet musical. Without a sense of irony: I didn't think it was funny. I thought it was going to be great. And, you know, it turned out pretty well.
Kristen Bell: For me, I think it was — because Jason wrote such a beautiful, very three-dimensional script—finding the fine line of playing an actress and playing into all of those funny stereotypes and making it as comedic as possible. And getting a little bit bitchy and a little bit flighty, but also having a sense of a real girl behind it. Because it's a very real breakup, I think, and a lot of parts of it are sincere. It's not very "caricature-y," so finding ways that you could like her, as well as find her amusing.
Mila Kunis: Oh, um. I don't—oh, this is a hard question. I don't know. I suppose the scene where everybody's drunk, and I'm having to get with somebody drunk. So that to me was one of the hardest things. Also, um, I really wanted to do the jump off that rock. And I couldn't. And getting over that was really hard. (Laughs.) That's about it.
Nick Stoller: Could you tell your—how you—
Mila Kunis: No, that's not necessary—go on.
Nick Stoller: Oh, the jet ski—no? It's not—?
Jason Segel: Oh, that's pretty great.
Nick Stoller: It's pretty—I don't think it's actually necessary.
Mila Kunis: Wait—hold on. Let Jason tell the story 'cause it's much better from him.
Jason Segel: The hardest thing was also keeping Mila out of trouble, because she is a very, very carefree woman. And so one day we're shooting down at the ocean, and it's kind of tricky to shoot out there because the tides are rising and falling, and the sun's not staying in the same position. So Mila asks, "Can I take a little ride on the jet ski?" And we all get a little bit nervous, but we're like, "What's the worst that can happen? It'll be fine." So she takes off. She comes walking back up to the shore kind of like a James Bond girl in a bikini, and then we just notice blood is streaming down her neck and chest. And what was funny is she didn't want to get in trouble. So we're like "Mila!" And she's like "What? What are you talking about?" Blood's like spurting out of her neck. And in an amazing moment, the make-up lady is desperate, you know. Just wrapped her in gauze, then they painted it flesh-colored. So she looked like she had like this bobble-neck. It was spectacular.
Mila Kunis: Oh, yeah.
Nick Stoller: Russell?
Russell Brand: I had to ride horses, and it's hard because it's like the horse don't want to be ridden. You can tell that the horse is aggravated by having you on its back. And they say treat it like you're driving a car, but I can't drive a car. And also, a car won't of its own volition turn into a garage and just get petrol when it wants it. But a horse will just get hungry and go and get food, and they go hit it and kick it to stop it. And I feel bad for the horse, but the only way is to fight against the horse while you're on it. I feel bad about doing that to the horse. And then that weren't even in the film — the horse, you don't even see it. Plus, they made me go surfing—we got surf lessons, me and Jason—off this man who is so alive with sexual charisma that I went a bit gay. Mike, he was called.
Jason Segel: Yes he was.
Jack McBrayer: Well, for me, I wasn't so much acting as I was just reciting lines and smiling real big because it's kinda like this movie was like a "Make a Wish" for me. But one obstacle I did find was not messing up the takes by just laughing at the other performers, which unfortunately I was not successful at either—I was in Hawaii for a solid month, and I worked eight days. Sort of a "Make a Wish—" And I had a tendency to steal free food. So my backpack is filled with Mountain Dew and bottled water—Food is expensive, y'all!