Jason Segel Is Giving Us A 'Lego Movie'

As the Lego-based cinematic franchise expands rapidly, it begins to call in new creative forces to keep its light burning evermore. Since the whip-smart Chris Miller and Phil Lord incepted the series, Warner Bros. has employed the likes of Charlie Bean to direct Lego Ninjago, Adam McKay to helm The Lego Batman Movie, and Rob Schrab to head up The Lego Movie Sequel. Now, a new title is underway: The Billion Brick Race, which has the particularly encouraging team of Jason Segel and Drew Pearce writing and directing together.

More than encouraging, perhaps, is the match-up surprising, as Segel and Pearce inhabit two distant realms of Hollywood. The general public knows Segel as a fixture of Judd Apatow’s comedy entourage, as a central player on the long-running sitcom How I Met Your Mother, or — most relevant to the case at hand — as the wide-eyed dreamer who brought The Muppets back to life. Segel wrote and acted as principle hype man for the 2011 big screen revival of Jim Henson’s adventuring showmen. But this isn’t the only scripting credit Segel has to his name. He has also penned adult-directed comedies of varied esteem: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (generally beloved), The Five-Year Engagement (generally forgotten), and Sex Tape (generally reviled).

Meanwhile, we find Pearce living in the world of comic book movies. Pearce’s only big screen scripting credit to date is Iron Man 3, arguably the funniest and cleverest of the Iron Man movies (and ranking high among Marvel films in general). However, he has also written a number of comic-based short films and TV movies.

Surprising though the Segel/Pearce amalgam may be, it could give us a pretty interesting and entertaining Billion Brick Race. A look back at each man’s writing credits could suggest that a joint wit, Segel’s warmth, and Pearce’s experience with adventure may all produce something we’ll want to see.

The Muppets

Likely the first property to come to mind when considering Segel’s aptitude at handling the Lego brand, due, of course, to its family-friendly and high jinks-laden nature. Segel was lauded for his injection of warmth into the revival of the precious property, using the feel-good sensibilities of yore to bust through modern cynicism. The Lego Movie’s promotion of imagination and self-appreciation make it a spiritual kin to the all-smiles Muppet franchise, making Segel an apt choice to take on the brand.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

No, The Billion Brick Race won’t involve as much nudity as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but there are a few things that the Segel-penned and -starring comedy might lend to the animated flick. For one, the abundance of kooky characters. Even more so than The Muppets is Forgetting Sarah Marshall packed with loony supporting players, riddled with affable quirks (plenty of which are family-friendly in nature, in fact) and memorable one-liners (less so, re: that last parenthetical… expletives fly pretty frequently in this movie). Plus, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is as good a testament to Segel’s songwriting as The Muppets is. If Billion Brick Race wants to top “Everything Is Awesome,” they have a formidable poet on staff.

Iron Man 3

Like Segel, Pearce knows his way around a gag. But the Iron Man 3 writer’s superhero background should come in handy in the Billion Brick Race’s doubtless grab at some adventure-oriented themes. Pearce proved himself adept at weaving the action and comedy together seamlessly, often imbuing thrilling sequences with a well-timed (and never corny, a la most of action-comedy cinema) joke. Timing — something at which Miller and Lord are masters — is key in comedy, action, and animation, making Pearce a valuable asset for this venture.

The Five-Year Engagement

Segel’s 2012 rom-com is just another tribute to the writer and actor’s intrinsic warmth. The man packs heart and soul into just about every script he creates, which is perfect for a movie targeted at families.

Sex Tape

We can hope (and expect) that little to nothing will carry over into Segel’s Billion Brick Race script from this poor 2014 outing.

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