Jason Segel reflected on a “very unhappy” period in his life in which his relationship with work became “abusive”.
At just 19 years old, Segel achieved breakthrough success portraying Nick Andopolis in Judd Apatow’s 1999 one-season comedy. Freaks and Geeks.
Five years later, he landed the most notable role as Marshall Eriksen on the hit sitcom How I meet your Motherran from 2005 to 2012.
During that time, he said he felt he was “really winning at work” and “can do whatever I want”. However, he still feels “very sad and I can’t understand why”, he explained to Vanity Fair in a new interview.
It wasn’t until the final nine-season series ended that Segel faced a “major existential crisis” over his “relationship to work.”
He then spent a long time “trying to find my relationship to work in a way that was sustainable for me and enjoyable for me.”
“During the time I was trying to figure it out, I only took on projects where I could be around people I really admire, so I could ask them a lot of questions,” says Segel. .
This new approach, he says, comes from a “crazy interview between Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant in which Michael Jackson basically said to Kobe Bryant, ‘When you’re around people you admire, don’t be. Be a fan, be an interviewer. Ask them any questions that you feel will be useful tools for your journey.’”
“So I asked a friend, ‘What is art? He said, ‘The art is doing an act of self-discovery, on behalf of the audience,’ which suits my acting style,” Segel said.
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“Now I choose things where, for the time being, no matter how long this project is, my job is to go through something on film and in this, that is grief.”
In Segel’s latest role – arguably his most complex yet – he plays a newly widowed father on the Apple TV Plus comedy. Shrink.