The Shmooze

Jason Segel Gets Touchy-Feely

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

Jason Segel has been very into sharing lately. He’s a sensitive and communicative guy, but it might also have to do with generating publicity for his new movie, “The Five-Year Engagement.” The film, which Segel, 32, co-wrote with director Nicholas Stoller, tells the story of an interfaith couple (he’s Jewish, she’s Christian) whose wedding plans keep getting delayed. Segel plays the male lead, and Emily Blunt, 29, plays his fiancée.

First, Segel told David Letterman on Monday that he was forced to lose 35 pounds for the movie. Known for having one of the — if not the — least toned bodies in Hollywood, Segel said that he had to lose the weight to make it convincing that a woman as beautiful as Emily Blunt would find him attractive. “I was told that it had to be conceivable that Emily Blunt would ever choose me to be her husband, which is fair,” he suggested.

To get into shape and shed the weight, a trainer came to work with him twice a day on the set. His food intake was also monitored. “I didn’t enjoy it,” Segel admitted. He apparently cheated on his diet by sneaking extra food as the cameras were rolling. He plays a chef in the film and “I would pay my co-stars nominal amounts of money to mess up their lines during the scenes so I would get to keep eating,” he joked.

Segel’s recent conversation with the Jewish Journal, on the other hand, struck a different mood. Recalling his religious upbringing, the actor explained that he grew up in an interfaith home. He attendend an Episcopal school during the day and a Hebrew school in the afternoons. Segel, who had a bar mitzvah (catered by Wolfgang Puck), said, “I actually have a pretty thorough religious education. It’s a lot of guilt — guilt from all sides.”

He shared, in all seriousness, that it was painful to not fit in well in either religious setting. The exclusion he felt “really informed who I became as a person. You either become misanthropic or you become funny. I went with funny.”

Although he doesn’t consider himself religious, he does identify culturally as a Jew. He has a “Jewish drawer” at home in which he keeps all his Jewish ritual paraphernalia. “It’s like where my tallis and stuff are, which I only open on the high holidays,” he said.

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Five-Year Engagement, Jason Segel, Interfaith Families

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.