‘The Muppets’ return to the big screen

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Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, and the Muppet menagerie are scheduled for a movie comeback in December 2011, for the first time in more than a decade.

Actor Jason Segel ( Knocked Up, I Love You, Man), co-wrote the script with director Nicholas Stoller ( Get Him to the Greek/Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and will star in the film. Segel also wrote the ‘Sarah Marshall' screenplay.

At one point the film was titled, The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made, referring to an idea by the Muppets' creator, the late Jim Henson. Previous Muppet movies include The Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984).

The story follows the Muppets, who must save their theater from destruction by the evil Tex Richman who wants to drill for oil underneath it. Humans, including Segel, try to defeat the oil tycoon. According to Entertainment Weekly, a new Muppet will be introduced.

It will feature celebrity cameos, including Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, Matt Damon, George Clooney, and Anne Hathaway, who apparently verbally agreed to lend their voices.

The competition looks tough for December 2011. Other films scheduled for a holiday release next year include a new Alvin and the Chipmunks 3D, Mission: Impossible IV, Sherlock Holmes 2, and Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in 3D.

The new Muppet film's director is James Bobin ( Flight of the Conchords, the television show and radio series by the New Zealand comedy duo).

Segel will also be seen in December 2010's Gulliver's Travels with Jack Black and be heard in Despicable Me with Steve Carell this summer.