“You just can’t know anything about yourself in either direction over 12 years,” says Segel. “Thirty-five-year-old Jason is unrecognizable from 23-year-old Jason.” Twelve years ago, he was stuck playing daffy college kids, never imagining he’d portray a tragic genius in a Sundance movie with Oscar buzz. But even the most highbrow role of Segel’s career came with a few laughs. Wallace would wax philosophical about the boyband Hanson. And to trick the writer’s dogs into following him around, Segel had to pull off weighty conversations while secretly knowing he had salmon in his pants. “An amazing dichotomy,” Segel laughs. That sounds exactly right.