“Greetings Hollywood media elite!”
I gotta say, having Sam the Eagle, group me in as “media elite” was just one of the many things that made me squee while attending the Muppets Most Wanted press junket last week. Besides us… ahem.. “elite”… where Kermit, Miss Piggy (albeit “fashionably late”), Sam the Eagle, Constantine aka World’s Most Dangerous Frog, Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell, as well as director James Bobin, producer Todd Lieberman and songwriter/composer Bret McKenzie.
All us movie watchers know that sequels are the meh of Hollywood. Usually because after having a hit, sequels can’t find the same footing but James Bobin knew exactly what he wanted and said “you know, it was fun to see everyone again and I—I was very clear in my head as to what we’d like to do next.” He continued, “it’s why the movie starts seconds after the last one ended. Because I felt the Muppets could just kind of address the problem that Nick (Stoller- the writer) and I had kinda like what is the film gonna be about and what’s next? And I thought well, let’s just address that and do it in the movie itself so you have this thing where they go what should we do next? And then they sing a song called “We’re Doing a Sequel,” which Bret so brilliantly wrote, and it kind of addresses that issue up front, you know.”
Muppet fans everywhere know that a huge part of any Muppet film are the cameos. Who is singing? Who will appear? I mean… Jim Parsons as Walter’s “real” alter ego was awesome in the last film (which, if you aren’t keeping count, this is actually the Muppets 12th film). Turns out, according to producer Lieberman, they have a bit if a system worked out, “we have a list of people who want to be in the movie and then as we kinda go through, as these guys go through writing the movie, we gather other intel of fans and people we like and people that like us and then we kinda do this grid…” and Bret chimed in, “… intel meaning, just Googled them. Google celebrity and Muppet.”
“There’s so many people who love the Muppets” continued Lieberman, “and it’s kind of, it’s an interesting matrix to put together to figure out where people go correctly and how to fit all the people that love in the movie which, you know, hopefully we’ve accomplished.”
Speaking of roles, there is a new Muppet in this film…actually, a new frog. Constantine is the “World’s Most Dangerous Frog” and looks very very similar to Kermit, except with a mole. Kermit was asked why didn’t he just play both parts, something very common in mistaken identity Hollywood films. Kermit said, “Well, you know it didn’t make sense for me to play Constantine ‘cause we do have a few scenes together and I don’t really work on green screen.” He added, “listen Constantine is actually a—a distant cousin, from Russia[…] also with roots in the Colorado area I understand.”
Hearing that Constantine was actually from Russia was a shock to Sam who said to Ty Burrell, “thank goodness you’re sitting between the two of us. That’s all I can say.” Constantine further stated, “what is weird thing is I cannot speak any Russian words.”
When Constantine was asked on whether he was giving up his life of crime for Hollywood, he replied “Well, this is good question. I am actually thinking about doing new Netflix original programming I will call it House of Toads. I will executive produce and show run. So let’s take meeting yes?”
Ricky Gervais was having so much fun during the conference…he was laughing constantly, and Constantine never missed a beat. But when Gervais exclaimed, “I—I think Constantine might be my best buddy”, Constantine simply said, “I have no comment on this.”
Another fabulous pairing in this film? A super awesome cameo from Celine Dion singing with, who else? Miss Piggy. Piggy said, “Well, working with Celine Dion it was a pleasure. It was a joy for her naturally.” Piggy continued, “Yes, I’m—I’m only too happy to let her ride my coat tails up to the Oscar stage. Yes, it was a joy. We only spent a little time together but—but it was very meaningful to her.”
When the cast was asked about how reviews affect them, Gervais was quick to answer. He stated, “Everyone’s a reviewer, you know, with Twitter and Facebook it’s—it’s—it’s like glorified graffiti. If you care about that you might as well go around toilet wall in the world and get offended when they mention you, you know. It’s—it’s, so you musn’t. but yeah, you know, I’d—I’d love it to do, get good reviews and I’d be lying if I, if I said otherwise but you—you really musn’t worry about it.”
He followed with, “But having said that just say f&!*ing nice things about it please. This—this is not for me but for the kids. Do it for the kids.” Nice things… we’ll see! Watch for my review on Friday.
Muppets Most Wanted opens in theaters everywhere on March 21 and is rated PG.