When I was in LA with Disney/DreamWorks I was invited to sit down with a group of bloggers and interview various people who worked on Disney’s The Muppets.
It was an amazing opportunity, and over the next week I will be sharing these interviews with you.
One of the most interesting interviews was with Director James Bobin. In case you didn’t already know, Disney’s “The Muppets” is directed by James Bobin, who co-created HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords,” which he wrote, directed and exec produced.
I thought I would make this a fun by sharing 10 things you may not have known about Disney’s The Muppets.
10. Directing the Muppets is no different to direct than the actors.
I say none because you are directing them to act in a certain way and humans deal with their emotional things with their face and how puppeteers is with their hands. But the direction you give is the same. It’s how they interpret those notes in terms of their physicality that makes the difference. You’re doing the same job. And also you know, the Muppets, the performers themselves are the same guys and the voices doing the mouth, so it’s like working with anyone. So no difference.
9. The “magic” of the Muppets still enchanting children everywhere – including the director’s 4 year old daughter.
My daughter came on set and, you know, she met Kermit and Kermit is, Steve’s operating kind of like this and Steve’s talking here and she looks at Kermit and she never once looked at Steve, ever. Ever, ever, ever. And just, she just thinks Kermit is this frog that walks around and lives in Steve’s arms. It’s amazing!
8. Actor Jason Segel and Director James Bobin had very similar visions for the way they wanted to do this Muppets movie.
We (Jason Segel) talked, chatted about, you know, we both are Muppet fans, we’re coming from the same place. And it was very clear, very quickly we wanted to make the same movie. We had the same idea about what it should be, what should happen in the movie.
7. We can look forward to a Muppet Gag Reel!
(Personal side note – I love this!)
Yeah. You probably can. We shot a lot of stuff. I mean, we really did. Uh, and, you know, movie’s always come out long when you cut them, and so there’s, you know, there’s deleted scenes, no doubt. And gag reel? Yes. It depends though because obviously at the same time as I like showing the process, it’s kind of nice to not give away too much about how you do it because it’s kind of fun not knowing.
6. There will be many cameos in Disney’s The Muppets movie!
Yes. We have a lot, I mean, you know, twenty or so, I think. A lot of people. A lot of people. And it’s really fun watching them just be in the movie. And some people play themselves and some of them play characters.
5. The cameos in the movie will be both actors playing characters and actors playing themselves, just like in past Muppets movies.
And it’s very much like the old movies where you have some guys, you know, Bob Hope as an ice cream man but, you know what I mean, some people will just play themselves, like, you know, Orson Welles, kind of playing himself. So we did both things and for me, I really like the idea people come to watch the movie and see them for the first time and enjoy it like that. It’s kind of fun.
4. There are a lot of Broadway influences in this new Muppets movie!
I really love, I’ve always loved the Muppet Theater from the Muppet show. I really felt that show worked because they were in a theater. They did a, uh, and I just think that, it feels like because they’re part of that same history and in their acts they used to often do old-style vaudeville acts and just feels like that’s where they’re from. And so in the design of this movie I was very keen to have that sense of history in it whereby it’s like an old vaudeville theater or musical theater.
3. Bret Mackenzie does the music for the movie. (James and Bret previously worked together on Flight of the Conchords.)
On Conchords we’d watch Muppet show quite a lot, I mean, we, in season two of Conchords, we did an episode where Mel, who is their fan, sings a song. And in that song there are singing cookies because of the Muppet show. Because always the Muppet show is one of our things we used to do in our spare time. When writing we’d just relax and watch Muppet show and so Bret’s a huge fan too and so was very keen to be involved.
2. When James first met the Muppets – he describes the moment as AMAZING!
I met them when they weren’t being puppeteered. So they were just in boxes and it was still really amazing ’cause they just feel like they were sleeping. It’s like they’re asleep. And it was really amazing to see them so alive and yet so static. It was just amazing. But that was interesting because you get a real sense of their size. You don’t really, Muppets are so, when you shoot it they always look roughly the same size. But in the real world they’re all different sizes. Like, you know, Kermit’s probably this big and Fozzie’s about this big, they’re completely different sizes.
1. If James Bobin was a muppet, he would be Kermit.
Well, I have to be Kermit don’t I because I’m the one in charge. I have to like keep all the plates spinning all the time, you know, while chaos ensues all around me. And I’m the one who kind of helps everyone get through the morale boosting to get through.
The Muppets opens in theaters THIS THANKSGIVING!! (November 23rd!) Make sure you are following The Muppets on Facebook to stay on top of all things Muppets related!
Disney/DreamWorks provided me with an all expenses paid trip to LA for an special clips screening of The Muppets. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. I am in no way obligated to provide positive reviews.
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