Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted” takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid, Dublin and London. But as luck would have it, the World’s Number One Criminal, Constantine (who by the way looks like Kermit the Frog), with his sidekick Dominic portrayed by Ricky Gervais, come up with an international crime caper that would get the Muppets in hot water.
According to director James Bobin, a caper of this magnitude needed to be set in an international locale. “If you’re going to do a 60’s style caper, it needs a world setting and Europe gives it that classic feel. London, Madrid, Berlin and Dublin are the places to go if you’re going to steal great treasures.”
“In film, I am Number One Criminal,” says Constantine, who joins the Muppets for the first time in “Muppets Most Wanted.” “I have a secret plan with Number Two to steal the crown jewels of London. This plot has never been done before-well, at least not with Muppets.”
In a recent press conference, we had the opportunity to speak with the filmmakers, Stars and some of the Muppets themselves. Kermit the Frog, Constantine, Sam Eagle and Miss Piggy were in attendance.
Kermit the Frog was asked, why he didn’t play both himself and Constantine because it would have really enhance his acting credits. He replied by saying “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, so we couldn’t really make that work. But plus, listen Constantine is actually a distant cousin, from Russia.” Constantine chimed in by saying “But what is weird thing is I cannot speak any Russian words.”
“I play the role I’ve trained for my whole life-Kermit the Frog,” says the amphibian extraordinaire. “But this is me like you’ve never seen me, where you’ve never seen me-in prison. Ulp!”
Tina Fey, Rickey Gervais and Ty Burrell who were at the conference as well was asked about their singing and if they were nervous at all about being in a movie musical and how did they approached as well as if there will be more musicals in the future? Ricky Gervais started to answer “Well, I was okay with singing. I’m a failed pop star. I always sneak a song into everything I do, whether it’s David Brenn or Simpson’s or but, my dancing is a little awkward. A little embarrassed about that. I don’t move well. But I was with a frog.” He continued by saying “… I’ll do anything with a frog. That’s—that’s my motto.” Tina Fey added “Yeah, you know you have a good voice. And my singing sounds like if you’ve ever seen the version of Oliver when the little boy sings and you can hear the hiss of how loud they had to turn up the microphone, it’s—my singing sounds like that.” Kermit interjected by adding “No, no that’s not true. You were great, you were great.” Tina seemed to like what Kermit said as it got laughter from the cast and the audience.
“America and the world were spared my singing voice except for two notes. I don’t know if you noticed that. I think it was by design. I spoke, I spoke my song but I was thrilled to do it. I, a huge fan of Bret McKenzie.” said Sam Eagle. Bret McKenzie is the Original Song Writer and Music Supervisor on “Muppets Most Wanted.”
Ricky Gervais was tapped to fill the role of Dominic Badguy (pronounced “Badgee,” it’s French!), and the award-winning actor did most of his scenes with newcomer Constantine. “I’ve been a fan of the Muppets for about 35 years, but this is my first time acting opposite a frog,” says Gervais, “but it’s probably the best experience of my life. This is a big Hollywood Production. The sets are amazing. The effects are great. It’s a really funny caper plot.”
Tina Fey plays Nadya, a feisty prison guard. “She loves entertainment and Broadway,” says Fey, who was called on to portray the complicated Russian. “She’s been in charge of the prison review here for years. and when Kermit is wrongly imprisoned in the gulag, she’s very excited to force him to help her make the show good.”
“Tina is fantastic and so funny,” adds Kermit. “My only problem was that she really gets into character, and I really don’t think she had to leave me locked up when we finished shooting each night. But what can I say? She’s an artist.”
Ty Burrell, portrays the outlandish Frenchman Jean Pierre Napoleon who is an Interpol agent who’s charged with solving the elaborate crime spree. He’s not alone in his mission, however, as Sam Eagle, CIA, is assigned to the same case.
“Ty Burrell is a suspicious character,” says Sam Eagle. “And while he claimed to be understanding Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon, he is actually an actor. Imagine my shock! Needless to say, I had to keep track of him throughout the production to make certain he did not try to steal any scenes. Sadly, he does – repeatedly.”
“For me, as a kid growing up – and now as an adult – the Muppets represent the best of both worlds,” says Burrell. “They’re sweet and wholesome, but so funny.”
When asked, What do you guys think that kids will like most about this movie? Fey responded with “I think they’re gonna like how funny the movie is because, you know, I think there’s a lot of jokes in the movie and kids who are like 8, 9, 10 years old they take a lot of pride in getting the jokes.” Gervais added by saying, “Yeah, it doesn’t patronize kids.” Ty Burrell started to comment, “I have an IQ of a seven-year-old and I loved this movie so much, I also love juice.”
Miss Piggy finished by saying, “What’s going to compel people to see this movie? Moi. If people don’t go to the theater on their own, I’m going to personally come to their doorstep and drag them there.”
In the grand tradition of the Muppets, the film features a host of cool cameos. Among them are Danny Trejo, Tom Hiddleson, Celine Dion, Salma Hayek, Sean Combs, Christoph Waltz and Ross Lynch.
“Muppets Most Wanted” is Rated PG and is now playing in theaters!