I’ve had a great relationship with Kermit the Frog over the years. I first interviewed him when The Muppet Show came out on DVD. Back then I didn’t know he’d have a comeback movie with 2012’s The Muppets. I interviewed him again for the sequel, Muppets Most Wanted, but now that the movie is out on DVD and Blu-ray, I had even more questions for the Muppet frontman (fruppet?).
Muppets Most Wanted sees the Muppets go on a world tour after reuniting in the previous movie. An evil impersonator, Constantine, replaced Kermit and lets the Muppets perform acts that Kermit would never allow. Meanwhile, Kermit runs the talent show in the Gulag. Mostly, Muppets Most Wanted is all about sequels, being a sequel, and what sequels do right and wrong. That very much appeals to me, because I’m Franchise Fred!
Hi Kermit, it’s me, Franchise Fred. thank you for talking to me again. I think I’m going to make “We’re Doing a Sequel” the Franchise Fred theme song. Can I have your permission?
KERMIT: “Here at the Muppets I have all of the responsibility but none of the authority, therefore I can grant you permission and it won’t mean a thing. So, I suggest you see the songwriter Bret McKenzie who wrote that and all the songs for Muppets Most Wanted. I don’t think he has the authority to grant permission either; but he sure is fun to talk with.”
Sequelitis is a big theme of Muppets Most Wanted. Is this something you’ve wanted to explore over the previous sequels since The Great Muppet Caper?
KERMIT: “Well, as Dr. Bunsen Honeydew points out in the song, and I quote: ‘I don’t mean to be a stickler, But this is the seventh sequel to our original motion picture.’ First of all, I don’t think anyone has given Dr. Honeydew (or Bret McKenzie) the credit they deserve for rhyming ‘stickler’ and ‘motion picture’. That takes real talent. And second, I think that with the Muppets there’s always new possibilities to explore. We start a movie never knowing how it’s all going to work out in the end. The possibilities are boggling – as is the budget. When we make a sequel it’s like reality TV, but it’s surreal and at the movies. Does that make sense? Good. Cause I got lost somewhere back around ‘stickler’.”
This is true, my sister used “Somebody’s Getting Married” from your movie The Muppets Take Manhattan as her own wedding March. So are you and my sister the only two couples who have ever gotten married to that song? (She hired an a cappella group to learn the lyrics!)
KERMIT: “Wow! I am so impressed. And in the case of your sister, it was a REAL wedding, as opposed to the purely-fictional-&-so-it-didn’t-really-count-in-a-court-of-law wedding that Miss Piggy and I acted out in The Muppets Take Manhattan. Congratulations to your sister, and to whoever had to sing the Swedish Chef’s part on ‘Somebody’s Getting Married’.”
I’m very concerned about this Statler and Waldorf cut of the movie. How did your biggest hecklers get final cut over James Bobin?
KERMIT: “Oh, that was easy, they just locked up James Bobin, stole the film master and re-cut it to the way they thought it should be. And I believe once you see their ‘Detractor’s Cut” of Muppets Most Wanted, you’ll wish you were locked up with James Bobin, too.”
I think Gonzo’s indoor running of the bulls is a great idea. What was your objection to it?
KERMIT: “Oh, I wasn’t worried about Gonzo, but I didn’t want to see any bulls get injured. (Fortunately, no bulls were injured. However, Salma Hayak was pretty banged up and our hardwood floors are definitely going to have to be replaced.).”
This is Ray Liotta’s second appearance in a Muppet movie. What brought him back?
KERMIT: “Ray’s agent lost a bet to Pepe at a game of Texas Hold ‘Em. (Words of advice: never ever play poker with a four-handed prawn.) So, we won Ray’s appearance in the Muppets Most Wanted. We’re thrilled. Ray is a triple threat—he can sing, dance and look extremely threatening, all at the same time.”
Danny Trejo got cut out of the last Muppets movie. Did he threaten you to make sure he was in this one? Did he insist on getting to sing this time?
KERMIT: “Danny reminds me of Animal. A kind and gentle soul who can look scary if you don’t know any better. He didn’t threaten us to be in the movie – and an even bigger surprise: we didn’t have to threaten him to be in the movie. As for singing. Sheesh, why would you have Danny Trejo in a movie if you weren’t going to have him sing, right?”
Did Bret McKenzie share his Oscar for “Man or Muppet” with you?
KERMIT: “He did. He let each of us hold it. In fact, Miss Piggy’s been holding it now for a year and a half and she’s not letting go.”
Have you spoken to Sylvester Stallone about joining the cast of The Expendables? He was on the original Muppet Show in the ‘80s.
KERMIT: “I haven’t spoken with Sly. (I call him Sly, he calls me Fly.) But yes, he was on The Muppet Show in the ‘80s and I think he’s finally forgiven us, so maybe we could sign on if they make another Expendables sequel. I know Animal would fit right in. But I worry that Miss Piggy might hurt some of the other guys.”
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