The world has been in love with the Muppets since they first arrived on the scene decades ago. Just a couple years ago a newer generation was introduced to our favorite fuzzy, felt-covered on screen companions with “The Muppets.” There was no way Disney would let the Muppets sit and rest after their big comeback. So what better way to keep them going than by making “Muppets Most Wanted.”
There would be no movie without those behind the scenes piecing it all together, and for that we salute them, but right now we’re going to focus on the talent. Every Muppet movie out there has it’s variety of stars sprinkled throughout the picture, and their human companions/enemies this time around are played by Ty Burrell, Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais. They’re all a blast to watch in the film, but this wouldn’t be a proper Muppet movie without it’s real stars, which include Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Sam the Eagle and the “Muppets Most Wanted” villain Constantine.
ShockYa.com got the chance to speak with the talent of “Muppets Most Wanted” about the musical numbers, Miss Piggy and what kind of impact this film will have on children and adults alike.
Kermit, did you ever think about also playing the role of Constantine?
Kermit the Frog: Well, 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. We couldn’t really make that work. Constantine is actually a distant cousin from Russia. Also with roots in the Colorado area, I understand. So, it was better to get him to do it. He has the voice.
Constantine: But, the weird thing is that I cannot speak any Russian words.
Ricky Gervais: Just English with a Russian accent. It’s odd.
Were you nervous at all about being in a—in a movie musical and singing and so forth, and how did you approach it and, you know, will there be more musicals in your future?
Ricky Gervais: 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. So it doesn’t matter. I’ll do anything with a frog. That’s my motto.
Constantine: That is nothing.
Ricky Gervais: And he was a great tap dancer -— Well, more a flap dancer.
Constantine: I did flap dancing.
Ricky Gervais: Yeah, flap dancing on my head. No one’s gonna be looking at me when we’re doing that dance. They’re gonna say there’s a frog dancing. That’s what’s gonna be happening, so I got away with it.
Tina Fey: 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. My singing sounds like that.
Kermit the Frog: No, no that’s not true. You were great.
Tina Fey: But I think Bret [McKenzie] wrote really really good songs that make us seem good.
Ty Burrell: 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’m a huge fan of Bret McKenzie.
Tina, why is Nadya a better woman for Kermit than Miss Piggy?
Tina Fey: Nadya is less work than Piggy. You can give Nadya a bag of hot rocks for Valentine’s day, and she will not care. She’s a cheap date.
What do you guys think that kids will like most about this movie?
Tina Fey: I think I have kids. So I will answer–
Kermit the Frog: You think you do or you know you do?
Tina Fey: I had some. I had some, as of this morning I had two. [LAUGHTER]
Kermit the Frog: Okay, good good.
TINA FEY: 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. It makes them feel big.
Ricky Gervais: It doesn’t patronize kids. It doesn’t aim an audience, it aims higher and I remember when I was a kid watching the Muppets. I had older brothers and sisters and they were laughing and I sort of knew that it was cool as well, you know, good for me so I think kids relate to that. They like things that adults like as well.
Kermit the Frog: I for one do not get any of the jokes in this movie.
Ty Burrell: I have an IQ of a seven-year-old and I loved this movie so much. [laughs] I also love juice. [LAUGHTER]
How did The Muppets inspire you?
Ty Burrell: I was constantly inspired by The Muppets. I never realized just how overrated I was, until I went out to do a scene with somebody who was doing eight things at once. All I had to do was try to remember my words, and I failed at that miserably.
Sam the Eagle: This man is such a great actor. He had me going. I literally thought he was a Frenchman. He was so convincing that I think his portrayal of a Frenchman will go down in history as the most convincing portrayal of a Frenchman in film.
Ty Burrell: I think we finally really bonded when we realized that we had the exact same eyebrows.
Sam the Eagle: Yes. And one day, when I showed up to set without mine, he was kind enough to let me borrow his.
Ty Burrell: Yeah, I had a surplus.
This question is to Gervais; How was it to play the villain?
Ricky Gervais: It’s quite nice playing a slime ball and villain. I like that. I like playing flawed characters. It’s fun. It’s an exorcism. You’re saying, “See, I’m not really like that, myself.” So, it was great fun for me, and I bonded with [Constantine] immediately. I’ve loved The Muppets for 35 years. I love Kermit, and I love his nephew Robin, even though he’s got no neck. I love frogs. Kermit was my favorite until I met Constantine. I’m sorry to say this, but Constantine might be my best buddy.
Kermit the Frog: I totally understand. You guys worked closely together. I accept that.
Constantine: I have no comment on this.
For those of you who have kids, does it give you street cred to work with and become friends with The Muppets?
Ty Burrell: My kids are still so unimpressed by me. I’m banking this one. If I wanna save my ego I’m gonna bank this and pull it out in five years. So far, it’s just one minute of, “Why is daddy on screen?,” and 90 minutes of, “I’m hungry.”
Ricky Gervais: I haven’t got children, but when I found out I was doing this film, I just went and hung around schools, telling them at play time. I said, “Hey kids, you don’t know who I am yet, but do you know The Muppets? You wait. You’re going to be impressed.”
Tina Fey: My children are very excited to see the movie, but they just want me to be Queen Elsa.
Miss Piggy, how was it to work with Celine Dion?
Miss Piggy: Working with Celine Dion was a pleasure. It was a joy for her, naturally. I’m only too happy to let her ride my coat tails up to the Oscar stage. We only spent a little time together, but it was very meaningful to her.
How did you like the wedding gown that Vivienne Westwood designed for you?
Miss Piggy: She made moi a beautiful gown out of recycled plastic bottles. It took a little while to get over that, but as they say something old, something new, something recycled, something or other.
Kermit the Frog: Lucky for me, she didn’t get to keep the wardrobe.
“Muppets Most Wanted” is out in theaters now.